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Microsoft Windows Defender is installed by MSIS to protect spyware from installing on Windows machines. Defender is scheduled to run once a day, usually as a background process. Defender also offers real-time protection from spyware by default. Automatic scanning and real-time protection can be enabled/disabled under the Tools > Options menus.
Note that Defender specifically protects the machine against spyware. VirusScan is used to protect against viruses.