back to article MS no-frills security scanner gets thumbs up in early tests

Microsoft's limited but free-of-extra-charge anti-malware scanner has performed creditably in early tests. Independent testing lab put Microsoft Security Essentials through its paces, after downloading a beta version of the software following its limited release on Tuesday. The application, which lacks personal …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    Good for now

    Well if it shipped and didn't detect all the recent threats it would be going straight in the bin wouldn't it and MS are going to make sure that nothing sneaks through its databases at this time.

    The real test is how well its doing in say 6 months, will its databases still be updated several times a day? Or will it start to have a similar miss rate to other companies products.

  2. Giles Jones Gold badge

    Full blown version should be part of the OS

    When you buy a car you expect an immobiliser, locks and an alarm. Why should Windows be any different? given it's atrocious record for being the staple OS in botnets.

  3. Jimbo 7
    Thumb Up

    nice !!

    Am I going to use it? Probably not, I shall stick with combination of AVAST and Z100g router. But still, Microsoft is finally behaving a bit (just a bit) responsibly.

    I just want to see how they will market this or better say preinstall it and how some tiny antivirus company is going to cry to EU commisson ...

  4. Hi Wreck

    Remind me again

    Why a computer needs virus protection in the first place?


    Mr. Solaris.

  5. LJ
    Thumb Up

    I'm more interested in...

    ...performance. Or, more accurately, the performance hit relative to, say, AVG or Avast? After all, we already have free AV products. If it's no worse than anything else out there, then I'll be happy to recommend it.

  6. The Original Steve

    @ Remind me again

    End user education, market share and cheap broadband.

  7. Bill Gould
    Gates Halo

    @Giles Jones

    If they integrate it into the OS it will only cause people to bitch and whine about monopoly. Granted, I say "fuck those people, do it anyway", but lawsuits do get expensive.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    why are we bothering..........

    in years to come we will be all laughing about this........

    a company provids a product, provides patches for their original incompetence and then provides sticking plasters when all of that fails to work as well.

    so what happens when any of the updates fail to work?

    bit more of rant........

    isnt time Microsoft threw away all they have and started from scratch?

    they must be able to afford to do that by now ?

  9. Bruce 9

    Mr. Solaris has been rooted?

    Mr Solaris forgets about Unix rootkits ... has he been rooted?

  10. Steve Evans

    What a strange collection of countries...

    Not available in your country or region

    You appear to be in a country or region where the Microsoft Security Essentials Beta is unavailable.

    This beta is available only to customers in the United States, Israel (English only), People's Republic of China (Simplified Chinese only) and Brazil (Brazilian Portuguese only).

  11. Lewis Mettler 1

    The AV companies may have to sue

    You really have to wonder why Microsoft feels it must release an antivirus product for free.

    Setting aside the fact that Microsoft products are so poorly designed in the first place that they really do need antiviris protection, what is wrong with Microsoft charging a competitive price? Does Microsoft really want to harm those companies that up to this point in time had to offer products to protect Microsoft customers because Microsoft did not know how to do that? Or, does Microsoft just want to drive a couple more companies out of the business?

    You do have to ask.

    And unlike user applications such as browsers and media players, an AV product is clearly something that any customer would prefer not to have to deal with. Just ask Linux users. They love the fact that viruses are pretty much a Microsoft problem.

    But, you see Microsoft has to get the cost to consumers down a bit. Having to pay $50 a year for virus protection on a Microsoft product makes it much more difficult for Microsoft to compete against Linux and even Apple on price. Hense the so-called free product. Alas it is not a complete product. At least not if you ask the real AV vendors.

    But, why does not Microsoft just put a reasonable price on it?

    Certainly the AV vendors now have reason to sue Microsoft for yet another illegal business practice. Even if you have to wonder why they are doing it.

  12. Filippo Silver badge

    Re: Remind me again

    ...because users are idiots who run every "lolcat.jpg.exe" they get in the mail, with admin privileges, and then click OK/YES on every warning that pops up without reading? That's the attack method I mostly see around, and there's not much the OS can do about it. As long as there are human users, "secure by design" will never be true.

    And, of course, it won't be integrated in the OS because blah blah monopoly.

    If it turns out to work decently, I might actually install it. I'm so very, very tired of the crap Norton, McAfee et al put me through. The last I tried was AVG, which fucked up my IP stack, killed my CVS server, and then refused to uninstall. It was a fresh machine, so I didn't bother figuring out what was wrong and just reformatted. At least the Microsoft product should play well with the OS.

  13. Anonymous Coward


    No available to the UK

    What a waste of time reading the artical

    Off to the pub then to catch H1N1

  14. Timo

    now that you mention it, this seems like a logical step

    They've been doing their "malicious software removal tool" for a long time now, so why wouldn't they turn it into an application on their OS? They already have the signatures etc, this is just wrapping it up with a GUI and installer I presume. Assuming that they have buckets of money in their R&D pool this may be a very good thing to budget for. This might actually earn them some goodwill by their customers (certainly not by their partners however.)

