1. Is Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) adequate protection for my computer?

  2. What is the experience with this product?

I found out about a comparison of AV Suites. MSE did VERY well.

One that I found interesting was "Raven", who mentioned that AV software has to hook deeply into the OS, and who better to design this than the designer of the OS.

My personal experience is that I like it, but I also use Malwarebytes and SUPERAntiSpyware. Each of them sometimes come up with one the others missed or ignored.

  • Bear in mind that security is an extremely difficult thing for the non professional to judge, so I'd consider the second question more valuable. Sep 29, 2009 at 16:52
  • @alex, It was meant as a joke :\
    – Phoshi
    Sep 29, 2009 at 17:14
  • @Phoshi sorry, I didn't mean to sound that harsh. I should relax a bit :)
    – alex
    Sep 29, 2009 at 20:33
  • Judging by: av-comparatives.org/images/stories/test/ondret/… they seem to have slipped a bit over the past 9 months. (Which is a shame as I use it too)
    – Joe Taylor
    Nov 29, 2010 at 13:32
  • I don't think anything can beat Kaspersky Internet Security. It's virus base is the widest (~10M viruses) and Avast+MSE+etc base can't rich him. Maybe Symantec Internet Security can reach, but I don't think so
    – Searush
    Nov 5, 2012 at 19:37

14 Answers 14


I've been using Microsoft Security Essentials for a while now, both in 32-bit and 64-bit flavors, and it works extremely well. I've previously used Avast!, and would choose Microsoft over Avast.

It detected a threat the other day when I was getting the address to block the Antivirus 2009 website, so I know it's working. Otherwise, it's quiet, does it's job, and doesn't slow my computer down in the least bit.

My favorite bit is the amount of information Microsoft provides when it detects a threat. When it picked up the Antivirus 2009 (aka Trojan:Win32/FakeXPA), it provided this huge page filled with information, including screenshots!

Personally, I highly recommend it.

  • I've got two PC's that I get to support as the family technician running Avast! that I was considering replacing. Glad to see a good recommendation. Sep 29, 2009 at 20:48
  • the link only shows: An error occurred when processing this request. :(
    – default
    Aug 27, 2010 at 9:07
  • @Michael - looks like Microsoft changed the way their Malware Encyclopedia. I've updated the link to the proper location. Aug 28, 2010 at 2:12
  • Actually, Symantec has something similar to this too.
    – JFW
    Nov 26, 2010 at 2:59

It's as effective as any other anti-virus product. Which is to say, not very. On the plus side, it's not in your face all the time like some of the others.

No packaged product is ‘adequate’ protection for a PC, really; today's anti-malware products will not protect you from the mass of ever-evolving malware out there today. It's much more about ensuring your net-facing software is up-to-date, reducing attack surface by removing net-facing software (like plugins) that you don't need, and not falling for social engineering attacks (like the fake codecs and scanners).

  • This is a very interesting answer. Can you say more and be more specific? Thanks
    – Xavierjazz
    Sep 29, 2009 at 17:32
  • 3
    There's not much to say really: I study browser security hole exploits on the web, which are probably the largest source of infection at the moment. When I submit their payloads to AV testing services such as virustotal I typically get very low detection rates. You may once have been able to rely on anti-virus software to keep your PC clean, but that was a long time ago; today the virus writers are way ahead of them.
    – bobince
    Sep 30, 2009 at 11:38
  • 2
    I agree with bobince, the vast majority of issues I repair on my clients' computers tend to never have been detected by their installed software, and could potentially have been avoided if the user had been a little more educated on what sorts of messages/windows/popups are real versus phishing.
    – JYelton
    Oct 29, 2010 at 22:38
  • This is all still very true today in 2013. I have seen zero day threats cut right through expensive corporate firewalls and corporate anti-virus solutions. A few months back, I had to clean up some zero-day malware that had slipped through a corporate firewall and corporate antivirus solution (McAfee). Only took me 45 minutes with Malwarebytes (free) to thoroughly clean up. Ironic that a free program ultimately had to clean up the mess. Also, MSE is fantastic- and so lightweight. Don't underestimate the problems bloated AV software can cause- including AV plugins (in Outlook etc.!!) Mar 14, 2013 at 6:43

Only time will tell - but from my first impressions and testing recently, I LOVE IT!

I installed Microsoft Security Essentials Beta and it worked brilliantly a while ago, very low memory footprint, small size e.t.c.... I have become less impressed with Nod32 recently (they are going down the Symantec trap - money in advertising and not product development), Anyway, I thought it was fast and did the job.

