Microsoft Security Essentials For Windows 7/8/10
Microsoft has released Microsoft Security Essentials – one of the best antivirus programs for Windows 7. Read more to find out where to download MS Security Essentials application, how to install this antivirus for the reliable search of viruses and badware and how to update virus definitions.
As to the three most popular desktop operating systems, only Windows users need an effective antivirus of high quality. Viruses tend to upgrade year by year, therefore you ideally cannot neglect some antivirus software regardless of whether we want it or not.
Microsoft has released their own antivirus under the brand Microsoft Security Essentials which is compatible with Windows 7 and Windows Vista operating systems. It has to be said that this is not the first experience for Microsoft in the field of security and antivirus software development. Before that, there were rumors that the company hired third-party developers of antivirus software in Microsoft alongside with the development of Windows OS. Windows Defender provides small protection level, which is installed by default on Windows Vista/7 to protect the computer from viruses and other malicious modules. Unfortunately, Windows Defender is only capable of finding spyware, it does not protect from rootkits, Trojans or other types of viruses. Therefore many Windows users consider this antivirus customization useless and consuming system resource and switch it off.
Getting started with Microsoft Security Essentials:
What does the Microsoft Security Essentials antivirus from Windows represent, how much is it different from the competitors like Kaspersky, NOD and others? As a first step, we should report on the installation of Microsoft Security Essentials, and then we will turn to major characteristics of badware to provide an idea about software for virus search. After you have read this review you will be able to leave your feedback on this Microsoft antivirus, feel very welcome.
System requirements for Microsoft Security Essentials:
Genuine version of OS
Operating system: Windows XP SP2/3 х86, or Windows Vista, Windows 7 ?86/x64
CPU: 500 MHz >
Memory: 256 MB RAM>
For Windows 7 and 8, 10>
CPU: 1.0 GHz or newer>
Memory: 1 GB RAM
Disk space: 140MB
Windows Internet Explorer 6 >
Mozilla Firefox 2.0 >
It is important to note that under “genuine” we mean the licensed copy of OS. This requirement will enable easy installation of the antivirus. Otherwise, the installation process will be aborted.
How to download and install Microsoft Security Essentials:
You can download this antivirus from Microsoft for free on the page of in “Microsoft Security Essentials in the “Security and utility software” section. Though until recently you only could download Microsoft Security Essentials from the official webpage, nowadays when you enter the webpage it says that the antivirus is «Not available in your country or region». The way out is to find installation software for Microsoft Security using search engines or on any respected software portal (www.softpedia.com, etc.). By the way, the problem was eliminated, and you can freely download the necessary package from the antivirus webpage.
You need to download the MS Security Essentials distributive supposed for your version of Microsoft, otherwise you will face difficulties during installation again. There are versions for Windows XP and Windows Vista (which is also compatible with Windows 7), for 32-bit и 64-bit Windows systems. Users of Windows 8 и 10 do not need to install the antivirus because there is the System Defender included in the package – a more reliable and convenient tool for virus search than Security Essentials.
After you have downloaded and installed Microsoft Security Essentials you need to provide Internet access so that the badware can update the signature base of known viruses. If virus definitions were not updated for a long period of time (which is the case after the program installation), the Update button in the antivirus window turns red. To update, press the button. The update process of MS Security Essentials through Windows Update usually takes nearly 10 minutes (if the speed is 30kb/sec). You can update the antivirus signature bases on a daily basis, and besides, cumulative updates are available (no link due to long name).
Scanning launch MS Security Essentials:
You can see that in the tray there appears a sign in the shape of green little house. It is informing that real-time protection of your computer is switched on. After the update quick scan of your computer switches on automatically. There are three scanning modes:
Quick scan: more vulnerable objects are scanned which are frequently exposed to virus attacks: the registry, RAM, various system files.
Full scan: complete scanning of all areas and all hard drive partitions.
Custom scan: scanning and virus search in the chosen parts of the system and disk.
Besides, scanning in MS Security Essentials can be launched from the shortcut menu where the antivirus is registered. In our case, this option was available in Windows 7.
