Say Goodbye to Windows Defender (getting renamed)

I apologize for the rather “clickbaity” title; come Windows 10 20H1, Windows Defender will no longer be a thing in the Windows 10 operating system as Microsoft will rename the tool to Microsoft Defender. So, instead of using Windows Defender or disabling it, users and administrators will use or disable Microsoft Defender instead.

Windows Defender Exploit Guard, the native EMET derivative, will receive the same treatment as it will be known as Microsoft Defender Exploit Guard in 2020.

It is unclear if previous versions of Windows, Windows 8.1 will be the last version left standing after the end of support of Windows 7 in January 2020, will receive the same treatment.

windows defender

The most recent build of Windows 10 version 20H1, the first feature update build of 2020 and the first major update since Windows 10 version 1903 1905, comes with the changed names already.

If you check the Group Policy entries for the security tool or the Settings application, you will notice the change right away.

If you run that preview build, you may also notice that some tools or features have not been renamed. Windows Defender Smartscreen is still called that, and so is Windows Defender Applications Guard. Whether that is going to remain or changed in upcoming preview builds remains to be seen.

One question has not been answered yet: why is Microsoft making the change? A likely explanation, and our colleagues over at Deskmodder seem to agree, is that Microsoft wants to use the Microsoft name for services and tools that are available on multiple platforms, and the Windows name if a service or tool is only available on Windows.

  • Microsoft — used for cross-platform products.
  • Windows — used for Windows-specific products.

It is quite possible that Microsoft wants to bring Microsoft Defender or services related to the security tool to other platforms, and that it made the name change because of that.

Microsoft launched Windows Defender ATP back in 2017 for various platforms including Linux, Mac OS X, iOS and Android, and has renamed the service in the meantime to Microsoft Defender ATP (Advanced Threat Protection).

Now You: Too many name changes or changes that make sense, what is your take?

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