What is Microsoft Security Essentials?
Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE); has been on the market place for a couple of years now. Its primary goal is to provide anti-virus protection to machines running Windows, and it is available free of charge as long your copy of Windows is genuine; and it will check.
MSE is pitched at home users and small businesses, and by some accounts it is the fourth most popular antivirus software available. Small businesses can use the software on up to ten machines, but anything more and you will need Microsoft Forefront endpoint protection.
Its rise to prominence has been swift yet quiet. In our line of work you hear a lot about up-and-coming software and when it's launched, it's everywhere! But this hasn't been the case with MSE.
What does it do?
MSE contains an anti-virus component, which is incorporated into the anti malware component Windows Defender. This works alongside Windows Firewall which is installed by default on all Windows 7 machines and most up-to-date Windows XP machines.
How do I use it?
To download Microsoft Security Essentials simply download it here.
You will be given the option to select your operating system. It is essentials you select the correct install to go with your operating system.
Once the package is downloaded, double click on the file and follow the default selections. If you already have another anti-virus product installed MSE will ask you to uninstall it first. If you are just being nosey and want to see what MSE looks like, you can ignore this message and install it anyway.
At the very end of the install you will be asked to restart your machine.
What does it look like?
MSE is very uncluttered, with four very basic tabs, and it is fairly simple, which we rather like. Some anti-virus software can be unnecessarily complicated when the ordinary home user needs protection against viruses and malware with the least amount of effort. MSE slides into this category very well. That isn't to say other vendors don't offer similar offerings, they do, but the simple layout gives this some advantage over competitors.
What's the verdict?
Microsoft Security Essentials is a viable solution for home PCusers; the software is clean, usable and the setup is simple.
We've read many reports and reviews on MSE and on the whole it performs really well against other paid-for products. There are certain areas where it doesn't quite meet its rivals, but others where it out performs them.
The way these tests are carried out and then reported on can vary. But having used the product for many months now, I feel it's a great free little tool from Microsoft to help combat viruses and malware.