Microsoft Security Essentials

With all the news stories that have been written and broadcast that dangers posed by viruses, Trojans, spyware and malware, and all the reports of identity theft and economic hardship, you would think that no one would ever dare to connect  a computer to the Internet without first installing an antivirus program.  And yet millions of people do just that. Microsoft estimates that more than 50 percent of Windows installations have no security software installed. This is a situation that is dangerous to the reputation of Windows as a safe and reliable product.  How can Microsoft offer a security solution that does not risk a Justice Department or European Union lawsuit? Building certain protections into the OS could be construed as anticompetitive behavior as Media Player and Internet Explorer were.

Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) is a free antivirus and antispyware program.  It is available as a download for Windows 7, Vista and XP and can be obtained in 32 and 64 bit versions.  MSE was a departure for Microsoft, being the first free antivirus product they have offered. Microsoft Live OneCare was a subscription-based security solution that included firewall and backup functions.  Live OneCare is being replaced with MSE and never was updated for Windows 7.  Since it is not included with Windows to begin with, and only available as a download, MSE may not trigger legal action.

MSE is easy to download and install. It does not make large demands on system resources, and runs as a low priority process. It only requires 256 MB of RAM to be installed on Windows XP to function.  It uses about 4MB of RAM while actively scanning. The interface is simple and it is easy to navigate from one color-coded tab to another.  MSE can automatically update itself with new virus definitions up to three times a day. Real-time protection, email scanning, scheduled quick and full scans are all available. MSEs Technology is based on Microsoft Forefront Security without including Forefront’s enterprise-class management tools. MSE is intended for use by individual users only, not for business use but is a great preview/demo for Forefront.

You can download Microsoft System Essentials at:


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Defending Windows Networks

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