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Microsoft releases free virus scanner

Posted 29 September 2009 19:27 CET by Jared Newman

Microsoft’s new virus scanner aims for simplicity, but most importantly, it’s free.

Dubbed Microsoft Security Essentials, the software removes some of the functionality of Windows Live OneCare, which cost $50 and featured firewall options, performance tuning and system restore tools. Security Essentials, by comparison, is a stripped-down virus scanner, performing regular checks of your computer and updating virus definitions daily.

MSE_main_610x475

Reading over CNet’s report on the software, it’s refreshing to see Microsoft offering a light, non-intrusive virus scanner. Running on Windows XP, Vista or the upcoming Windows 7, Security Essentials presents users with four simple navigation tabs. On most occasions, users will only need the “Home” tab to initialize a scan, assuming that they need to open the software at all with automatic scans happening behind the scenes.

Security Essentials has performed pretty well in benchmarks so far. PC Advisor notes that the software successfully fended off 3,200 common viruses, Trojans and worms, in testing by AV-Test GmbH. The software also consumes less memory than paid competitors, such as Symantec and McAfee. On the downside, CNet benchmarks found Security Essentials to be slower than the competition, taking more than twice as long for a full scan.

However, Microsoft could be competing more with free virus scanners, such as AVG, than paid subscription-based software. Even if that’s the case, it’s not direct competition. With no apparent way to upgrade to a paid Microsoft service, as AVG does, I’m thinking that Microsoft sees this more as a bullet point for its operating systems.

The real pressure, then, might be on Apple to offer a free virus scanner of its own. Apple has insisted that Macs have built-in anti-virus, but could install extra software for “additional protection.” Mac threats aren’t unheard of, after all, so Security Essentials could provide more fodder for the fanboys.

toaddub
MyCE Resident
Posted on: 30 Sep 09 19:40
Here's a comparison among free antivirus software:

Free Antivirus Software Side-by-Side Comparison
0 Agree

MysticEyes
MyCE Resident
Posted on: 30 Sep 09 19:52
Quote:
Originally Posted by toaddub
Here's a comparison among free antivirus software:

Free Antivirus Software Side-by-Side Comparison
Yikes. I've been using Comodo on my Vista laptop.
0 Agree

Hemispasm
Retired Senior Moderator
Posted on: 30 Sep 09 20:11
I was reading somewhere that Norton has been pissed with this move, making a statement about how inadequate all these free antivirus programs (MS included) are..
0 Agree

toaddub
MyCE Resident
Posted on: 30 Sep 09 20:26
I used Comodo Internet Security before on my XP. Its firewall protection is excellent, very configurable, but its antivirus engine really sucks. On every routine scheduled scan, there are lots of false positives on well known programs, including Dvd Rebuilder registration key. Also, it scans extremely slowly and slows down my PC a lot.

I uninstalled it and used Norton Internet Security 2009 (and have the automaticac free upgrade to 2010 which I haven't installed yet), after reading many great reviews over it. Scanning is fast, no false positives, and no resource hog on XP desktop and Vista laptop.

Together with NIS, I also have Threatfire, Malwarebytes, and Spywareblaster installed. I think these should be enough to protect the system. But these are just too much on my very old PC with 512MB RAM, so I just have Avira, Malwarebytes, and Spywareblaster installed.

Avira is great if you can put up with its annoying popups.
0 Agree

MysticEyes
MyCE Resident
Posted on: 30 Sep 09 20:45
Quote:
Originally Posted by toaddub
I used Comodo Internet Security before on my XP. Its firewall protection is excellent, very configurable, but its antivirus engine really sucks. On every routine scheduled scan, there are lots of false positives on well known programs, including Dvd Rebuilder registration key. Also, it scans extremely slowly and slows down my PC a lot...
Thanks for the heads up.
0 Agree

alan1476
Senior Moderator, Software Editor and Head of Promotions
Posted on: 30 Sep 09 22:16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hemispasm
I was reading somewhere that Norton has been pissed with this move, making a statement about how inadequate all these free antivirus programs (MS included) are..
What are they supposed to say? That's a typical response from a vendor who just isn't needed anymore. I will wait until the program is reviewed by an independent source, then I will make my decision on whether to use it or not. I have a 2 year license with KIS now but who know MSFT might have a good product. I for one will follow and see what the outcome is before making any claims. Many of the big companies lease the anti virus engine from Kaspersky or Norton or McAfee, then use it with there own name. This could be one of those instances. Who knows?
0 Agree

