I've seen people talking about this on several places, including MT, that WD is somehow lighter and doesn't impact system performance because it's integrated with Windows 10, is this true? As far as I go, it seems to fairly light when just running in the background but when doing a full scan, it completely maxes out the CPU. What do you guys think?
 

Raiden

Level 18
Verified
Content Creator
When it comes to security software and performance in general, you will always get mixed results. A huge part of that issue is due to the infinite number of hardware and software configurations when it comes to Windows. Furthermore, everyone uses their computer for different tasks, all of which may, or may not be impacted by the security programs.

In my experience WD, doesn't impact the performance very much if at all. I have tried many 3rd party AV's, as well as trying it on a number of systems to come to this conclusion. Now that doesn't mean it will be like this for everyone. In my case, I game, surf the web, run VMs etc... I don't compile code, or have tons of programs running in the background etc.. I would say that for the vast majority of use cases WD performs very well. However, there has been mention of it slowing things down if you are compiling code and/or have a folder full of .exe's. I don't fall into this category, so I don't notice this impact.

That being said, the only way to know for sure is to try it out yourself. I know this is not a definitive answer, however as I've said, every single program will have mixed results when performance. So I would honestly try it out with your setup and how you use your computer and go from there. I know myself and many others have zero issues when it comes to WD and performance, but I also know some do have issues, but again that's the same for any program. Tasks such as full scans will always use more resources in general and that's equally true for all programs. I don't run full scans myself, unless I suspect something is wrong. I just let the real-time portion do it's thing.
 

Spawn

Administrator
Verified
Staff member
Is it lighter? Possibly.
Is it heavier? Possibly.

Factors to consider when believing statements from the Internet:
+ hardware specification
+ reliability of results
+ OS version and stability
+ real-time protection is actively using resources (passive solutions may be less resource-intensive)
+ additional real-time scanners and protections may affect performance
+ Microsoft Defender can be turned off with third-party tools, but is not recommended unless you switching to another security product - in that case, it will be automatically performed

No one can say for sure, but these questions aren't accurate in the long run, when features are added / removed / enabled /disabled etc.
 

Lenny_Fox

Level 14
Verified
My experience on low-specs PC's is that WD on Windows10 had the lowest program start delay of all free antivirus I tried:. On a clean PC with no other software yet installed I tested browser startup delay with most free AV's, like Avast, AVG, Avira, Bitdefender, Comodo, F-secure rebranded from my ISP, Fortinet, Kaspersky, Panda, Sophos. On my PC Avast, Bitdefender and Comodo perfrom better than they do in the performance test AV-Comparatives, so when it comes to performance impact, you need to try them yourself (you download a program called AppTimer to see what the cold and warm progam start delay is). With Configure Defender it is very easy to tweak and strenghten the default settings of Windows Defender.
 

truefacts

Level 1
As far as I go, it seems to fairly light when just running in the background but when doing a full scan, it completely maxes out the CPU. What do you guys think?


It is very light. The only ones that complain are those that have folders that contain a huge amount of files (which can be excluded from WD real-time scan) and also those that compile code on their system (which also there are easy workarounds). These are complaints limited to a very small number of users. The complaints are a manipulation or exaggeration of the facts.

In case WD detects malware, I generally run a full scan afterwards to ensure that the system is clean.

You do not need to run full system scans. That is a waste of resources. All you need is real-time scanning. The AV industry recommends that you rarely run full system scans.


As for the other complaints about older PCs, well here is the truth. Security software publishers do not make any real efforts to be light on older hardware. They just guarantee minimum compatibility. Performance (use of resources) and speed are only guaranteed on the systems that meet the minimum specifications defined for the software.

There are a lot of unrealistic expectations about performance. And when it comes to memory, complaints about memory usage are completely wrong as all antivirus are designed to consume as much RAM as possible. It is just that some AV use techniques to circumvent (reduce) reported RAM usage. The fact of the matter is that using as much RAM as possible increases the speed of the software. RAM is meant to be consumed and used; it is not meant to be rationed or conserved. Unused RAM is wasted RAM.

Also, complaining about heavy Disk In\Out on HDD just is not a valid. HDD disk I\O causes heavy resource consumption.

On SSD WD is quite fast with negligible slow downs for most people.
 
