back to article Microsoft begins Security Essentials downloads

Microsoft has begun offering limited trial downloads of its no-added-cost anti-malware tool, targeted at consumer desktops. Beta versions of Microsoft Security Essentials (formerly codenamed Morro) will be available to 75,000 US, Israeli, and Brazilian customers running XP, Vista, or Windows 7 machines. The software will …


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  1. paul brain

    you don't need to be in brazil

    I've just downloaded and installed from Ireland , funnily enough , I couldn't register for it using Chrome...

    I expect my machine to die in 5..4.....3...........2..................

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I think you misspelled something there...

    "such as its Microsoft Software Removal Tool". The correct name should be "Malicious Software Removal Tool". Of course you could have purposefully done that...

  3. roar


    Free tools: AVG, ClamWin - they're all out there. One Care sucked hard, there's no good reason to assume Morro won't.

    Norton / McAfee cripple your machine. Hyper intrusive, CPU hungry. Forget it.

    Here's a quick whacky idea : configure two profiles: a default low privilege (non-admin) one, and an admin one (to be used for installations etc). Alternatively, observe UAC prompts with a degree of common sense, and you won't have a virus / malware issue.

  4. Toastan Buttar

    O RLY ?

    "AVG and Avast already provide limited-functionality security suites to consumers, partly as a way to build brand awareness and attract follow-on sales but also out of a more ALTRUISTIC DESIRE to improve overall internet hygiene."

    [Citation needed]

  5. adnim

    Well to be honest

    with the historical quality of Microsoft software as it is, I will continue to place my trust in third party solutions.

  6. Jerry Masterson


    "it underperforms when compared to ... solutions such as Norton AntiVirus"

    So it does less than nothing? Thats an achievement, even for Microsoft.

  7. Brian Gannon


    You could just download it from here

    Good work Microsoft.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "Microsoft Software Removal Tool"

    Isn't there supposed to be a "malicious" in there?

    "Redmond has an greater stake"

    Perhaps an even greater stake, or just a greater stake.

  9. Adam Azarchs

    "Microsoft Software Removal Tool"

    That would be a shiny new Ubuntu CD, right?

  10. Greg Trocchia
    Gates Horns

    The Deal Killer

    "A lot has change since, not least the recent acquisitions by Microsoft in the security marketplace that mean that Redmond has more expertise this time around. That doesn't mean that Microsoft Security Essentials will succeed, of course, just that lack of corporate resources will not be an issue for Microsoft Security Essentials."

    What is the issue, to me anyway, is the "validation" and attendant WGA (which I consider malware in and of itself) that is "bundled" with MSE. So long as WGA remains part of the package, I won't even be tempted to give it a try. I will just stick with Avast for my Windows anti-virus needs, it is free too and I have been happy with it.

    The silver lining here is that to the extent that MSE succeeds, it will probably do so by squeezing McAfee and Norton. Free anti-malware might be tempting to their users, whereas folks like me already have that and, did I mention, no WGA.

  11. Not Terry Wogan
    Thumb Up

    Norton, McAfee et al are doomed...

    ... and they know it. Good riddance.

    Their consumer-level products are doomed, anyway - I'd give them five years, maximum.

    I'm sure that Security Essentials will prove to be perfectly adequate* for most home users and small businesses, and that's all that matters. Plus the price is right, and the beta at least seems unobtrusive and resource efficient.

    So what if it has a dreary name and can't compete with more comprehensive enterprise security software? That's not the market Security Essentials is aimed at. As for the other functionality in consumer-level antivirus suites, Symantec and pals are going to discover (as if they didn't know already) that consumers don't understand it and couldn't give a shit about it.

    All Microsoft need to do now is build up user awareness. After that it's just a matter of subtly inching it into the default installation of Windows like they did with basic PDF support in Office 2007. Plus it'd be ever so lovely if they could persuade OEMs to stop including abusively intrusive trial versions of Norton and its manky brethren in new PCs.

    *: 'Adequate' insofar as any current antivirus software provides much more than a false sense of security against anything other than a fairly narrow set of predefined threats.

  12. jake Silver badge

    Sorry, Microsoft.

    Too little, decades too late. I'll stick with secure by design computing solutions wherever possible ... and when I must run Microsoft software (AutoCAD is about it these days), it'll be on air-gapped boxen ... or rarely behind a firewall that I've personally made certain is secure, and then only long enough to do whatever it is that I need a network for.

    Bite me once, your fault. Bite me twice, our fault. Bite me thrice, my fault. There is no 4th bite.

