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Microsoft Unleashes Free Antivirus

Gordon Kelly


Microsoft Unleashes Free Antivirus

If at first you don't succeed...

Today Microsoft is back in the antivirus game with the gold launch of Security Essentials, a new completely free PC protection suite that it hopes will make users more aware of the threats not just to their PC's heath, but their financial information.

"Microsoft Security Essentials provides real-time protection for your home PC that guards against viruses, spyware, and other malicious software," explained the company on its new Security Essentials official site. "Microsoft Security Essentials is a free download from Microsoft that is simple to install, easy to use, and always kept up to date so you can be assured your PC is protected by the latest technology. It's easy to tell if your PC is secure — when you're green, you're good. It's that simple. Microsoft Security Essentials runs quietly and efficiently in the background so that you are free to use your Windows-based PC the way you want—without interruptions or long computer wait times."

Yes, the pitch is good but it lacks hard facts such as how much memory does Security Essentials eat up? How fast does it perform scans? And many more. In fact, the Security Essentials tagline: "Proven antivirus protection for free? That's what I need" couldn't be more off since Microsoft is distinctly unproven in this sector. In fact, its only previous attempt Windows OneCare crashed and burned spectacularly. Security Essentials also won't be bundled with Windows since Microsoft knows it would lead to the EC having another apoplectic fit, so it won't get a boost there.

That said, I'll roll out the competition is good argument once more since - well, it really is. Microsoft Security Essentials is available to download now from the link below. Are you tempted?


Microsoft Security Essentials


September 29, 2009, 9:15 pm

Ironically however, in contrast to services such as a web browser (which is a specific application in it's own right) system security is ALL about trying to fix that which Microsoft have arguably made wrong in the first place. There is something very ironic about MS offering anti-virus software, and that irony was verging on abusive back when they were selling anti-virus software.

This should be packaged with win7 in my view, or at least in a sense of 4 or 5 other AV security packages, which the user selects at first boot.


September 29, 2009, 9:35 pm

Hmmm... hopefully this will be adequate for netbooks. As long as it's not complete crap then maybe it'll just need a little backup from no-script.


September 29, 2009, 9:50 pm

I'm using it on Windows 7 and it runs extremely well. It's simply set up and forget. It seems to be able to update itself through proxy servers automatically (unlike the Beta version) and memory usage as reported through task manager is only 4mb.

Not worth replacing your Internet security "All in One" Solutions, but for basic antivirus, I'd trust this.


September 29, 2009, 10:30 pm

Despite not gaining a lot of market-share, OneCare wasn't so bad for home users, since it was simple and didn't hog too much in the way of system resources.

It just kind of got on quietly with what it was supposed to do, without scaring novices with FireWall alerts all the time.

I installed it for friends and family, simply because I could remotely see alerts when their virus definitions were out of date etc and basically keep an eye on things.

However, for power-users, the lack of a 64-bit version was a serious slip-up - and it lacked a lot of the tweakability of the Suites from Norton, ZoneAlarm, Kaspersky, McAfee, etc


September 29, 2009, 10:47 pm

I've used the beta of this in place of AVG free, where a lightweight, fit and forget solution was needed and I've come away impressed. For basic anti virus needs it's fine.


September 29, 2009, 11:00 pm

Well... I installed AVG about 2 years ago and havn't thought about viruses since.

So, why should I bother with this one?


September 30, 2009, 12:58 am

What reviewer fails to mention is that Microsoft Security Essentials is based on the same core scanning engine used by Microsoft's Forefront line of products.

Forefront is a proven certified antivirus product. Forefront Security received the latest CESG Claims Tested Mark (CCTM) award for integrity protection and also achieved the ICSA Labs Certification, VB100 award, and West Coast Labs&#8217 Checkmark Certification, meeting key criteria for protection against malware. Forefront Client Security was named a finalist for the Info Security 2008 Global Excellence in anti malware solutions. I personally dont care how long it takes to scan stuff or its resource footprint as long as it protects me and doesn't slow down my pc!

Ben 3

September 30, 2009, 1:35 am

Every review I've read of the beta comes out well. Maybe making comments about it based on OneCare are a bit premature ;)


September 30, 2009, 3:26 am

@Smurf - thanks for the info, though note I'm not a reviewer. This is simply news coverage.

Hamish Campbell

September 30, 2009, 12:26 pm

Errr....if they have spent time making an antivirus product, analysing viruses/trojans etc, finding out how to thwart them....why don't they then go an just fix the security holes they exploit? Then one wouldn't need the anti-virus in the first place...or at least it could be scaled down. All seems a bit mad.

I mean imagine if apple had come out with a virus checker, people would laugh their heads off and call it a security nightmare.


September 30, 2009, 1:26 pm

Everyone who used the beta loved it, and commented on how different is it to OneCare.

So much so that it is used to replace established packages.

I personally am going to try it tonight!


September 30, 2009, 1:46 pm

@MSIC: "Ironically however, in contrast to services such as a web browser (which is a specific application in it's own right) system security is ALL about trying to fix that which Microsoft have arguably made wrong in the first place. "

yes, because no other platform / OS gets viruses or hacked in anyway


September 30, 2009, 4:49 pm

@MSIC and haim: I'm pretty sure it is a lot more complicated than that


September 30, 2009, 5:11 pm

I'm trying it right now and 24 hours in I have to say I'm quite impressed. Uses very little memory (4/5MB), runs quickly and I haven't had a single prompt.

It will take much longer testing to equate its overall effectiveness though.


September 30, 2009, 7:08 pm

I put AVG on my Win7 Acer Aspire One and found my boot up time turned to a snails pace, so removed it. If this is quicker, then its good for me i say.


September 30, 2009, 7:19 pm

@Simon - it does seem a lot faster than AVG, but new Norton antivirus is even quicker (http://www.trustedreviews.c... that isn't free though ;)


October 1, 2009, 2:37 am

What to do. AVG does work fine for me. But you can never go wrong with more speed. Reason I use Chrome even though it's woefully under featured compared to the competition. Downloading now then...


October 4, 2009, 6:05 am

working great for me it's very fast and integrates well and it doesn't shout at me for not having automatic updates fully on like the old onecare did

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