Microsoft Security Essentials

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License: Freeware

Version: 2.1

Release date: 2012-06-16

Company: Microsoft

Size: 7884 K

Category: Anti-Virus Tools

OS support: Windows

(2014-06-29)

             Editor's Review

It is natural for a technology giant like Microsoft to actively promote any upcoming software and millions of Windows users are witness to aggresive promotion and advertising. However, exceptions do occur even in technology sector and the Redmond based software behemoth maintains a low profile while launching specific apps. One such example is Microsoft Security Essentials. This freeware security app has been there for quite some time and recently Microsoft has released the updated version, without much hoopla. To evade the type of reactions and brickbats it received for bundling IE with each Windows release, Microsoft still does not pack in Security Essentials with any Windows version. However, the app can be downloaded from its site for free.

Microsoft Security Essentials new version does not look much different than its earlier avatars. It can run on PCs equipped with Windows XP Service Pack 3 and higher versions except Windows 8. Compared to mainstream commercial and free antivirus apps, it does not consume much disk space. One glitch is that you cannot install the app in Safe mode. Installing the app on some malware affected system can prove to be cumbersome.

The app interface is pretty and intuitive, making this easier even for first time users. There are 4 tabs- Home, History, Update and Settings. The default scan schedule is set weekly, which is not adequate for present generation PC safety.

One aspect of Microsoft Security Essentials may deter a majority of users- its slow scanning speed. In an age when PC users often need to multitask, the last thing they want is waiting for the security app to complete system scans. Malware detection rate is above average but way behind what third party free antivirus tools offer. Apps like AVG free Antivirus beats the Microsoft contender in this segment by a fair margin. Malware cleanup is not very impressive either. In detecting zero day threats, the app scores abysmally lagging behind most of the rivals.

While the app cleans up all root kit apps it detects, its detection rate fails to create good impression. The app does not block malicious sites at url level, but a majority of infected executable files are thwarted during download. Again, free alternatives like ZoneAlarm Free Antivirus + Firewall fare better in this department. However, Microsoft Security Essentials manages to get good scores from independent test labs like and West Coast Labs and VB100.

Positive Points:
-Decent malware detection rate.
-Easy to use, intuitive interface.
-Freeware, not much resource hogging.
-Good score from independent Virus test labs.

Negative Points:
-Rivals outshine the app in malware detection and cleanup.
-Hard to install on infected PCs.
-Not effective against zero day threats.

Conclusion:
Microsoft Security Essentials does not cost you anything and is pretty easy to use. However, its performance is not satisfying on some grounds. The rootkit and malware detection rate is not great. Installing the software on malware affected system can turn out to be a headache and you cannot install it using safe mode as well. There are quite a few third party antivirus apps that come with more features and offer more robust protection from various threats.

Rating: 3.5/5


Publisher's Description

Use Microsoft Security Essentials to guard against viruses, spyware, and other evil software. It provides real-time protection for your home or small business PCs.

Microsoft Security Essentials is free* and we designed it to be simple to install and easy to use. It runs quietly and efficiently in the background so you don't have to worry about interruptions or making updates.

Microsoft Security Essentials uses green, yellow and red color codes to designate the security status of your PC and a color-coded icon in the taskbar tells you at a glance if your attention is needed. It’s simple—when you’re green, you’re good. However, if there’s a red or yellow threat, Microsoft Security Essentials will alert you and recommend what to do (you can act directly from the notification area without having to enter the application).

File Distribution Notice of Microsoft Security Essentials Freeware -
Microsoft Security Essentials Free Download - 2000 Shareware periodically updates software information of Microsoft Security Essentials from the publisher, so some information may be slightly out-of-date. You should confirm all information before relying on it. Software piracy is theft, Using Microsoft Security Essentials crack, password, registration codes, key generators, serial numbers is illegal.

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