    And since it is their OS they may be the experts in knowing which files are supposed to be where and which ones aren't. At this point in time antivirus software is about as far as you could get from a hot and exciting trend in the industry.

    Is a <yawn> out of place at this point?

  15. bex

    Rock and a Hard Place

    I am sure that they could come up with a fully functioning antivirus product intragrated into the OS but the likes of symantec and the other major players would be shouting antitrust as soon as it was announced.

  16. lennie

    Stick it in the OS

    Microsoft should check with regulators first to make sure they're in the clear, get written agreement that it is ok to stick it in the OS and do it. I believe something like this is very essential to an OS as it helps to protect the consumer.

    Mine is the one with the yellow Memo in the left pocket.

  17. Anonymous Coward

    Not a thumb up - not much of anything

    Thumbs up?

    Did AV-test test detection of infected web sites? Did they test phishing detection? Did they test intrusion detection?

    No, no and no

    When will the register get it that tests of scanning files for malware isn't worth much. We need real world tests.

  18. Flybert

    oh .. for ONCE ....

    ... I actually go to download a "newest and lastest" piece of software from MS, which breaks my general rule about trying anything "new" from MS except security updates, and even then I'll often wait a few days ...

    .. and it says they are no longer accepting *applicants* at this time ..

    .. good .. I can wait a week or 2 on this .. bound to be some problem .. would be a first for MS, software wise, to get it even 95% right out of the gate

  19. Anonymous Coward


    If MS would build their AV kit into the OS, then all the other AV builders go tits up, no more competition and hence no more incentive to make a proper AV.

    Now I'm not a fan of any AV software, but do you remember what happened at the time with Netscape? We went to MS, and all we got was IE. The definitive browser. Yeah.


  20. TeeCee Gold badge

    @Lewis Mettler 1

    Then they'd also have to sue Symantec, Trend, etc. etc. etc.

    All of who do free "scan and clean" tools like this. It doesn't matter whether the free download is a java / activex running in a browser or a set of executables you install yourself, the principle's the same.

    Or, in shorter terms, here's an icon for you.

  21. Goat Jam
    Gates Horns

    Insecure by Design

    "...because users are idiots who run every "lolcat.jpg.exe" they get in the mail, with admin privileges, and then click OK/YES on every warning that pops up without reading? That's the attack method I mostly see around, and there's not much the OS can do about it."

    Utter tosh.

    If Windows users weren't *required* to run with admin privileges then they quite simply wouldn't be able to damage the entire OS through their stupid clicking.

    If Windows apps didn't install themselves into the OS system folder often even overwriting the original DLLs at the same time and then go on to run with full system privileges then dodgy apps couldn't damage the OS.

    If the Windows designers had had even the tiniest understanding of the need to partition users from apps from the OS then these things would rarely if ever happen.

    "What it boils down to is that the application may add portions of itself to the operating system. (This is one of the reasons why Windows needs to be rebooted after an application has been installed or changed.) That means that the installation procedure introduces third-party code (read: uncertified code) into the operating system and into other applications that load the affected DLLs. Furthermore, because there is no real distinction between system level code and user level code, the software in DLLs that has been provided by application programmers or the user may now run at system level. This corrupts the integrity of the operating system and other applications. A rather effective demonstration was provided by Bill Gates himself who, during a Comdex presentation of the Windows 98 USB Plug-and-Play features, connected a scanner to a PC and caused it to crash into a Blue Screen. "Moving right along," said Gates, "I guess this is why we're not shipping it yet." Nice try, Mr. Gates, but of course the release versions of Windows '98 and ME were just as unstable, and in Windows 2000 and its sucessors new problems have been introduced."

  22. mmiied

    @Hi Wreck

    cos some pepol are evil and some pepol are stupid

  23. Anonymous Coward


    Who thinks this product is just a database of signatures. And a bit of server ip lookup for anti-phising.

    Really basic

    They need to start doing dynamic detections.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Goat Jam

    Unfortunately idiot users will win out everytime. Even *nix is easy enough to destroy with root access, and 90%+ of computer users out there will happily provide the password when asked for it no matter what the OS is.

    I admit, there are some moronic design choices in Windows, but most are easily fixed, autorun, hiding file extensions, and so on. although i am with you on the dll thing, apps do need to be stopped from modifying system code. But most people get malware, becase they actively installed it themselves believeing it to be something else.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Its nice ...

    Very nice that it works well, but it wouldn't be needed if the OS had a genuine file/account ownership model. The very thought just makes me queasy.

    And I *know* I haven't been rooted -- and I doubt that "Mr Solaris" has either.

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