back to article MS opens up Security Essentials downloads from today

Microsoft plans to release the final version of its free-of-extra-charge anti-malware scanner later on Tuesday The application, Microsoft Security Essentials or MSE (formerly Morro), is designed to provide consumers with basic protection against Trojans, computer viruses, spyware and rootkits. The product lacks the personal …


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  1. Skinny

    Go ahead push it out...

    Personally I think they should push it out, similarly to how they pushed out IE8. Let windows update download it, but durnig install offer up a box asking if the user wants to install it.

    Those that already have protection can just say no.

    Those that don't and hence putting the rest of us at risk (and our mailboxes) probably aren't going to go hunting for some security software themselves, even if it is from Microsoft, but give them a big window with 'click here for some free protection' and they just might do it.

    Okay that's the serious bit, now onto a minor, but real ulterior motive....

    if a side effect is that Symantec and McAffee die a horrible, agonizing death, then all the better :-)

  2. Anonymous Coward

    We are sorry, the page you requested cannot be found.

    "See below for search results close to your request, or try a new search."

    Which includes the following link:

    "Microsoft Security Essentials Markets

    Microsoft Silverlight delivers a new generation of high-quality audio and video, engaging media experiences, and interactive applications for the Web."

    You would have thought someone might have checked it all worked first.

  3. Richard 81


    Hopefully when this goes live, someone will give us the low down on how it compares to other free packages e.g. AVG Free.

  4. Grease Monkey Silver badge

    Arse about face

    Given that most malware circulates because of security flaws in windows it would be a lot better if they just fixed windows.

    I'm not talking about those patch tuesday flaws, but the fact that windows is not secure by default. Even the attempts they've made in fister and windows 7 to fix things don't work because they let end users switch them off. Get this guys - askin your users to click "continue" every time they want to perform an administrative task does no make your OS inherently secure.

  5. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    Re: Go ahead push it out...

    "if a side effect is that Symantec and McAffee die a horrible, agonizing death, then all the better"

    That probably won't be the side-effect. Anyone buying AV software on price already has a range of free options.

    On your main point, I disagree. Since signature-based scans are so woefully lame, I wouldn't want any such software thrashing my hard drives and gobbling up memory. Indeed, I'd expect any *real* malware scanner to detect such behaviour and destroy the offending software.

  6. graeme leggett Silver badge

    site working now

    8 Mb download no questions asked.

  7. The Original Steve


    To any idiots spouting "try making a secure platform to start with" I should point out that the vast, vast majority of malware is installed by the end user. Very few viruses spread through vuln's in any OS - including Windows. It's end users that cause the problems by thinking a free search toolbar and smilie faces for emails are a good thing.

    Anyway, this looks like great news. I can't stand the security "suites" pushed by OEM's. XP SP2 introduced a "good enough" basic software firewall, which was substantially improved with Vista. Anti-spam is included with the bulk of mail clients (Windows Mail, Thunderbird or just use a webmail provider). Anti-phishing is built into every mod

    So users will already have a good enough firewall and anti-spam. MSE will finish it off with antivirus too. Make sure users have MSE installed, firewall turned on and Windows Updates set to automatic....

    Step in the right direction.

  8. RW

    I'm with Grease Monkey

    When you step back and look at the overall situation, it's plain nuts - crazy - insane. You build an OS & apps with more holes than the average kitchen colander, then apply a box of band-aids to the system. Who on earth ever thought that was a viable approach to software development?

    I honestly think MS is stuck: between legacy code and corporate culture, they are simply unable to build a decently secure OS. But I also suspect simple incompetence and the malign influence of the marketing department. MS has never built a really secure OS, with the possible exception of NT, and they simply don't know how, don't know what the real issues are, and (worse) don't understand proper separation of function within the OS. Everything is, to steal a phrase, "deeply intertwingled."

    And the marketers foist their lame schemes (anybody remember MS Bob?) and not being ones to be denied force features into the system that are inherently insecure.

    Frankly, MS would be further ahead turning the clock back to (say) Win98, a good, fast, simple, *small* system and reconstructing it for security from the ground up. But then they run into the brick wall of lack of expertise, both in understanding security sensu latu and how to actually write secure code.

    It's nuts, plain ol' nuts, by any standard. MS is, I can't help but think, doomed. If the Vista-resisters also reject Win7 and stick with XP, there is a message on the wall that anyone can read.

  9. Inachu

    grrrrrrrrr! is dead

    But!!! works.


  10. FreeTard

    It's free which is good

    installed it, ran updates, now it's running a scan.... bored with it already..

  11. JASR

    What about Microsoft Defender?

    Is it a replacement for that, or runs alongside , or?

