back to article MS offers Security Essentials to small business

Microsoft is extending the availability of its freebie Microsoft Security Essentials to small businesses from early next month. The application - which provides protection against viruses, spyware, and other malicious software - was launched as a basic scanner available to consumers at no charge last September. From October, …


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  1. andy gibson

    "How do you compete with a freebie"?

    Easy answer. Just look at:

    Outlook Express

    Windows Media Player

    Notepad / Wordpad

    Internet Explorer

    All free but avoided with the proverbial bargepole.

    1. Alan Bourke

      Maybe they're avoided ...

      by tech-savvy users - but by everyone else ?

      Well, OE is thankfully dead and most home users use webmail now. Wordpad is of course superseded either MS Word.

      The rest of them are extremely heavily used I would imagine. And where people have sought alternatives those alternatives are usually also FOSS.

      MSE is a capable single-machine product, and in terms of free solutions it's *way* better than the likes of AVG.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @andy gibson

        I was pretty skeptical when one of my mates suggested trying MSSE (I was properly fed up with Avast/AVG at this point). However, I've never had a problem with it, and it does everything I want from a free AV program - pretty much silent, no false positives (yet), and seems to be pretty effective.

        I agree, MS doesn't have the best track record for free and good programs, but MSSE is fairly nifty.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    From the current EULA


    a. Use. You may install and use any number of copies of the software on your devices in your household for use by people who reside there or for use in your home-based small business.

    How is this a change?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      speaking personally

      But if I had 10 people working for me in my house, I expect that various laws would consider it a place of work and not a "home-based" small business.

      1. lumpenfolk


        At 1 point I had 8 PCs in my house, in addition to my work PC, which was at work. Nobody else used them. I was not a business.

  3. Whitter

    Hogging is a matter of resources available

    "MSSE is not a resource hog" - Hmmm... uninstalled from an old XP machine as it became unusable during its hour-long update cycle, which it enforced despite setting to the lowest rate

  4. harryhedgehog
    Gates Halo

    RE: "How do you compete with a freebie"?

    Have you actually tried Essentials?

    I have been running it on 3 PCs since its first release and it has performed well and is one of the least intrusive AV applications I have ever used.

    Previousy I have tried Avira, Avast, Norton, McAfee, ProtX popups (like other freebie offerings) subscriptions inital cost updates daily

    ...simple and easy to use/install

    For me this is one of the few freebies from Microsoft that is actually very useful and good.

    1. Chronos
      Thumb Up

      Re: "How do you compete with a freebie"?

      Ah, someone who has actually tried MSE before slagging it off. One important point you did miss, though, was that it also doesn't crap out on you and stop updating itself after twelve months without warning [1] and leave you thinking you're protected when you're not.

      [1] The warning needs to get in the user's way before your average user will take any notice of it whatsoever. The "little red shield thing that won't go away" is neither use or ornament. People (in this context, read that as a hominid barely capable of breathing in and out without detailed instructions and an educational DVD - the sort of person that thinks Big Brother ending was a bad thing) need smacking in the teeth with security issues before they'll care enough to actually do anything.

      "We do warn the user!" is the usual reply from these cretins. Yes, but do you repeatedly hit it over the head with cucumbers and take away all of its toys, metaphorically speaking, until it does something constructive about the situation? No? Then you don't understand users.

  5. Steve 72

    Isn't it time for...

    Google to release an antivirus to "balance' off Micorsoft's?

    Maybe the team lead for Security Essentials could migrate over like the IE guy did.

    Or put simply, "more stuff to be avoided".

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Free AV

    I spend a lot of my time trying to encourage people to move away from free AV packages. The best way I have found to do this is to get people to uninstall their free AV (be it MSE or any of the others) and install a full featured trial version of one of the commercial versions. This week I've seen the results of Kaspersky 2010 and Trend Titanium being installed on machines that previously had Panda Cloud Free or MSE installed. A full scan on all these machines revealed several virii, lots and lots of trojans and a fair bit of other nasty stuff that had been totally missed by the free software. It's amazing how fast these people will part with their cash once they've seen how much malware has slipped through their free software net.

    OK so I know there will be lots of commentards posting that people should avoid Windows altogether, but we all know that for the majority of home users this just isn't going to happen so don't waste your typing time. Anyhow even if you did convince all the Windows users to switch to something else I'm pretty sure that OS would be beset with malware in no time flat. It's the popularity of Windows that makes it a target for malware. Bear in mind that a lot of the malware I see is on machines where the normal users are not administrators, at least I manage to convince them of that.

    1. Ammaross Danan


      "A full scan on all these machines revealed several virii...."

      Isn't that what Scareware does? You have 130 virii infecting your machine!!! Pay me now! Granted, I do agree that /some/ AVs are better than others, free or not. However, a pay-for solution isn't always the greatest either. (Stick Norton Internet Security Suite on your computer and you'll see what I mean)

      I do agree, however, that switching from Windows isn't the answer, since virii will follow the users. It doesn't matter how "secure" your system is. Linux can get infected by malware just as easily as a Windows box: "You're infected! Run this program!" (almost) all OSes allow users to install/run software, and it's that ability that gets exploited, regardless of OS. It just makes more sense to make your scamware for the majority, rather than minority.