  13. Humph

    Title Required

    "Consumers need firewall protection, Web protection, antispam and identity safeguards - these are among the essentials when it comes to security, and you can only get them through a full Internet security suite provided by security experts. "

    I've been called round to look at people's machines after they've been "protected" with a paid-for McAfee or Symantec product, and nine times out of ten the punter just wants their computer working faster, not necessarily safer. All they want to be able to do is read emails from their kids and grandkids in something less than geological time. Install AVG Free and they're happy bunnies.

    So based on my admittedly small-scale empirical evidence I'd opine most home Windows users would prefer a not-so-intrusive level of protection, rather than all-out fingers-in-every-pie protection.

  14. Richard Plinston

    Its about revenue

    Given that there will be a finite total amount of money spent on IT, MS wants to increase its share of this. One way to assist that is to reduce the amounts that get spent on other companies.

    The aim seems to be to stop people sending money to Norton and AVG, then when Windows 7 hits the market with increased OEM pricing forcing the retail prices higher they will claim that the buyers get 'more value' because they get for free what they previously paid for.

    'Partners', such as Norton, get screwed by MS just as much as competitors do.

  15. Anonymous Coward

    So first we give you an insecure O/S...

    Then we "fix it" under the guise of "Free security / anit-virus SW" -- doesn't anyone smell a Wumpus here?

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    ""Consumers need firewall protection...""

    "nine times out of ten the punter just wants..."

    One of the best examples of the distinction between "need" and "want" I have seen. Beaten only by my daughter who "needs"... Well, just about everything she sees.

  17. imposter
    Thumb Down

    You can't get me

    I've got norton security, so sayeth an old internet probverb (or sarcastic 4chan meme).

    Norton and Mcaffee are a joke and hopefully most el reg user know that, they slow the system down, remove security software (I know norton has in the past identified AVG as a virus) and steal the consumers money without them knowing. They are basically rogue anti virus and only their large size stops them being classified as such. They consistantly score lower in reviews than every other suite and their cpu hunger knows no bounds. I would NEVER reccomend them to anyone. There are better security solutions out there. I use AVG free, zonealarms for the firewall and occasionally spybot and/or ad aware, though AVG tends to pick up most spyware too these days. I get the odd false positive but so far so good. Assuming the MS product improves it being in the same ballpark means it'll be a much better solution. I like my modular security and I don't like mcbuggy and norton. Considering their awful performance I would be hoping el reg would have picked up their shady natures rather than quoting them as if they're a security source to be trusted. Or at least reminded less regular readers of their recent behavior.

  18. Barry Tabrah
    Thumb Up

    No complaints here

    I see no problem with software such as this being installed as part of Windows Updates. I spend more and more time these days cleaning malware from people PCs just because they have outdated or unregistered AV software. Some protection is always better than none and I believe the introduction of the MSRT has been a step in the right direction.

  19. Miek

    AVG is limited

    I stopped recommending AVG in favour of AntiVir. Both are free, but antivir allows you to delete viruses instead of only allowing you to quarantine them.

    When Norton users register on my network they are warned that Norton is not a suitable antivirus product for our network and may leave them vulnerable to viruses an other malware.

    Mac users get viruses, I have had to clean them up, I relish telling users that their Mac is infected, particularly as most Mac users seem to think they are immune to such threats.

    The free antivirus suite being offered by Microsoft is a much needed step in defending windows machines that do not include suitable antivirus products. Unfortunately this will be an antivirus solution that is predominantly targeted by malware and virus writers.

  20. Jonathan Christie
    Paris Hilton

    Why grumble?

    The niaive will follow the company line that states they're giving it away free and pre-installed for users who dont know how to install a/v and to tackle spambots etc etc

    The cynical will claim its a ploy to take over the world.

    My 2p? Well if it cuts back on some spam/crapware then it's a success.

    /Paris because she uses virus protection

  21. Rod MacLean

    They've got to be kidding, right?

    "The software will provide protection against computer viruses, spyware, and rootkits."

    If you're lucky. Past experience of the Microsoft idea of security tells me that they couldn't keep a dribbling toddler from whacking a way in.

    I mean Windows isn't really all that secure is it? ...and isn't security something we expect from the operating system itself?

    It seems like a kick in the teeth to say "You've bought our software and yes, we know it's shit - here have something that might make it fractionally better"

  22. Anonymous Coward

    Re: Mac users get viruses...

    "Mac users get viruses, I have had to clean them up"... please explain yourself... what Mac viruses have you had to clean up then?

  23. Fractured Cell

    @AC 10:24

    Oh, I've got a mac, and whats more I've got a virus too.

    (its called swine flu...)


    Now, you have it, even if you run windows!


    *evil Laugh*

  24. John70

    Free Tools

    Why are Microsoft creating Antivirus and firewall software for Windows? Shouldn't they just fix it?