Hemispasm
Retired Senior Moderator
Posted on: 30 Sep 09 23:05
Quote:
Originally Posted by alan1476
What are they supposed to say? That's a typical response from a vendor who just isn't needed anymore. I will wait until the program is reviewed by an independent source, then I will make my decision on whether to use it or not. I have a 2 year license with KIS now but who know MSFT might have a good product. I for one will follow and see what the outcome is before making any claims. Many of the big companies lease the anti virus engine from Kaspersky or Norton or McAfee, then use it with there own name. This could be one of those instances. Who knows?
My personal opinion is that MS Windows have come a long way (compared to XP and before times) with respect to security, and I feel they are quite safe per se. I also believe MS has no other option than to take up the task of assuring the best possible security for its product from now on, partly through the addition of this software security suite, to cut down on the final end user cost of its products in these troubling economic times.

MS has already done so by cutting almost half the price for OEM Windows 7. Hence, I strongly believe that companies into the software security business will suffer lots in the near future...

edit: btw I am totally satisfied by the free version of Avast.. all you need more than that is some common sense
0 Agree

alan1476
Senior Moderator, Software Editor and Head of Promotions
Posted on: 30 Sep 09 23:16
Well said Hemi, whenever I build a machine for a friend I always put the free Avast on it before it leaves my house.
0 Agree

BitRate
MyCE Senior Member
Posted on: 01 Oct 09 00:26
I wouldn't trust this junk from Microsoft. It's probably loaded with malware and aggressively triggers false positives on competitors software.
0 Agree

beef barley
MyCE Resident
Posted on: 01 Oct 09 00:30
Been using it for a while now on Windows 7 x 2 machines, so far, so good.
0 Agree

Dr. Who
MyCE Resident
Posted on: 01 Oct 09 00:51
Running it since beta it is very nice for free better than avg I think less bloat. But that's my opinion. There is some banner adblock features in kaspersky that MSE doesn't have and there's no addon in firefox that can get them either.
0 Agree

shaolin007
MyCE Resident
Posted on: 01 Oct 09 04:19
I use Avast and like it. I use to buy into Norton but Avast does just as good IMO. Also, it is best to use a Sandbox for trying out questionable software. Sandboxie is great for basic web browsing stuff. I heard Returnil is good and I am thinking about trying it out for size since it allows you to boot your system into a "virtual" state.
0 Agree

AmiWolf
CD Freaks Junior Member
Posted on: 01 Oct 09 16:42
All in all, M$ is jumping into another territory that it hadn't tried before. bing is a testament to that. Just need to see how it does before jumping ship from our regular software usage.
0 Agree

MysticEyes
MyCE Resident
Posted on: 01 Oct 09 19:10
Quote:
Originally Posted by AmiWolf
All in all, M$ is jumping into another territory that it hadn't tried before. bing is a testament to that. Just need to see how it does before jumping ship from our regular software usage.
I don't know if 'jumping' is the correct term. As usual it's others who innovate and eventually MS assimilates.

Resistance is futile.
0 Agree

Mr. Belvedere
MyCE Resident
Posted on: 01 Oct 09 20:35
Quote:
Originally Posted by toaddub
Here's a comparison among free antivirus software:

Free Antivirus Software Side-by-Side Comparison
How on earth did they test this new virusscanner of ms on this part:

Heuristic detection with four-week-old signatures

The product isn't even four weeks old!
0 Agree

Hemispasm
Retired Senior Moderator
Posted on: 01 Oct 09 20:38
Maybe they had a pre-official release version?
0 Agree

Womble
Retired Administrator & Reviewer
Posted on: 02 Oct 09 04:50
Have to take alook.

