Protect Your PC with Microsoft Security Essentials

If you are looking for FREE software that will protect your PC from  viruses, spyware and other malicious software (malware), then Microsoft Security Essentials is a good solution.

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I have tried and tested every FREE antivirus (and anti-malware) package out there and have found all of them to be sufficient in protecting your PC; however, when Microsoft released Security Essentials in 2009, it immediately got me thinking about a couple of things that convinced me to install it on my PC.

  1. Since Microsoft has the most intimate knowledge of their operating system (Windows), then logically they should be able to offer the best anti-malware solution(s) to protect that operating system.
  2. Ever since the turmoil surrounding the release of Windows Vista, Microsoft has been (in my opinion) making great strides to right itself and gain favor with us (the everyday computer user).  In other words, every effort is being made by Microsoft “to do it right”.  Security Essentials, in my opinion, would be no exception.

I have been running Security Essentials for several months on my PCs and here is what I like about it:

It is FREE (no cost and no annoying subscriptions to worry about). Updates and upgrades are automatic.

It is very easy to download and install (NOTE:  Prior to installing Security Essentials it is important that you uninstall any existing anti-virus software. You may need to download and run a cleanup utility for your previous security application for it to be completely removed.  A nice application to assist you with the uninstall process is AppRemover).

The GUI (graphical user interface) is simplistic in appearance, not obtrusive, or bloated.  Basically it was designed to be understood.

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It is non-intrusive, runs quietly in the background, and only displays alerts that requires your attention.  You can always tell when you are protected by the visual appearance of the Security Essentials icon (in the System Tray or notification area). When the icon is green you are protected and your status is OK.  When the icon is yellow, you are potentially unprotected.  When the icon is red, you are at risk.

The notification area is the area on the right side of the Windows taskbar. It contains shortcuts to programs and important status information.

It provides “real time” protection” and is very light on system resources (which is an uncommon characteristic of security software).

Whenever real-time protection detects a threat or potential threat, Microsoft Security Essentials displays a notification. You can now choose from the following options:

  • Clean computer to remove the detected item. Microsoft Security Essentials will automatically remove the item from your computer.
  • Show details link to display the Potential threat details window, and then choose which action to apply to the detected item.

You can perform manual scans of your PC and/or schedule scans to automatically occur at designated times.

Overall, I have been very pleased with the performance of Security Essentials and recommend it as a “go to security app” on your PC. If you opt to install Security Essentials, I encourage you to do your homework and visit the Microsoft Security Essentials web site to learn more.  Videos are available [ HERE ] on how to install Security Essentials; how to scan for malware; and, how to fix a problem.

System Requirements for Installation: Operating System: Genuine Windows XP (Service Pack 2 or Service Pack 3); Windows Vista (Gold, Service Pack 1, or Service Pack 2); Windows 7

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17 thoughts on “Protect Your PC with Microsoft Security Essentials

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  1. Rick,

    Absolutely agree – MSE is my “go to security app” on my primary home system, augmented of course with a number of free secondary scanners, including Malwarebytes, SuperAntiSpyware and Spyware Doctor.

    The only minor criticisimn I have of MSE is, I find it a little slow to complete full scans in comparison with some other “free” applications.

    Thanks for a great article.

    Bill

    Like

    1. Bill,

      Your augmentation of secondary scanners parallels my layers of protection on my PC exactly (with the exception of Spyware Doctor)… I too found the “full scans” to be slow; however, is quite tolerable. I have been installing and recommending MSE to others and feel quite comfortable in doing so (even though it is relatively new coming out of the chute).

      As always, Thank You for your valued input…

      Rick

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  2. Since installing Avira a few years ago, I have not had any viruses. Since I greatly respect you and Bill’s opinions, I am putting MSE on my radar screen for future contemplation!

    So the ball is in your court. Convince me what makes MSE a better av!

    Like

    1. G,

      Hmmm… Avira is excellent AV software. As a matter of fact I had it installed prior to installing MSE.