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L0ckJaw

Level 12
Verified
Content Creator
For me Norton360 is the lightest AV i ever used. No system impact at all. Dont count on what the AV test sites say.
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depends on what you compare it to (free avs or paid avs? - paid have a lot more moving parts :) ). to me, panda dome free, webroot, avast free are all far lighter than wd. wd feels similar to kasp free, free avg and trend micro to me, on impact. so wd is good, but nothing special (it isn't bad, but definitely not near the best). i have 8 computers in my house, so i fiddle a lot with different avs, lol.
 

insanity

Level 5
In my experience WD, doesn't impact the performance very much if at all. I have tried many 3rd party AV's, as well as trying it on a number of systems to come to this conclusion. Now that doesn't mean it will be like this for everyone. In my case, I game, surf the web, run VMs etc... I don't compile code, or have tons of programs running in the background etc.. I would say that for the vast majority of use cases WD performs very well. However, there has been mention of it slowing things down if you are compiling code and/or have a folder full of .exe's. I don't fall into this category, so I don't notice this impact.

I'm probably going to disagree with most of the comments here. In my experience, WD is far from being the best AV when it comes to system resources. It's actually quite heavy and the impact is noticeable when you run WD on older hardware or low specs machines. There are other AVs that perform much better (like ESET, for instance)

As for the other complaints about older PCs, well here is the truth. Security software publishers do not make any real efforts to be light on older hardware. They just guarantee minimum compatibility. Performance (use of resources) and speed are only guaranteed on the systems that meet the minimum specifications defined for the software.

I somewhat agree with your statements, but here's the point: the real quality of a security product is seen when it is capable of running light in a mid range (or even low specs) machine. An antivirus being fast in a computer with plenty of system resources is not an achievement, it's almost like an obligation. The most efficient AVs are those which manage to do more with less. If your computer have a decent CPU, plenty of RAM and a SSD, running fast is what you should expect from any AV. Such scenario doesn't really tell very much about how good an AV can be.

There are a lot of unrealistic expectations about performance. And when it comes to memory, complaints about memory usage are completely wrong as all antivirus are designed to consume as much RAM as possible. It is just that some AV use techniques to circumvent (reduce) reported RAM usage. The fact of the matter is that using as much RAM as possible increases the speed of the software. RAM is meant to be consumed and used; it is not meant to be rationed or conserved. Unused RAM is wasted RAM.

Also, complaining about heavy Disk In\Out on HDD just is not a valid. HDD disk I\O causes heavy resource consumption.

Here where I live, most low specs and even mid range PCs still come with only a hard disk. In my experience, running Windows Defender in a computer with a hard disk is a pretty bad idea. Windows Defender has a serious problem with disk usage during on-access/background scans or signature updates. Disk usage routinely spikes to 100%.

Microsoft is a trillion dollar company and they have been offering Windows 10 to users since 2015 (including free upgrade for older PCs). They should have come up with a solution to alleviate this problem, instead of focusing on spying on their users or pushing their useless UWP/Cortana/live tiles etc. "Unrealistic expectations" shouldn't be an excuse when other AVs have been performing better in this aspect.

On SSD WD is quite fast with negligible slow downs for most people.

As I said before, if an AV is fast only when running on fast hardware, then this program is anything but lightweight software.
 

South Park

Level 7
Verified
I'm probably going to disagree with most of the comments here. In my experience, WD is far from being the best AV when it comes to system resources. It's actually quite heavy and the impact is noticeable when you run WD on older hardware or low specs machines. There are other AVs that perform much better (like ESET, for instance)
...

Here where I live, most low specs and even mid range PCs still come with only a hard disk. In my experience, running Windows Defender in a computer with a hard disk is a pretty bad idea. Windows Defender has a serious problem with disk usage during on-access/background scans or signature updates. Disk usage routinely spikes to 100%.

Microsoft is a trillion dollar company and they have been offering Windows 10 to users since 2015 (including free upgrade for older PCs). They should have come up with a solution to alleviate this problem, instead of focusing on spying on their users or pushing their useless UWP/Cortana/live tiles etc. "Unrealistic expectations" shouldn't be an excuse when other AVs have been performing better in this aspect.