However, I upgraded my pc a few months ago and I have not been using any AV (I have Windows 7, UAC on maxmium, and I never install programs that I do not know / used in the past), and generally been very happy. However, If you must have an AV solution, I would seriously consider this if you do not need central management / enterprise AV.


Anti-virus/malware software has to have a pretty intimate relationship with the operating system in order to function effectively. Who better to create that relationship than the creators of the OS? And, it's free to boot. I would think that, if you're going to use AV software, this is the one to go with.

  • 1
    I no longer see a reason to use any other free anti-virus and very little reason to use a paid anti-virus at home or in a small office. McAffee, Norton and other companies must be bummed. I always felt that antivirus should be part of the OS and glad MS stepped up.
    – webdtc
    Oct 9, 2009 at 21:15
  • Very true. I hope they continue to support MSE for a very long time. Mar 14, 2013 at 6:48

I like to take advice from security experts, one such security expert is Steve Gibson who's proven to be a reliable source of security information through a long standing security based podcast Security Now and his career as a software developer for his own company GRC.

Being a listener of the podcast Steve has often recommended Microsoft Security Essential as a good anti-virus solution and uses it himself.

A quick bing search of the Security Now podcast transcripts lists several episodes of Steve discussing Microsoft Security Essentials and recommending its use.


Since I tested the pre-beta build, it is quite difficult to draw the final verdict. But one thing that held out is it’s ease-of-use and small memory footprint. The overall size of the software installer is only 4.8MB and takes around 6.6MB + 36MB(runs two different processes) when running on my system. Which is quite impressive if you look at the fact that it detected and removed a Trojan downloader that NOD32 even failed to detect in the first place.


It's meant to be a successor to OneCare, which surprisingly provided pretty adequate protection. I'm running it now on Windows 7 and although I cannot attest to it's security, I've been very happy with the UI and the footprint. It's incredibly unobtrusive (adds nothing to the desktop other than a taskbar icon) and actually has a large number of options to configure. I'm exceptionally happy with it.


AV-Comparatives gives it an Advanced+ score, which is their highest rating. Security Essentials uses the same AV engine as Microsoft's Forefront business AV offering. I went with MSE for all my home machines.


I switched from Norton (5 licenses) to MSE for a couple of reasons.

First, Norton was slowing down the system and consuming huge amounts of memory. Not so much a problem on Win7 but on my older XP systems with limited CPU and RAM it's a killer.

Second, Norton charged my credit card for a subscription update without me initiating the transaction. They called it "enhanced customer service", I called it "you just lost a customer". Used to be when a subscription ran out they nagged repeatedly and pushed you to their website where you had to acknowledge that you wanted to buy another year's sub. Now the default is "we charge you automatically". You can opt out - if you know about it.

These days I use Ubuntu about 90% of the time but for the 10% that's spent on Windows 7 MSE seems to be working (no hits yet so hard to verify that) and the resource use is much less intrusive (so far). I still have Norton on one system (the one I paid for automatically) but when that runs out - I'd done with Norton.

I've used some other AVs, best left un-named, but their sig update process was so unstable I had to ditch them.

  • "They called it "enhanced customer service", I called it "you just lost a customer"." hahahahaha Mar 14, 2013 at 6:49

Yes I agree with all these comments. Its doing pretty fine on my system as well. The best part is it does not consume resources on your system. Go with it. Moreover its a product of MS so it could not be underestimated. I am still testing it I hope it would come 100 % true on my expectation. Thanks


It seems to be getting pretty good comments at DownloadSquad.com. I'm going to give it a go.


I've been using it, but I'm not convinced that it's as good as some other free solutions. Previously, AntiVir would pop up warnings about things like the password dumper in OphCrack, Backtrack, Metasploit, and a few other security tools I have, whereas MSE doesn't seem to care. Granted, I consider them a "false positive", but I think it should still be detecting these sorts of things..

  • I guess I think that its better if it is able to detect the difference betweem "false" and "true" positives. Less to worry about. Thanks
    – Xavierjazz
    Sep 29, 2009 at 16:33
  • Different security systems will detect different things. That's the way it goes. Sep 29, 2009 at 16:52

It is very wonderful antivirus software i have used since many years. Its is fast, protective against not only virus but also against spyware, trojan etc.


Is Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) adequate protection for my computer?

It doesn’t always remove viruses; MSE gives you the option of quarantining a suspected file or removing it based on high, medium and low security threats. It’s up to you.

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