Microsoft Security Essentials

Microsoft Security Essentials Under Microscope

Microsoft Security Essentials LogoA look at Microsoft Security Essentials, the free anti-virus application from Microsoft. Is Microsoft Security Essentials any good? Will it protect a Windows PC from most common threats? Can MSE compete with commercial security applications?

Over the next few months we will see.

Annoyed with Commercial AV Software.

I have become increasingly annoyed with commercial anti-virus applications. They have become overpriced, use too much system resources, interfere with other applications, or slow down internet access. Worse still, none of the apps are able to detect every virus or malware… An example is Trojan Generic 24, which seems to be only detected by AVG (but doesn’t stop or remove it). Trend Micro Titanium and Norton AV don’t find all versions of this dangerous trojan.

Brief tests of Avast AV and  NAV (which will be the subjects of other articles) did not improve my opinion.

Anti Virus Software Essential for Protection

We cannot afford to have a computer without some form of anti-virus protection, even if the software only protects against 99% of malware. Unless we never get e-mails, surf the net, download applications or do anything likely to expose it to danger.

Installing Microsoft Security Essentials

Installing Microsoft Security Essentials was easy. The basic installer downloaded fast, and ran without any conflicts (Win XP 32 bit and Win7 (Enterprise Developers) 64bit. A few options were offered, non of which provided many options, so the installer was allowed to continue, another quick process that did not need a re-start.

The next step – update the software. This took a lot longer as a large download was required. Clearly the basic installer only installs some initial files, and the main program only gets installed during this “update”. Once again the process was smooth, without a restart needed. Immediately after the download, the application runs a quick scan examining high risk areas of the file system. Once this is complete, the user can configure the application to their requirements.

To evaluate the software, I left most settings at the default values, with one notable exception: in the Advanced Settings menu, the box “scan removable drives” was selected. The default setting is off.

Microsoft Security Essentials No-Frills

Security Essentials is a no-frills, basic application. No “Internet Security, Parental Controls etc – none of the bloatware that most commercial apps would have you use. This to me is a big plus – well done Microsoft for keeping it simple. I have no use for bloatware apps, all they do is add system overhead.

First Impressions about MSE

Microsoft Security Essentials has been running for less than a day at the time of writing, so I can only offer my first impressions:

  • No noticeable drop in system performance – a very good sign
  • Very small (if any) noticeable change in internet page load speed – another good sign
  • Background memory use (not during active scan)
    • process file msseces.exe) 14KB
    • process file msmpeng.exe) 45KB
  • Ability to set CPU useage during active scan – I really like this feature and wish more applications had this instead of the more common 2 or 3 pre-set options provided. Default setting is 50% – if that slows down your system, reduce it.

System Profiles: Gigabyte Intel Z68 chipset motherboard with SATA 2 Drives and dual OS (Win XP Pro SP3 – Core i5 3.2GHz with 3.4GB RAM seen by system. Win7 Enterprise – Core i5 3.2GHz with 16GB RAM.)

Download MSE

As always, I recommend downloading Microsoft Security Essentials from the official source – – the link to the website is below. There is no need to sign-up or subscribe to anything: The only requirement is a validated (legal) installation of Windows – and we all use legitimate software don’t we?

me on google plus+Mike Otgaar


About Mike

Web Developer and Techno-geek Saltwater fishing nut Blogger

Posted on March 24, 2012, in Internet Security, Malware, Software and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. I use Microsoft Security Essentials, and my Windows 7 computer is running fine!

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