As I said before, if an AV is fast only when running on fast hardware, then this program is anything but lightweight software.
Even though I use and recommend WD, I agree. I've been using WD and MSE for a combined 7 years on low-spec laptops, both having a 5200 RPM HDD, and it is very slow and heavy compared with other products I've tried. I use it mainly because of its compatibility with Windows and its lack of false positives compared with the lightest AV I've used, which was Webroot, and being less buggy and crash-prone than the second-lightest AV I used, which was Avast.
 

Nevi

Level 6
Verified
I think most people will first notice WDs resource use, if they go from something real light as Eset. Personally I think WD use plenty of resources, but I am used to very light AV apps. But I have seen others talk about it. I remember a test The PC Security Channel made, where Leo came to the conclusion that it actually used a nice chunk of resources. You can see it here.
 

truefacts

Level 1
I'm probably going to disagree with most of the comments here. In my experience, WD is far from being the best AV when it comes to system resources. It's actually quite heavy and the impact is noticeable when you run WD on older hardware or low specs machines. There are other AVs that perform much better (like ESET, for instance)



I somewhat agree with your statements, but here's the point: the real quality of a security product is seen when it is capable of running light in a mid range (or even low specs) machine. An antivirus being fast in a computer with plenty of system resources is not an achievement, it's almost like an obligation. The most efficient AVs are those which manage to do more with less. If your computer have a decent CPU, plenty of RAM and a SSD, running fast is what you should expect from any AV. Such scenario doesn't really tell very much about how good an AV can be.



Here where I live, most low specs and even mid range PCs still come with only a hard disk. In my experience, running Windows Defender in a computer with a hard disk is a pretty bad idea. Windows Defender has a serious problem with disk usage during on-access/background scans or signature updates. Disk usage routinely spikes to 100%.

Microsoft is a trillion dollar company and they have been offering Windows 10 to users since 2015 (including free upgrade for older PCs). They should have come up with a solution to alleviate this problem, instead of focusing on spying on their users or pushing their useless UWP/Cortana/live tiles etc. "Unrealistic expectations" shouldn't be an excuse when other AVs have been performing better in this aspect.



As I said before, if an AV is fast only when running on fast hardware, then this program is anything but lightweight software.

No AV is going to run fast on HDD. The OEM world has moved beyond that years ago. The technology has changed. Nobody is really supporting HDD any longer beyond using HDD as a backup drive. Some OEMs still make HDD systems for the ultra-cheap market where people just do not want to pay. The OEMs have long since moved on from HDD technology and are optimizing for SSD. HDD is legacy and nobody in their right mind is going to spend the time, money and effort to support legacy hardware. That is IT industry standard practice.

I understand that there are parts of the world where OEMs still produce HDD systems to support the local markets. However, the entire IT industry focuses on the latest and greatest. Microsoft's attitude has always been that drive technology is always improving at a fast pace. It's attitude is that only the latest state of technology is the primary focus. This can be seen by the fact that the WD running on W10 1511 is a different animal than the one running on version 1909.

Your argument is the same in principle as "I bought a car 5 years ago. It only has 100 horsepower engine. The trillion dollar manufacturer should make improvements because the market where I live most people buy older automotive technology or continue to use their ancient automobiles. The car manufacturer knows this." Well that is not how industry works, but it is how uninformed consumers think. Consumers are very focused upon the reality that they want to be as opposed to the reality that exists.

I'm sorry, but everything you are saying confirms exactly my point regarding unrealistic expectations. It is emblematic example of the disconnect between consumer thinking and how the IT industry works . You are stating things that no OEM and Microsoft do not subscribe to. So yes it is all unrealistic expectations. Every party's position on hardware is that after about 5 years, the hardware is legacy and therefore there is no guarantee of optimal performance. HDDs are sold today because people are cheap and because HDD is meant for data backup. The OS today is not intended to run from the HDD. Your next counter argument is that Microsoft did not do a good job when HDD ruled supreme. Back then, WD was just a freebee that Microsoft shipped with Windows. The market reality was that people were going to install 3rd party AV. Therefore, Microsoft did not put forth the effort to compete in that space - and there is no reason that it should. WD back then was only an "as is best effort" based upon AV market reality.

Here again the issue is not Microsoft but people. People do not want to change and then point the finger at Microsoft. They need to spend the money and upgrade their hardware.
 
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