Sorry, What Exactly is the Point of Windows Defender Security Center?

Posted on January 24, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in Windows 10 with 50 Comments

Sorry, What Exactly is the Point of Windows Defender Security Center?

Microsoft is often chided for overloading and reusing feature names. And so it is with the new Windows Defender Security Center in Windows 10.

Why do we need such a thing, you ask? That’s an interesting question. But you need to know what it is first. And I challenge you to find the answer in Microsoft’s announcement post about this new feature.

“In the Windows 10 Creators Update, we will introduce a new experience called the Windows Defender Security Center to make it is easier for you to view and control the security protections you choose and better understand the security features already protecting you on your Windows 10 device,” the announcement notes. “Windows Insiders can explore this experience now under All Apps in the Start Menu and provide feedback through the Insider Feedback hub.”

OK, it’s an experience. But what we can’t do is search for it, at least not easily: If you type security into Start Search, what comes up is the Security and Maintenance Control Panel, which is the what used to be called Action Center—that name was appropriated for the notifications hub in Windows 10 in 2015—and what used to be called, before that … wait for it… the Security Center.

The old staleness: The Security and Maintenance Control Panel

Right. Security Center. Remember? It debuted in Windows XP Service Pack 2 with Advanced Security Technologies (seriously, it was called that) about a million years ago.

So Microsoft’s solution to making security more obvious than typing security into Start Search is to create yet another UI, called it some mashed up combination of “Windows Defender”—which still exists and performs anti-malware duties—and “Security Center,” which sort of still exists in Windows 10, and make something new. Called Windows Defender Security Center. Neat!

Another fun bit. If you search for security center in Windows 10 Start Search, guess what comes up? Right. The Security and Maintenance Control Panel. Of course it does.

(The only way I’ve found to bring up Windows Defender Security Center with Start Search is to search for defender, by the way. It’s second after Windows Defender in the results list.)

Worse: There are actually three Defenders in Windows 10 now. Seriously. (OK, four: You can run Defender from the commmand line too, of course.)

Look, I’m trying to have fun with this. But aside from the “fun with naming” stuff, Microsoft really does have a bad habit of providing too many ways to do the same thing in Windows. And of exponentially increasing the number of UIs we need to know about. Remember when one of the core tenets of Windows 95 was to remove all the “Manager” UIs? Yeah. We’re back to 1993, baby.

Here’s an idea. Replicate all Security and Maintenance Control Panel functionality in Windows Defender Security Center. Then, remove Security and Maintenance Control Panel. Then, add Defender scanning capabilities to the Windows Defender Security Center app. And then remove the Windows Defender application, since it’s redundant. Then rename Windows Defender Security Center to Security Center and make sure that is what comes up when someone looks for security. There’s just too much stuff.

Round and round we go.


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