  12. Steve 72

    I particularly...

    ...liked the instructional video - especially the part where the nice lady advises me to remove any existing antivirus or antispyware - you know, the very stuff I have already selected and configured - and that works - for an unproven entity that comes from none other than the very outfit making the porous o/s in the first place.

  13. Allan Rutland
    Thumb Up

    Re: Interesting

    Been using it for many months now, started out very rough, but the last few major revision changes have made it into a very sweet little AV product. Fast, secure, very few resources used, and very quiet. Even been using it now as a routine virus tool for removal off customer infected machines and it's finding things which AVG doesn't, or what AVG can't remove it will cleanly removal without hosing the system. Ok it has no bells or whistles, but for a nice little app which does just what it says on the tin, it's a winner and good on MS for it no matter what all the whiners say.

  14. Wolf 1
    Thumb Up

    Downloaded MSE about an hour ago

    I like MSE, it's quiet, effective, and low impact. Couple that with UAC (a *good* thing, idiots' rants notwithstanding), the Windows Firewall in Vista or 7, and I'm a happy camper.

    Not to mention it's *free*. As in beer. Nor is MS trying to shove it down anyone's throat. It's also either best in breed or damn near.

    Mix in Windows 7 and I think the ABM ranters are going to find themselves on the cold steps of a City Hall, in the dead of winter, ranting to the falling snow. :)

  15. The Original Steve

    @RW and @GreaseMonkey

    Seriously? You seriously think the bulk of problems are from unpatched security HOLES in Windows? Care to enlighten me with a doze viruses released in the last 5 years that require no user interaction, exploit an unpatched hole in the OS and self-replicate?

    "MS has never built a really secure OS, with the possible exception of NT"

    What version? NT 4? NT5? NT 5.1? NT6? Maybe NT7?

    FYI - NT5 is Windows 2000, NT5.1 is Windows XP, NT6 is Vista and NT7 is Windows 7. Try typing "winver" at a command prompt.

    If you seriously believe the security problems (botnets, spyware, viruses) in the last 5 years have been through holes in the OS I strongly recommend you take a look at half a dozen end-user PC's (home users) and take a peek.

    MyWebSearch toolbar, those irritating free smilies for IM and email clients, or an infection from an end user downloading "free antivirus" after a website said they were infected are going to be, BY FAR, the biggest problems on the machines.

    No matter how well coded the OS is, you can't patch the user.

  16. Anonymous Coward

    Let me get this straight...

    First I buy an operating system with shoddy security. No problem! I contact my trusted security partner to help secure the operating system.

    Now, I am supposed to use the free product from the maker of said operating system. This will provide security for the shoddy OS. Methinks I will be getting what I paid for. When talking about my personal data security, I would much rather trust a security company than the company which created the problems in the first place!!!

    Isn't this sort of like expecting the government to fix the problems it created in the first place?

  17. blackworx


    Yet another thing for folk to install in the "more is more" school of barn door/horse thinking after their machines are already completely riddled with shyte, and yet another thing for me to deal with when I get handed the poorly machine. W0000000t.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    @original steve

    > No matter how well coded the OS is, you can't patch the user.

    Great quote!

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Re: Let me get this straight...

    I would rather use a small, lightweight, focused product like MSSE, than one of the Symantec, McAfee bloated packages. MS have nothing to be gained from running around shouting " the sky is falling in ", unlike some of the other companies.

  20. Anonymous Coward

    OK... if MS are so in-bed with OSS, where's the Linux and OSX versions then? Where's the source code?

    Oh I see...only for Windows and it's another band-aid for a shoddy O/S built from patch, upon patch, upon botch, upon patch!

    At the end of the day, this is MS legal dept demanding that they are sick of law suits threatening this and that because company XYZ lost a load of data when some script kiddy got lose in their network, through no fault of MS, so now it's MS problem to protect idiots from themselves, because they can't stop clicking all over the shop! Well MS, if you didn't switch on all these wonderful scripting add-ons by default then Johnny Script Kiddy wouldn't screw up so many machines!

    Quite frankly I dread the VBA kit coming back inthe OSX edition of Office, it will be a world of pain, as OSX users are more daft than Windows users, when it comes to being complacent about security!

    Me, I use all three, WinXP, Ubuntu and OSX and they are all as bad as each other....( wanders off in search of an Amiga install floppy! )

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Doesn't install....

    Won't install on my Vista machine. Passes Verification then hangs with an error number. I think I'll pass.

  22. Anonymous Coward


    I,m sorry, but I can't see what all the fuss is about. I have used for many years as an 'end user' Windows XP and now Vista Home Premium since june 08. I am running McAfee as it came free with my BT account and on XP I used a 'freebie' virus package. The only time I have ever had any issues with Microsoft is:

    A: When my darling child downloaded Bearshare.