  25. The Fuzzy Wotnot

    What are these people doing?

    Before I saw sense and moved to the penguin-side, I had run Windows since the old 286 runtime days ( remeber that with the first release of Excell? ), in all that time I only caught maybe 2 viruses and maybe 1 malware infection! I used to trawl all sorts of sites, good and bad, I always had some form of AV and a copy of AdAware, but nothing else other than common sense not to just wildly click all over every page I came across!

    Half this cack would be wiped out in days if people just used some common! You would walk into the woods and stick your hand into any old hole, just to find out what's in their would you?

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns


    Is no-one seeing an antitrust issue here? Surely it's just like the browser case - bundling extra software for free at the expense of legitimate competition?

    Or perhaps it won't be installed by default on new machines, so OEMs can choose which packaged to bundle.

    Then again, antivirus really SHOULD be part of the OS, if the OS isn't secure enough by design to not need it.

    P.S. I agree with previous posters, McAfee et al are crapware. We have McAfee here at work and somehow it is using over 100MB of RAM and keeping the CPU use at 20% minimum on a dual core Thinkpad. My entire Gnome/Ubuntu desktop at home fits into 300MB, so how can one, supposedly 'silently in the background' program possibly be this instrusive? Then we have SpySweeper on top of that, which is set by group policy to do a full scan every time you log in, making the machine pretty much unusable for about the first 10 minutes - after you've already waited 5 minutes for the sodding thing to boot and download the myriad 'policy' settings. Ubuntu off a USB stick boots the same machine in less than a minute. My dad uses Avast on his XP machine, much less powerful than my thinkpad, and it causes no problems at all. Bloat doesn't do it sufficient justice.

    Oh and despite layer on layer of this stuff, we STILL all got Conficker a few weeks ago.

  27. N2 Silver badge

    @ Well to be honest


    the track record of MS in these areas is about clear as a report into MPs expenses

  28. Wes 2

    oh poop


    Thank you for your interest in joining the Microsoft® Security Essentials Beta. We are not accepting additional participants at this time. Please check back at later a date for possible additional availability.

  29. Rob 114

    Don't mind MS, but..............

    why would you want to use anything that has "Microsoft" and "Security" in it's title?

    Don't use Norton, McAfee as they are bona-fide shit and experience has told me\tells me that they are just not worth the HDD real estate, CPU resources, etc, etc, etc.........

    That said I also don't like AVG, or ZoneAlarm. In an ideal world I'd rather not even have a PC, but seeing as that would mean I'd be unemployed, I'll settle for using F-Secure, which is cheap as chips, runs nicely in the background, has a configurable interface and does exactly what it says on the virutal tin it didn't come in.

    And If I could get Linux to run properley, I'd use that instead of all of the above!

    BTW: Liking the new Icons. Mine's a pint after work................

  30. jg007

    about time

    I use ZA Security suite on two of my family pcs but it is just gotten far too bloaded and slow and for some reason crashes whenever I access amazon pages so for my Windows 7 machine I had settled for just K9 , Windows Live Family safety and AVG and so far it has worked brilliantly

    the security companies are getting worried now and they have reason too, MS released a product with holes and they should be the ones removing malware that manages to get in through them , Windows 7 firewall and UAC combined with the free products will provide all the protection that people need on their PC and when people start to realise that the market for security products will shrink heavily or vanish

    and just because i 'did' have something similar next to my pc when I started the post glug glug glug..

    I have cleaned malware from plenty of pc's with Norton , Zonealarm and Mcafee installed and unless people are using XP or earlier there seems to be no point paying the £20-40 a year for them.

    I have now installed Morro instead of AVG just to see how well it works and although the interface is very basic so far it has at least found all the eicar files and email atachments I tried and now it just remains to be seen if the sgnature database is big enough and updated often enough to find any real viruses , only problem is that my current products did not find anything in the last two years either so I might never know

    also I think the mac users will find that there has been at least one recent story on the reg about a new MAC virus and I fully expect there to be plenty more as the platform becomes more widespread and the same inexperienced users start touse mac's and merily click away on popups and links

  31. Bernie 2

    you mean Windows isn't a secure OS?


  32. Nemesii

    That symantec quote is brilliant

    That is some super head burying there.

    "Consumers need firewall protection, Web protection, antispam and identity safeguards - these are among the essentials when it comes to security, and you can only get them through a full Internet security suite provided by security experts. "

    I can't count the amount of computers I have 'fixed' simply by disabling Norton or Mcafee's Firewall. I can't count the amount of customers who swoon over how fast their computer goes when I install AVG, Avast, Antivir or Nod32 (some people believe your computer is not safe unless you have paid money) on their systems.

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