I must admit that I am a big fan of Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE). Since Microsoft has the most popular consumer operating system in the world, why don’t they take up the responsibility in releasing a security program for their users for free? Of course, I am aware that Microsoft has previously released a few – less noticeable security programs, like Windows Defender (pre-installed in Windows Vista/7 and will be disabled if the user installs MSE) and Windows Live OneCare (which was a paid subscription and discontinued), but most Windows users still prefer to use some free security software offered by third parties (and most of them are ad-supported), due to various reasons. Don’t be surprised that some of new PC users aren’t aware of the importance of a security product for Windows, and some don’t have security software installed (and they aren’t aware that they are exposed to the various threats during browsing), so it is pretty important (and I think it’s quite fundamental) for Microsoft to have a competitive in-house security program for all Windows users, for free of course, and the answer is Microsoft Security Essentials.
Indeed, I have to say that MSE isn’t the best compared to the entire security program market (and you might already know that), but it is pretty good, with the price tag of nil, in my opinion (evidence here, check report for year 2010). And one year after the initial release, there are already 31 million installations, with 27 million of those computers reporting infections to the Microsoft Malware Protection Center (MMPC); isn’t that a big user base?
Now Microsoft has learned that all Windows (XP and newer releases) users should have basic protection from viruses, malware, trojans etc.; thus, they have the installation of MSE appear in Windows Update as an optional update (you can just ignore it if you don’t want it) for genuine Windows users (KB2267621), which I think it is quite a good move by Microsoft. And no, I am not talking about Windows Live Essentials 2011, or the MSE definitions updates, but it is the MSE program itself. Though some of the internet users claimed that they did not have such optional update in their Windows Update, I think it will slowly roll out to all Windows users. And in my personal view, it will be better if this program is pre-installed on Windows upon installation. It might cause another E version of future Windows releases, but at least it can play a role in providing the new user with basic protection from various online threats.
So if your friends or relatives (or even you boss) ask you about security software in their new PCs, and you are having a hard time explaining to them about how to get decent, free security software, ask them to check Windows Update–MSE is waiting for them.
As a side note, do only download MSE from their official site or via Windows Update that I have mentioned above; other sources might give you more headache for your computer as a new fake Microsoft Security Essentials or a fake Security Essential 2010 are on the loose.
P.S. Please be aware that Microsoft Security Essentials is licensed for use on home PCs and by small businesses with 10 or fewer PCs only.