The first scanning helped locate roughly 20 dangerous objects. Actually, it does not necessarily mean that the antivirus found 20 viruses. Potentially dangerous objects are also deleted if they cannot be immediately defined as “good” or “bad”. For your information, “cracks” of all kinds, keygens and other “remedies” are referred to as potentially dangerous. You cannot tell if there are viruses in these programs. But if you do not need them, you better get rid of these objects.
Unlike the paranoid security system Windows Vista, Microsoft Security Essentials for Windows 7 does not draw users away from work too often. When the threat appears, there pops up a window with the strong request of deleting a virus. According to our observations, deleting of a virus sometimes takes relatively much time – nearly half a minute. Nevertheless, it is better to watch the virus disappear than to cope with dire consequences.
Microsoft Security Essentials settings and interface:
Before we turn to options we should say a couple of words about the interface. It is made in the pretty familiar and austere form with small remainders of… Kaspersky Antivirus for Windows (though they are not completely alike). There is an eye-pleasing color scheme of blue and green colors a la Windows 7, though you cannot tell it is alike Ribbon of MS Office, which is good.
Instead of, say, classic “Quarantine” tab there is “History” tab where you can find out about the viruses deleted by Security Essentials. Here in the information box there is also information on the deleted virus. You can restore a file from quarantine mode. But this action is only applicable to relatively benign viruses.
All settings are carried out to the final tab which is sensible: Microsoft Security Essentials is not the kind of software which always needs settings. “Set and forget”. Let’s turn to settings themselves.
Default Actions section: antivirus actions settings with different protection levels. You can set up Microsoft Security Essentials weekly scanning here or scanning on certain days. Two other settings are available: latest virus updates installation before scanning and scanning during standby mode.
Sheduled Scans section: planned scanning. Actions setup with different security levels. There are 2 possible actions: delete or place the virus in the antivirus quarantine.
Real-time protection section: antivirus detection and tracking of viruses and potential threats in real-time mode.
Excluded files & locations section. Ideally, exceptions of certain files and folders may speed up the search for viruses, but they make the computer more vulnerable for viruses. You need to be cautious with options of this section.
Excluded file types and Excluded processes sections. Excluded file types: from Security Essentials search you can only exclude files those files which do not need protection. You also need to be cautious here. Excluded processes: the same with processes.
Advanced section: advanced settings. There are options which activate scanning of archive files and scanning of removable devices. Create a system restore point is the backup before each computer scanning. Another option is “Allow all users to view thу full History results”.
Microsoft SpyNet Tab: «community on prevention of spyware distribution using Internet communities » (www.microsoft.com). To koin or not to join this community is the business of a single Security Essentials user. In our opinion, most users would neglect this option due to its mystery and uselessness.
Response speed and operation speed of MS Security Essentials antivirus:
Microsoft Security Essentials is well optimized — it does not consume much hard drive space even in the active mode of virus search on Windows 7. During system load or in case of little RAM the antivirus will be working slower. The program is modest in terms of processor resources. After an installation of Microsoft Security Essentials we did not see any efficiency loss with the start of OS and during data scanning.
The antivirus is located in RAM in the form of 2 processes: msseces.exe и msmpeng.exe. The first one is a graphic program shell which is only consuming 2-5MB. Msmpeng is the software core of the antivirus and is consuming several dozens of megabytes. According to our observations, during scanning it consumes less than 50MB.
Even if there were larger numbers, the overall result is optimistic for an antivirus like MS security essentials. As for scanning speed it has to be said that Microsoft Security Essentials demonstrates average results compared to other popular antivirus programs.
Security and effectiveness of Security Essentials:
Real-time scanning does not mean that you will be protected from all viruses. Unlike Kaspersky, Eset NOD32 and other antiviruses, the vulnerability of Microsoft Security Essentials is that it does not support heuristic analysis of viruses. What does it mean simpler speaking? Let’s quote Wikipedia:
«Heuristic analysis is capable of detecting many previously unknown viruses and new variants of current viruses. However, heuristic analysis operates on the basis of experience (by comparing the suspicious file to the code and functions of known viruses). This means it is likely to miss new viruses that contain previously unknown methods of operation not found in any known viruses. Hence, the effectiveness is fairly low regarding accuracy and the number of false positives. As new viruses are discovered by human researchers, information about them is added to the heuristic analysis engine, thereby providing the engine the means to detect new viruses» (Wikipedia).