Been using AVG Free on most things.
0 Agree

Nemesys
MyCE Resident
Posted on: 02 Oct 09 11:19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Belvedere
How on earth did they test this new virusscanner of ms on this part:

Heuristic detection with four-week-old signatures

The product isn't even four weeks old!
Mr. B, the MSE listed in the tests was a Beta version.
Obviously it has been around for a while.
0 Agree

brokenbuga
MyCE Resident
Posted on: 02 Oct 09 19:47
Yep, beta invites went out mid June and lasted for all of about 12 hours from what I recall before they took the server down and said thanks for playing all, we have enough testers.

The software was available on bittorrent and other means, as usual.

I've been using it since beta in June, I think it's great, small footprint, doesn't pester, scans quickly. Good product and one less thing I have to concern myself with anymore.
0 Agree

rexroach
MyCE Member
Posted on: 02 Oct 09 21:43
Bitrate SAid [I wouldn't trust this junk from Microsoft. It's probably loaded with malware and aggressively triggers false positives on competitors software.]
It does none of these things
0 Agree

Mr. Belvedere
MyCE Resident
Posted on: 03 Oct 09 14:22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nemesys
Mr. B, the MSE listed in the tests was a Beta version.
Obviously it has been around for a while.
So they're testing a beta.. Oh well, better than nothing i guess.

I think it's a solid product. Windows OneCare was rock solid as well (and took a lot of cpu power). I just wonder what MS thinks it will gain from all this.
0 Agree

beef barley
MyCE Resident
Posted on: 03 Oct 09 14:38
Quote:
Originally Posted by rexroach
Bitrate SAid [I wouldn't trust this junk from Microsoft. It's probably loaded with malware and aggressively triggers false positives on competitors software.]
It does none of these things
It's a keeper, so far.
0 Agree

rexroach
MyCE Member
Posted on: 05 Oct 09 19:50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Belvedere
So they're testing a beta.. Oh well, better than nothing i guess.

I think it's a solid product. Windows OneCare was rock solid as well (and took a lot of cpu power). I just wonder what MS thinks it will gain from all this.
It has a much lower footprint than Onecare which on older machines made them unusable
0 Agree

rlittle66
MyCE Rookie
Posted on: 10 Oct 09 17:26
The most important thing about Microsoft that everyone seems to forget is that it's free now, but after a bit Microsoft will start charging an arm and a leg for this free product.

Yes, it is a new product and yes you are the guinea pigs right now.
How soon you all forget. LOL
0 Agree

beef barley
MyCE Resident
Posted on: 10 Oct 09 17:34
Quote:
Originally Posted by rlittle66
The most important thing about Microsoft that everyone seems to forget is that it's free now, but after a bit Microsoft will start charging an arm and a leg for this free product.

Yes, it is a new product and yes you are the guinea pigs right now.
How soon you all forget. LOL
If they do, I will uninstall & go back to Avira.
0 Agree

Hemispasm
Retired Senior Moderator
Posted on: 10 Oct 09 18:14
Quote:
Originally Posted by rlittle66
The most important thing about Microsoft that everyone seems to forget is that it's free now, but after a bit Microsoft will start charging an arm and a leg for this free product.
I sincerely doubt it, but hey everything is possible.
Quote:
Yes, it is a new product and yes you are the guinea pigs right now.
This is the same with all new software we use, be it Windows or a linux bistro.. Thats life
0 Agree

Lipsync
New on Forum
Posted on: 16 Oct 09 17:23
AVIRA was rated better than the other "freebees" anyway.
0 Agree

tgbyhn10
CD Freaks Rookie
Posted on: 18 Oct 09 13:50
Thanks for the heads up
0 Agree

LifesGood
New on Forum
Posted on: 24 Oct 09 12:57
Been using it on Windows 7 since it's release and so far I'm impressed.

Just try it.
0 Agree

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