      How could I convince you to switch… Hmmm… I know! “Made in the USA”.

      Rick

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  3. Hi Rick,

    I actually like MSE and used it through beta and have it installed on my main computers. Although many trash Microsoft this is surprisingly good and I recommend it, it’s free, easy to use and it works.

    Although Microsoft say that it is an antivirus and antimalware, it pairs with Avast antivirus very well. Alwil, the vendors of Avast, went to Richmond and worked alongside the MS team to ensure compatibility and I have MSE and Avast 4.8 on one machine and MSE and Avast 5 Beta on another with no conflicts.

    It will also work with the majority of antivirus programs and another useful addition is Threatfire from PC Tools, put together with a decent firewall and a few other small security apps then good security can be free and easy 🙂

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    1. Colin,

      Thank you for this important information. This is a good demonstration of how Microsoft worked alongside the competition to get this right. Bottomline teamwork is the key to fight off the bad guys. Also, you have piqued my interest in checking out Threatfire…

      Thank you, as well, for your expertise and opinion…

      Rick

      Like

  4. Rick,
    Good information here. I cannot stress enough to folks that they really, really, really, really should be running up-to-date anti-malware. (Yes. Even you Mac users.) And I agree with the comments above.

    As a tech, I will install for my clients either Security Essentials or Avira (with the splash screen disabled, as per G’s helpful article), whenever I run across an unprotected machine. Currently, I am leaning towards the SE, simply because (as Collin noted) I have found it proven to be fully compatible with other anti-malware products.

    Microsoft really has changed the “antivirus” landscape by releasing this product for free (lifetime).

    It really is good to have you back, Rick.

    Like

    1. Mike,

      Oh yes, OpenDNS… I am currently using the same layers of protection (recipe), as you. Spyware Blaster is another one we forget about. I need to check out Javacool.

      Thank you for shairing your “security recipe”.

      Rick

      Like

  5. I am mightly impressed with MSE. It’s not easy to crack the free antivirus monopolies. I am confused though, if you look at social.answers.microsoft.com, they said MSE should not run with another antivirus and I have seen threads in there frowning at users using Avast and MSE together. I can’t find any offical statements that MSE and Avast can be used on the same computer. Nothing from Microsoft and nothing from Avast official website. I think you should only have one antivirus on the same computer

    http://social.answers.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/msestart/thread/54a780bb-d2cc-4b3e-a4f1-24ae78701ca9

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    1. Bobby,

      I’m with you on this one… I run MSE as a standalone Antivirus package; however, I run SUPERAntipSpyware, Spyware Blaster and Malwarebytes Anti-Malware.

      Thanks for bringing this information to us…

      Rick

      Like

      1. Thanks for that.

        It seems that this mis-info is prevalent across the net and a fair number of people believed Avast 5 was made to be compatible with MSE because of the Avast blog last year in August. There was never any confirmation that it would be compatible.

        I must admit I use ESET Smart Security 4 along with MBAM Pro and free SAS. I came across MSE for the first time on someone’s elses computer and I do like the simplicity of the GUI and the layout. I think Microsoft got the right idea by providing an antivirus without being overly technical for Windows users. Also, it scored consistently high in the AV-Comparitives testing. Have to admit, like’em or hate ’em, Microsoft scored two big hits with Windows 7 and MSE.

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  6. Hi,

    My name is Gavin Whittaker and blog writer at http://www.speeddemonit.co.uk.

    I am contacting you as I have been looking at various IT blogs recently as I want to guest write for others, and, allow others to do the same on my site.
    I’m sure you’re very aware of the benefits guest writing on others blogs brings, not to mention raising your online profile.

    Would this be something of interest to you?

    I wish you well.

    Regards,
    Gavin Whittaker

    IT Author, Consultant and Trainer
    Member of the Technology Channels Association
    CompTIA Reseller Forum Member

    Twitter: FREE_PC_Tips
    LinkedIn: http://uk.linkedin.com/in/gavinwhittaker
    View my Visual CV here

    Like

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