Security Bytes

Sep 30 2009   1:01PM GMT

Microsoft makes free antivirus software widely available

Robert Westervelt Robert Westervelt Profile: Robert Westervelt


Software meets the needs of those looking for lightweight, free antivirus.

Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE), free antivirus software for Windows users, has been in beta for quite some time. Today, Microsoft has ripped the beta status off the software, making it widely available to the public.

Security Essentials is aimed at consumers who are content with free antivirus, but it could help businesses, especially those whose employees sometimes work on their personal computers. A no-no in many industries, but tolerated by many firms.

From Microsoft:

Microsoft Security Essentials is a free* download from Microsoft that is simple to install, easy to use, and always kept up to date so you can be assured your PC is protected by the latest technology. It’s easy to tell if your PC is secure — when you’re green, you’re good. It’s that simple.

No new features were provided in the final release version. It provides antivirus and antspyware protection and removal. That’s it. Microsoft said it worked to keep the software light. I’ve been using it on my little Acer Aspire netbook and I can report that it doesn’t appear to slow the machine down at all, unlike other free software suites I’ve used.

Our security expert contributor, Eric Ogren said Microsoft Security Essentials lacks vision. Ogren called it “yesterday’s antimalware solution” and said consumers should stick to free versions provided by AVG or Avast and check if their Internet service provider offers a free version of a more full-fledged suite.

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