My sons will be receiving a Windows 11 gaming PC for Christmas. It has been a very long time since I’ve dealt with Windows so I am completely out of the loop.

Is malware still a concern with Windows 11? If so, what would you recommend we do about it?

Are there any other recommendations you’d like to offer?

Thank you for your time and expertise.

  • I’m probably just as out of the loop as you are, but if I were in your shoes I would probably be pretty comfortable with whatever built-in antivirus Windows 11 has. I had been using Microsoft AV since way back, like Windows 7 days. My wife got a laptop with W10 preinstalled and McAfee, and what I noticed was that the McAfee software was horrendously, excruciatingly slow and slowing down the machine, and it had Windows’ own AV software disabled (obviously), so I promptly uninstalled it and the machine works fine now.

    13 years ago when I used to service computers at work, you needed two classes of software to keep the machines clean and safe, “antivirus” software and “malware” scanners/removers. The malware was usually what was wrong with machines I dealt with, and AV software was doing nothing about it. I use a couple well-known malware removal tools whose name I can no longer remember, but the site “bleepingcomputer” stays in my memory.

    If I were to use Windows now, I’d use it much like how I use Linux… install Firefox, Steam, etc. Edit images with GIMP, have a Linux CLI handy (probably WSL; I used to use Cygwin back in the day).

  • Set up WSL. Just for the convenience of a Linux terminal

    Antivirus software nowadays just slows your machine down, even Windows Defender is a pain in the ass – Especially if you pirate things. Sometimes I feel it’s more like a DRM measure masquerading as a security feature, since it only seems to pop when I’m trying to install pirated games.

    Instead pack your browser with adblocking and other such security extensions. Or block malicious things through your hosts-file if you’re thus inclined – blocking fake download buttons and such is usually enough to avoid trouble. That and not falling for scam-links. Teach your kids about avoiding scams.

    Windows 11 is full of lil’ annoyances that can be removed or altered with third party tools, which is something I’d do on a machine for me, but if it’s for someone else… Enh?

    That said what the peeps said here about Linux is true – A lot of Steam games now work out of box. Just install and run. Proton is lovely. Games outside Steam need tinkering, though. And some games require additional setup anyway. But that might imply you having to help your kids set up games, probably. Extra work for you. Also I’ve had shitty experiences with gaming on Linux laptops. But that might be outdated news.