Security Essentials – Free Anti-Virus and Anti-Spyware from Microsoft

Microsoft has just released a public beta of their new anti-virus and anti-spyware program called Microsoft Security Essentials. This program will be free and replacing the defunct Windows Defender.

So what’s the big deal? It’s actually really big! Basically, Microsoft will be competing with the likes of Kaspersky, Norton, and other major anti-virus players. They are also making it free, which means AVG, Avira, and all the other free anti-virus guys are going to be getting some serious competition.

Good thing for consumers? You bet! Firstly, Microsoft will hopefully be able to integrate Security Essentials better with Windows Firewall and Windows Security Center. Security Essentials will protect against viruses, spyware, trojans, worms, and other malicious software.

security essentials microsoft

First, the annoying parts about trying to download and install Microsoft Security Essentials on your computer! Yes Microsoft always makes a simple download into a fun 100 clicks ordeal!

  • Must use Internet Explorer to download the file
  • Must have a Microsoft Live account or Hotmail account
  • Must install an ActiveX plugin in order to download the file

And, of course, there will be several pop-up windows along the way! After about 5 minutes of clicking, I was able to get the beta installed! Whew! I’m hope that using the program is not this hard.

Once installed, you’ll see a new blue and grey castle icon on your desktop and in your sidebar. Double click it to open up Microsoft Security Essentials. First, you’ll need to update the virus definition files in order for real-time protection to be turned on.

free virus protection microsoft

Automatically, your computer will be scheduled for a scan at 2 AM every morning. You can manually perform a Quick, Full, or Custom scan from the home page.

The software will run in the background and notify you if there is any kind of malicious software detected. According to testers, it seems like Security Essentials is able to detect a good number of trojans and viruses.

Under Settings, you can change the schedule for scanning, the real-time protection options, and also setup any file, folder, process, or file type exclusions. I really like the fact that you can exclude so many different types of objects.

microsoft security essentials settings

Under Advanced, you can also set an option to scan removable drives, such as USB flash drives when running a full system scan.

Overall, Microsoft Security Essentials is very easy to use, not a memory hog, and seems to be able to detect a large number of viruses, trojans, and spyware. It’s definitely a lot better than Windows Defender, which I personally thought was horrible. Give it a shot, there are a limited number of beta testers allowed! Enjoy!

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