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There are two tags on the main site which seem to be synonymous:

The latter has no tag wiki or any info attached (not even a brief description of its scope) and has only few Q&As. The former has many more Q&As but is so specific in mentioning Windows 8 (yes, I know "In Windows 8 and later versions of Windows") that it gave me pause.

Also, does it cover Defender ATP (aka Defender for Endpoint)? The product that comes with InTune connectivity and such?

I also see there is a synonym suggestion for the latter on the former.

(Somewhat related?)

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  • They are identical products. Someone with the ability to create a tag erroneously created a tag.
    – Ramhound
    Dec 21, 2023 at 13:15
  • 2
    One defends Windows and the other one defends Microsoft? Presumably the second one has WAY more lawyers involved. /jk
    – Christian
    Dec 29, 2023 at 14:01

1 Answer 1

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While colloquially the two terms are often used to refer to the same thing, they are not, in fact, the same thing.

Windows Defender is the desktop security client default for Microsoft Windows OS and other OSes.

Microsoft Defender is a broader suite of security tools that includes Windows Defender for Endpoint (a variant of Windows Defender) that is used for enterprise security particularly for Microsoft 365 licensees. It includes both endpoint clients and server and infrastructure security tools. You'll see the Microsoft Defender branding applied to the security.microsoft.com portal when you have a Microsoft 365 license.

Note that this distinction has not always been respected by Microsoft, and you will see their own answers and documentation referring to the desktop client, in particular, as both Microsoft- and Windows-Defender in the past. It is more recently with their cloud efforts and development of the enterprise-class security products that the two terms have taken on distinct meanings.

Suggested solution: The Windows Defender tag should be used. Microsoft Defender, being typically an enterprise utility, should include a recommendation to either tag correctly, if the person is asking about their own PCs security software, or to ask on ServerFault or Security, if their question is regarding the enterprise product and security.

Citations:

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