Microsoft Releases Free Antivirus Software

ms-security-essentialsOn September 29, 2009 Microsoft released version 1.0 of Security Essentials, free antivirus and spyware protection software  for Windows XP,Vista, and 7. It offers protection against viruses, spyware, rootkits, and trojans.

This product will replace Microsoft’s paid One Care security software, as well as the free Windows Defender, which protected against spyware but not viruses.

What’s Different

We found Security Essentials very easy and quick to install. On our test Windows 7 PC, it was downloaded, updated, and finished a quick-scan in less than 15 minutes.

A common problem with many security software packages is that they slow down everyday use of a computer. Some large security packages install hundreds of megabytes of data and consume large amounts of system RAM and CPU time. Security Essentials, though, has a small footprint and didn’t seem to slow down our PC at all.

We also like the simple, clean interface. Right on the main screen you can start a scan, change the schedule, and make sure it’s up-to-date. Also, we like that the program doesn’t constantly nag us with reminders to update, renew or check something.

Bottom Line:

For years we’ve been big fans of Microsoft’s previous free security software, Windows Defender, and Security Essentials looks to be even better, with added virus protections, no nagging, great performance, and still free. If you’re tired of your current, bloated security software, don’t hesitate to switch to this.

Before installing, be sure to first remove any other security software and then restart. And finally, always remember that no security software can effectively protect your PC if you download and install unsafe or insecure software.

Download Microsoft Security Essentials here.