Microsoft Security Essentials

An easy-to-use Windows anti-virus and security software with quick, full and customizable scan options

  • Category:


  • Version:

  • Works under:

    Windows Vista / Windows 8 / Windows 7

  • Program available in:In English
  • Program license:Free
  • Vote:
    7.3 (932)
Microsoft Security Essentials
Microsoft Security Essentials 4.4.304.0

Microsoft Security Essentials is a piece of security software from Microsoft that is meant to cover their systems with minimal protection out of the box. Windows has classically included a number of apps that could easily be called superfluous to the safety and well-being of the system. These apps, like the integrated media player and Internet Explorer, are certainly useful, but it seems strange that it took Microsoft so long to release their version of a basic security package.

Before the final version of this app was released, it was in beta stage for several months. Unfortunately, the final release doesn't seem to have any significant changes or improvements over the beta, but that could be seen as a good thing.

The interface for this piece of software uses a tabbed window with four primary tabs. These tabs allow the user to monitor the current security status of the system, update definitions for harmful code, browse detected threats, and alter the settings.

There are three main scan varieties in Microsoft Security Essentials. These are custom, full, and quick, and they can scan the system even when it's not being used. Scans can be set to occur at certain intervals. You can manually update the database of threat definitions, but the software automatically does that for you on a regular basis. The software includes a tool for restoring the system to a previous point in the event of some sort of system failure.

While this app might be the first of its kind from Microsoft, it's perfectly suitable for home use even by novice users. The app is ideally optimized for beginners, and it's simple enough that those with any digital security experience will be able to easily handle its functions. In fact, the system is so basic that it isn't suitable for large networks or anything beyond a simple home computer. The software hits every checkmark that a basic user would need. One setback is that the app only deletes suspected infected files. It can't disinfect them to salvage the data.

Home computer security is no laughing matter, but many people tend to forgo it altogether. They might do this because it seems too complicated, or they assume nothing could ever happen to them. The sad truth is that anyone could be vulnerable for very innocuous reasons, and leaving yourself unprotected is simply irresponsible. Microsoft Security Essentials might not have the advanced functions and options that premium network-grade security packages have, but it offers an excellent stepping stone to dealing with the more complex systems that provide comprehensive coverage.

This app is highly recommended for those who have no security software installed on their Windows system. It doesn't take much toll on your system, the installation is fast, and it updates in the background.


  • Simple Installation
  • Multiple Scanning Options
  • Resource-Light
  • Updates Automatically


  • Can't Clean Files
  • No Integrated Firewall
  • Very Basic

Microsoft Security Essentials is a lightweight and unobtrusive security package design to provide an anti-malware protection package capable of protecting computers that are using XP, Vista and Windows 7. The package is not currently available for Windows 8, primarily because Windows 8 comes with a version of Windows Defender that has been adequately enhanced for optimum protection.

According to Microsoft, the program is designed to provide significant and comprehensive defense against routine malware and code attacks. This proclamation comes at the heels of some assertions that the program only provides first tier defense and is not significant for adequate protection.

It is worth mentioning that any free anti-virus or anti-malware program will not be completely comprehensive because that would leave the manufacturer with nowhere to go with a pro version of the program. As long as Microsoft Security Essentials is compared to the performance of paid programs, it will fall considerably short. Users must be able to determine the types of risks that they will be exposing their system to and act accordingly.

When you consider the fact that many browsers have built in protection, there are situations in which Microsoft Security Essentials will be an adequate security system.

Light Weight and Non-Intrusive

In testing the system, the one that is certain is that this is the most lightweight and non-intrusive security program created thus far. At no time during the process of testing this program did it slow the system down or give any other indication that it was running in the background. For the light user, this is a plus. It provides the appropriate amount of protection without interfering with the performance of the system.

The only indication that this program is running is that the definitions it produces will sometimes appear in the list of available software updates, which is not a bad thing.

Easy to Use Interface

One of the major concerns with many new software programs is the ease of use element. There is not too much more frustrating for a computer user than to download software and open it only to find out that they need a degree in rocket science to operate it. There is no such issue associated with this program.

If I had to single out one specific element that makes this program to stand out, it would be the user interface. The simple tab-based interface is highly intuitive, allowing the user to engage its lightweight features with ease and efficiency. The tabs allow you to control scans and updates. For slightly more elaborate options, the user can access the settings tabs. For users who are looking for a feature-rich program, they will be disappointed.

The program does lack the more advanced options such as file shredders and a registry scanner.

What many novice users will probably appreciate about the program is the fact that the program has some sensible default settings, making it ideal for plug and play purposes.


  • Lightweight and unobtrusive
  • Intuitive and easy to use interface
  • Light load on system
  • Does not interfere with performance for the most part
  • Good freeware program
  • Pre-configured with some sensible default settings, making it easy for novice users to operate.


  • Light on features, leaving a little to be desired
  • No true advanced options

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