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What antivirus software should I use on a device made for Surface?

Like any other computer on your network, you must protect devices made for Surface from malicious software. The Windows Defender application (which is included in Windows 7 and on all devices made for Microsoft Surface) is a good first defense against malicious software. But you should also protect each device made for Surface by using antivirus software. For a list of antivirus vendors, see the "List of antivirus software vendors" article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base.

Choosing an Antivirus Software for Microsoft Surface

When you choose antivirus software for your device made for Surface, consider the following issues:

  • Look for antivirus software that is designed for non-interactive server environments. The antivirus software should not expose any user interface when the device made for Surface is running in Surface mode. That is, the antivirus software must continue to run when the current Surface mode account (for example, SurfaceDefaultUser) is logged on. In Surface mode, the Surface software tries to suppress all user interface items that are not part of a Surface application (for example, a dialog box prompt to clean a virus or download an update). In addition, if several such prompts appear in Surface mode within a certain period of time, the Surface software displays the out-of-order screen and disables the device. Many antivirus packages are built for (or have options for) non-interactive server environments so that all antivirus work occurs in the background and without user interface elements. This type of antivirus software is ideal for devices made for Surface.

  • Your antivirus software should provide a fully automatic mode. You will want to perform signature updates, virus removal, and so on without user intervention.

  • You should be able to schedule the antivirus software to run during non-peak use times. Because devices made for Surface are designed to be in public venues, schedule the antivirus updates and scanning for a time when users are affected the least.

  • Thoroughly test the antivirus software on a device made for Surface that is running in Surface mode before you deploy the software to the rest of your devices made for Surface. Some antivirus packages might have problems with some of the customization and startup tasks that the Surface software performs when it enters Surface mode. Some antivirus packages might also have problems with the restricted user rights of the SurfaceDefaultUser account. You should also make sure that the antivirus software works correctly when you switch between Windows mode and Surface mode.

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