Viruses do not necessarily have to be in the base. Modified viruses appear daily and you cannot track them quickly. Some antivirus programs can detect viruses by their actions, but such programs as Microsoft Security Essentials cannot. Despite that most viruses are signature ones, there is a threat of catching a modified virus specially coded for Microsoft Security Essentials. It is entirely possible!
As for tests, according the results by independent laboratory at AV-Test.org, from half a million of badware Microsoft Security Essentials has detected 98%, which is convincing. Total grade — «very good». Missed 2%, we suppose, are due to the absence of heuristic module.
You may search for optimum antivirus for years. Everytime the added complication is that you have to buy the license key and you do not want to change the purchased package for something else. Many users cannot be bothered to buy license key and use free antivirus programs. Microsoft Security Essentials is the perfect choice! The major benefit is that it is free. You do not have to pay for license, installation and keys of all kinds.
On the whole, the simplicity of Microsoft Security Essentials is gladdening. You can set it up for automatic updates on Windows 7 and older versions of Microsoft OS. And if you select the protection level beforehand, no more interference is needed.
There are no particular admonitions regarding the operation process of the antivirus, many users left positive feedback. The only negative peculiarity that was noticed is spontaneous appearance of the menu with Open command in different parts of the screen. The cause of this is unknown. It is frequently happening when a program is called up from notification area. Other drawbacks can be counted on fingers of one hand.
Top 10 Free Antivirus 2016:
In order to choose the correct antivirus program you need not only to follow subjective preferences, but also to take the software operating speed into account along with its reliability and productivity. For that purpose you need to have a look at tests of 10 low cost programs. The tests have been carried out to determine the antivirus working speed, its reliability, the resources consumed and the errors (if any).
|№||Free Antivirus 2016||Reliability||Resources||Speed||Errors||Interface||Total|
|1||Panda Cloud Antivirus||93||99||93||92||94||94.2|
|2||AVG AntiVirus Free||92||94||95||93||92||93.2|
|3||Avast Free Antivirus||90||92||95||94||94||93.0|
|4||360 Total Security||98||90||95||84||96||93.6|
|6||Bitdefender Free Edition||96||92||90||94||85||91.4|
|7||Zillya! Antivirus Free||88||93||94||87||94||91.2|
|8||Avira Free Antivirus||88||88||92||88||90||89.2|
|9||Microsoft Security Essentials||88||95||91||80||92||89.2|
For the test we used a PC with the 64-bit operating system. The file with viruses is uploaded. During the reliability test the best results were provided by antivirus programs working on Bitdefender. It is considered the most effective and powerful.
High virus search rate was provided by 360 Total Security. The Chinese antivirus detected and neutralized all malicious objects and only left minor prints of their activity, namely, corrupted files. The effectiveness of this software can be explained by 5 engines in the core. Aside from Bitdefender there are Avira, System Repair, QVM II, and 360 Cloud.
Bitdefender Free Edition, Ad-Aware Free Antivirus, AVG AntiVirus Free and Panda Cloud Antivirus showed good results. They neutralized 13 viruses out of 15. The remaining programs from the list detected less than 10 malicious objects.
System resource consumption:
The doubtless leader in this group is Panda Cloud Antivirus. The program sent all suspicious files to the cloud storage for checking and with that consumed minimum system resource.
Checks by AVG and Microsoft Security Essentials did not impact the activity of other programs.
PC scanning speed:
Scanning speed indexes are low in Comodo, Ad-Aware Free, and Bitdefender Free Edition. The time frame of a booted PC starts from 30 minutes.
Response speed indexes are great in Avast, AVG, and 360 Total Security. The last two successfully temper high scanning speed and check accuracy.
Scanning errors are typical for 360 Total Security, Comodo, and Microsoft Security Essentials. This antivirus programs marked counterfeit software as malicious. The same happened in case of Avast, Ad-Aware and Bitdefender.
The most intuitive is an interface of 360 Total Security. Avast, Zillya and Panda also have clear and simple interface. Other programs have many complicated and rarely used functions.
Despite that Panda, Avast and AVG got the most points, other antivirus programs are also good. Therefore, according to your speed, reliability and convenience preferences, you can choose the free software.