Friday, 24 December 2010 15:13

Microsoft Security Essentials 2.0 hits the streets in time for Christmas 2010 - UPDATED

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Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) version 2.0 was released without fanfare on 16 December, making an already very well-regarded security suite into quite a formidable opponent for the other free security suites and especially for the paid ones.

MSE 2.0 is free (but available only to 'genuine Windows' users), and is available in 32-bit or 64-bit flavors either directly from the Microsoft Download Center or via the MSE home page.

I've used many of the main vendor's' security products over the years, more recently trying AVG and Avast! suites, both retail and free versions, some with more stability/upgrade troubles than others.

After carefully following comparative tests and reviews by people I respect (such as this and the Wikipedia entry) I decided several months ago to give MSE a try, and haven't looked back since.

I found the previous MSE version to be simple to install, and painless to keep up to date due to its tight integrationmicrosoft_security_essentials_2.0 with the built-in Windows Update procedures (with daily or on-demand updates). It interacts seamlessly with the Windows Firewall and other Windows components.

It raised a warning every month or two that was easy to understand and respond to. I think several of the warnings were false positives (I've got heaps of developer tools on my machine, and it's no wonder that the odd executable or two in that lot would appear to MSE to be highly suspect).

There were also one or two warnings that proved to ne real malware - no matter how careful you are, sooner or later some nastie or other is bound to make its way to your system - which MSE appropriately quarantined and subsequently deleted.

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New features in MSE 2.0 such as better heuristic-driven antimalware detection, tighter integration with Windows Firewall.

I 'm quite fussy about software that I rely on, but don't hesitate in recommending MSE 2.0 to you. I reckon you'll like it a lot.

Pretty well done, Microsoft! A nice Christmas present for us all.

But I certainly won't be heaping such glowing praise on other aspects of Windows nor on various other Microsoft desktop products. I'm having a love/hate relationship with them, Windows 7 included.

It's strange that one one hand Microsoft have come out with some really excellent software (like Visual Studio 2010, and Windows Live Writer which I use to prepare iTWire articles and my own blogs), while others are rather ordinary in one way or another (such the very limited configurability of the user interface of Internet Explorer versions 7, 8 and 9).

So I'll say more about this in coming iTWire articles.

UPDATE: I forgot to add above that you should not rely on a single anti-malware tool like MSE, but install several differernt ones that will each do things a bit differently and cover gaps left by the other tools.

For example, as well as MSE (and other security suites before that) I run Spybot-Search & Destroy as well as Bill Pytlovany's WinPatrol Plus (the paid version that has extra features).

Every fortnight or so I also update and run the Microsoft Malicious Software Removal Tool and maybe do a full on-demand scan using MSE.

Remaining secure is a hard slog, but you owe it to yourself -- and everybody that you interact with, so that you don't pass on any infections -- to be consistent and persistent.

 

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Tony Austin

Worked at IBM from 1970, for a quarter century, then founded Asia/Pacific Computer Services to provide IT consulting and software development services (closed company at end of 2013). These says am still involved with IT as an observer and commentator, as well as attempting to understand cosmology, quantum mechanics and whatever else will keep my mind active and fend off deterioration of my grey matter.

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