Total Protection with Microsoft Security Essentials

Finding a pain-free antivirus client is something most only dream of: most of the time, it almost always involves trying out countless different applications one after the other, paying for something you don’t want to pay for, or downloading software only to find out that it hogs system resources and slows your entire system down to a unbearable crawl.

Well, look no longer; Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) is an answer to your problems. It’s the best virus protection out there. Why? Let’s find out.

The User Interface

Main MSE Interface

Main MSE Interface

Even on first sight, MSE has a pleasant clean and usable interface: there’s no clutter and everything you see serves a purpose. The home tab immediately shows whether your computer is safe or at risk. See the green in the background and the big checkmark? That means everything’s normal and secure. From this screen, you can quickly start a quick, full or custom scan, and view how often MSE will automatically scan your system. There’s upper right help button links to all kinds of information that’ll help you understand how MSE works and aid you if you ever come across any problems.

Automatic Updates

The Update Tab

The Update Tab

MSE automatically updates itself whenever needed, but if you want to update manually you can go to this tab. Since MSE continually improves its antimalware engine and signatures, it’s always ready to battle any virus that comes up. Even if there’s a new trojan or hostile malware that has never been seen before, MSE will be able to handle it with ease, and without you doing anything. You can check to see the last time the definitions were updated, and also see the version numbers of virus and spyware definitions for troubleshooting means.

History

History

History

If you do ever get a virus and MSE catches and neutralizes it, it’ll show up right here. You can then decide for yourself if it’s definitely a virus and destroy it, or decide that it wasn’t really a virus and release it so it can function again as had before. You can sort all items so it only shows what was quarantined, or so it only shows what you allow to run. Amazingly, in all the time I’ve used MSE, I’ve never encountered false positives; each and every time MSE detects a virus, it really is one. How’s that for accurate and deadly protection?

The Settings

The Settings Tab

The Settings Tab

Microsoft Security Essentials has some pretty extensive options that are all accessible on the settings tab; you can:

  • Change how often and when MSE automatically scans your system, and what kind of scan it runs – You can even make it so it only runs the scan when you’re not using your system or when your CPU usage is under a certain percentage.
  • Modify the default action when a virus is found. Should MSE immediately remove it? Or quarantine it so you can check it out? Or let MSE decide on its own?
  • Tweak real-time protection. More on this later.
  • Exclude certain file types, files, folders, and processes from scanning. Sometimes there are applications that are seen as malicious that really aren’t, and if you know that then you can add them here and they’ll never bother you again.
  • Decide whether you want to have an advanced or basic membership to Microsoft Spynet. Spynet is a system created specifically to stop new, unique viruses from spreading and causing damage. If a unknown malicious virus is detected, MSE will send information about  it to Microsoft so that it can be properly diagnosed and stopped. Of course, if you’d rather not be a part of Spynet, you can easily remove yourself from any membership.

Real Time Protection

Here it is: my favorite feature of Microsoft Security essentials. MSE has a powerful real-time protection feature that means it can protect your system even before you scan your system. If any malicious software attempts to install, MSE will stop it then and there. It will also prevent suspicious files from opening. This feature means that your system is safe and secure all the times, no matter what you are doing and no matter whether you’re bothering to open and check MSE. And it does this in the background, never bothering you unless there’s something you need to know.

Performance

So with all these great features, you’d expect that MSE takes up a whole lot of system resources, right? Wrong. MSE is one of the most lightweight antivirus clients ever, taking up around just 4 MB of RAM total, even when it’s scanning or updating. That’s low enough that it won’t slow down any modern machine whatsoever, and even an old computer could handle that with ease! Also, a quick scan on my system using MSE takes just around 40 seconds to complete – no more waiting around while you wait for the scan to finish!

Conclusion

Microsoft Security Essential is a powerful, simple and lightweight and free antivirus client that’ll amaze you at every turn. It blows away the competition; Norton and McAfee don’t stand a chance. It’ll safeguard your system from any virus, trojan, or malicious program you can throw at it, and do it without breaking a sweat.

I can’t recommend it more, and I highly suggest you use it if you’re looking for a complete security solution. It’s good enough that I’d even advise that you look into switching to it even if you already paid for a virus protection application. You certainly won’t regret it.


Summary

Microsoft's free antivirus software provides a simple and complete solution for all your home computer security needs.

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