    B: Some compatibility issues with Vista that I have since sorted out.

    I think it is safe to say as pointed out by others that the 'end user' is the biggest contributor to virus on stupid toolbars and the like.

  23. Anonymous Coward

    Secure OS?

    Hey just build it right the first time. Its not like the building of a full features OS is one of the most complicated endeavors ever undertaken by man.

    Since all the current OSes are the work of incompetent morons ... we just need to gather a 100 or so people of average intelligence, give them a few beginning programming text books and sternly admonish them to produce lean secure code.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why bother when...

    You can download the 120 day trial of Forefront Client Security and install only the local client (without server components using "clientinstall -nomom") with no apparent EULA / license restrictions?

    I recently replaced Nod32, which I've used for years, with forefront on my Windows 7 box and I'm very impressed, I would certainly pay the £12 / year license fee if this becomes necesary to keep running the stand-alone client.

    I suppose MS feel that the necesity of a command prompt installation for Forefront Client will keep the masses away from this far superior product which has been built on top of the original Giant engine which eventually became Defender, howeber, it's definitely worth the extra effort.

  25. Richard Plinston

    @The Original Steve

    > It's end users that cause the problems ...

    Microsoft compunded the problem by making several stupid decisions:

    MS hid the file 'type' so what looked like 'noknickers.jpeg' was actually 'noknickers.jpeg.exe'.

    MS made a file executable simply by having a file 'type' of .exe or .dll or several others, so that merely downloading it made it runnable.

    MS executed email attachments merely by clicking on them in the inbox.

    Some of these have been fixed or plastered over but the problems are fundemental ones in Windows.

    > XP SP2 introduced a "good enough" basic software firewall,

    No. It is not 'good enough'. It is another layer on top of Windows (as most 'security fixes on Windows are) and starts _after_ networking is up and running, hence giving a window of opportunity to be exploited. It also did not monitor or control outgoing traffic.

    Users are not given enough information on which to base a proper judgement and are allowed to fall into traps which other operating systems don't provide.

  26. Annihilator

    @The Original Steve

    "NT7 is Windows 7. Try typing "winver" at a command prompt" - maybe you should and realise what Windows 7 is. Clue - it's not NT7

    "If you seriously believe the security problems (botnets, spyware, viruses) in the last 5 years have been through holes in the OS I strongly recommend you take a look at half a dozen end-user PC's (home users) and take a peek."


    My biggest beef with Security Essentials is the WGA thing. Just punt it out no questions asked to all and sundry, regardless of legit software for crying out loud!

  27. Anonymous Coward

    @Wolf = wow you work quickly

    Downloaded an hour ago and you think it's best of breed? What kind of testing have you done IN AN HOUR? Do you work at Redmond?

  28. sandiskboy

    Does it come with extras?

    After installing I was surprised to find Microsoft Office and Works had been installed to my lappy. Did I miss something when I accepted the licence?

  29. Paul2724


    ITT : MS haters starting to sound a bit rabid vs the people talking sense and saying well done where its due....

    I mean I love a good MS rant as much as the next man but lets do it when they deserve it (and its not like we need to look very hard to find such).

  30. deegee
    Thumb Up

    @The Original Steve 16:02 "@RW and @GreaseMonkey"


    Good reply. Some people just don't know what they are on about.

  31. Homard

    Maybe m$ Is Learning or Maybe Not

    @RW and @GreaseMonkey : I'm with you on this, but I hated NT ! My use of it was never stable with regular BSODs. 98 used to do the same, but less frequently ! Maybe trying to do some work was the problem ? For games : no issues !

    @Original Steve : think you need a bit of a history lesson. Remember code red and all the other shitware piping itself over the net before security vendors could sort out signature updates/patches ? My firewall logs at the time showed something like 100x more traffic blocked than normal months before. The system *HAS* to be built from the ground up with security in mind, and commercial/DRM requirements should never be considered, particularly when they conflict with security requirements. You just make things more complex, with more opportunities for bugs/exploits as a result. m$ have never listened to this argument, and have never built a secure O/S as a result. I garnt that m$ have made some improvements with vista, but you should never be (easily) allowed to surf the net from an administrator account. An administrator account should be made a sterile unfriendly place to be with no bells and whistles : user only uses it when necessary. It is not completely fair to lay the blame at m$ door as some software behaves *VERY* badly when not run as administrator, but had m$ created the system from the ground up to be properly multi-user with security at the core those applications would never have been developed that way.

