What is the difference between these three products?
- Malicious Software Removal Tool
- Windows Defender
- Microsoft Security Essentials
I could google them for you but I'll try to answer from memory.
The short version is you need only consider getting and installing the latter tool (Security Essentials).
The three products are all free from Microsoft under the Windows Genuine Advantage distribution method which first verifies that your license to Windows is valid. They all remove some level of bad software aka malware.
Malicious Software Removal Tool
This is sent out with Windows Updates approximately monthly. It scans for only the most likely current threats out now, and therefore only a small set of threats (say <20) which affect mostly networks of Windows machines. EG blaster at one point. In theory you do not need to think about getting this tool onto your machine unless you're not on a network, in which case you should put the latest version on a usb stick or something.
Formerly another company's product, it has a lovely name and only handles spyware. It runs a process called
Microsoft Security Essentials
The One Care subscription gave way to this security tool which is provided free under the genuine advantage idea. It provides the same anti-spyware protection as Windows Defender and adds anti-virus protection, I'm unclear on it's trojan and root-kit detection ability. A statement at onecare.live.com says:
You'll find that this tool also runs
For me personally this software doesn't perform as well as I'd like it to. It doesn't always show up in the taskbar, or start it's gui, even if I ask it to; particularly when it's using 50% or more of my cpu. Some times it logs an error about not being able to submit a sample. It likes to block some of my steam games from running, claiming they need to be submitted for analysis as they're likely threats (they get updated a lot, I see a small bit of logic there). I put in exclusions for each exe I found under my steam folder, but it doesn't support excluding a whole directory it seems. It says it does, but it doesn't work as well as explicitly listing the