    This piece of software they now offer damn well should be free because it is a necessary tool to protect your m$ system (which you paid for) from the holes in it. How good it will really be ? I have my doubts given the current track record. For example their malicious software removal tool fails to remove windo$e :-) !

    However, if this utility really does what it says on the tin, protects my m$ system properly, and runs unobtrusively in the background and lets me enjoy using my m$ computer for a change then full marks, and perhaps m$ are eventually learning what the end user wants ? But only if it really does its job properly. Time will tell.

    In the meantime I'll continue using my loyal penguin friend as my main computer.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I installed it and asked it to do a full scan at 7:17PM tonight, and now, at 10:43PM, it is still running. My PC is a quad-core 2.4ghz with 4 gig of RAM so it's not exactly a slowcoach. I could do a full scan with AVG in an hour and a half, plus a couple of scans with Spybot and Malware Bytes in say half an hour, so what on earth is this doing? Is it really thorough, or is it just slow software?

  33. Tommy Pock

    As you all know

    The single most troublesome and problematic component in any computer setup is the nut on the swivel chair

  34. Skydreamer

    Finally my PC will be safe

    I'm really happy now Microsoft is providing something to protect my linux box from all those Windows viruses.

    But here's another idea to consider: How about Microsoft uses its next "service pack" to upgrade Windows to a Linux distro -- windows malware problem solved! and given Microsoft's market penetration not only will a majority of users upgrade over time, they'll be defending their actions to their Mac pals. Well it sounded good before I typed it out... oh well.

  35. John Fielder

    John Fielder

    Anyone else have the problem that it apparently needs 1gig of RAM to run on XP? That's quite a lot for an XP machine. Why does an AV program need so much and why does the review says its a low impact when it need that much.

    Has anyone run it on 512K? Are MS just assuming everyone has 1gig?

  36. Adrian Esdaile

    I find disabling...

    the PEBKAC service usually does the trick.

  37. George 24

    MSE - good

    Push it as an important update...

  38. Estariel
    Gates Horns

    User Error?

    Richard Plinston tells us several of the reasons why "user error" is not the main problem here.

    You wouldnt give a loaded gun to a four year old and then blame the child if she shot someone.

    My biggest beef with MS is their continued obstruction of internet hygiene by cavalier disregard for the needs of firewalls.

    The worst is Windows Update - cant enumerate IPs to allow it to load from, cant even enumerate domain names it will load from - all by themselves, MS make outbound firewall filters almost impossible to implement. Opening http/https to anywhere gives free rein to bots to speak to their control channels.

    The SMBv2 issue shows us all over again what an disaster port 445 is.

    LAN-based debugging tools which require inbound access from the live webserver.

    This stuff is all eminently fixable. And far more valuable then Aero.

  39. Steve Bush


    Since AVG sold out and became fat and efficient I though Comodo's very fine free av+malware+firewall should take over in fame but it doesnt seem to have - perhaps because it has a lot of tech features that confuse the average sod. Nevertheless we use it everywhere now - FOC of course.

  40. deegee

    @Homard 09/29 21:25 "Maybe m$ Is Learning or Maybe Not"

    Serious fanboi'ism dude... :-/

    "Remember code red ..."

    Your best is an almost-10-year-old IIS exploit??

    "... you should never be (easily) allowed to surf the net from an administrator account."

    You think? Maybe that is why Windows allows you to create user level accounts?

    How is it MS's fault if end-users choose not to do so? I can choose to run administrator-level on other platforms.

    Try surfing in IE on Windows Server if you think it is that easy.

    If MS forceably made desktop OS accounts at user level then people would sh*t all over them for doing that, so they leave it up to the end user to get educated about it. Just like you had to get educated to run any Linux-distro.

    "This piece of software they now offer damn well should be free because it is a necessary tool to protect your m$ system (which you paid for) from the holes in it."

    What "holes" in the OS? Name me the list of actual OS current open exploits.

    The vast majority of malware exploits are targetted at getting the newbie user to install something, which can be done on any platform.

    "In the meantime I'll continue using my loyal penguin friend as my main computer."

    Good luck with that. I'm glad that you enjoy running 1000 text editors, half-a-dozen packagers, and only a few real serious applications.

    Oh, and btw I have Kubuntu/Win7 dual-boot on my Internet system, but I don't get all fanboi-ish about it.

  41. Toastan Buttar
    Thumb Up

    512 MB ?

    John, I've only got 512 MB on XP SP3 and MSE runs absolutely fine. I've scheduled my first scan for 21:00 on Friday, so it'll be interesting to see how much it impacts on performance (I don't keep my machine on 24/7, so a 2:00 am scan isn't such a good idea).

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