    2. KarlTh

      But to be fair...

      ...this happens on a proportion of machines every time you take one package off and put another on, regardless of whether either package was free.


      Virii is not the plural of virus. If there were a Latin word "virius" (note the second i) its plural would be virii, but there is no such word. Nor is the plural "viri", because it's not a second declension masculine noun; it's a neuter mass noun and has no plural in Latin. The plural is therefore "viruses". "Virii" is an attempt to pretend one understands classical plurals but actually indicates one is utterly ignorant of them.


  7. Psymon

    have to agree with harryhedgehog

    As a home user I was a devout AVG user for many years, but compared to MSSE, AVG is a total resource hog, and not very effective at it's job.

    One annoyance with AVG is it's schizophrenic behaviour when an infected file gets lodged in a system restore point. Despite the infected file being completely inert (unless of course you put your machine back to that restore point) the monitoring component will periodically scream VIRUS! VIRUS!

    So, you run the scanner across your entire hard disk, at the end of which it comes up "dunno what you're on about, mate. No virus here" because it can't access the System Volume Information.

    Symantecs' product is less than useless. The first sign of a virus, and it curls up in a corner crying "Not in the face, not in the face!" You can tell your machine may have brushed by some 10 year old malware, because the Norton icon in the system tray is disabled, and you can't re-enable it. Oh, and the firewall in it continues to block software on your computer from accessing the net even AFTER YOU UNINSTALL IT!

    Mcaffee have come up with an interesting solution. They install so much crap on your system it s-l-o-w-s... t-o... a... c-r-a-w-l. Your computer is literally too slow to catch a cold.

    Sophos is an arrogant little turd. You fire up your computer, log in, and it essentially shouts "STOP EVERYTHING YOU ARE DOING! I'm updating myself." It seems to grab nearly every resource off you for the simple act of self-update. And don't get me started on the false positives!

    Compared to this lot, MSSE isn't just out in front, it's lapped them several times

  8. Guus Leeuw

    The title is too long... Well well well... First you want a title, and now it is too long?

    OK. Bad. However, this is from a marketing perspective easily solved:

    Do you trust your entire company's security to Microsoft? The one company whose software has more security problems than any other software house on the planet? Are you sure?


    What do you want to protect today? Your "My Documents" folder or your business?

    Never was, and likely never will be too impressed with Microsoft when they say "Security tools"... What? You mean malicious software removal tool is a security product? Oh and forefront is... aha... Why then do zillions of *serious* people run McAffee? Why then is Kasparek (or whatever) so popular with not-so-serious-on-to-go-type people who call themselves computer experts and work for, nonetheless, PC Universe?

    get a kick on. You don't trust microsoft with security anymore than you trust google with your data, now, do you? Blimey!

    Mine is the one with AVG in the pocket.

  9. Gert Selkobi
    Thumb Up


    Agree with harryhedgehog 100%. I work with M$ products, but use Linux or OpenBSD by choice.

    I'm fairly anti-M$ to be fair, but I must say that MSE is probably the best antivirus software I've used. I swore by Avast for around 5-6 years and peddled it to all and sundry. Nowadays I just get MSE on there and leave them to it.

    Very unobtrusive, haven't come across a false positive as yet and doesn't seem to degrade performance by hogging resources. Amazingly, it's all good.

    I feel dirty now.

  10. Paul Woodhouse

    as a freebie, MSSE is the one I'm recommending at the moment

    I've only seen one infection get past it so far... ESET Nod32 is still the daddy though...

  11. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    So now it is official

    The EULA can be changed by a one-sided decision, and courts are still going to pretend that it is a binding contract ?


    I don't care if it is in the user's favor. A binding contract is one that cannot be changed without consent from both parties.

    This just proves that the EULA is a farce.

    1. KarlTh


      The new EULA refers to installations done under the new EULA, not old ones. No-one's EULA is changed, but new installations are done under a new EULA.

  12. NTidd


    Compete with a free product by offering one that actually works.

  13. Gordon 17
    Thumb Up


    i have been putting MSE on machines as most people thought they had security on, because they had trial version on, or they had antivirus on but had not updated it or reregistered it, no matter how many time you tell them or show them.

    so i put the idiot proof one on MSE, i just set it up for them and tell them if it turns red click it and read what it says then follow onscreen.

    as you say here no need to register, so will not run out, and if set up correctly it will scan and update on own.

    its saved me loads of time.

    it was in place of , norton, avast, avg.

  14. This post has been deleted by its author

  15. Ross 7


    "How do you compete with a freebie?"

    Total cost of ownership ;o)

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cut down Forefront

    MSE is apparently a cut down version of Forefront. Well the powers that be at work decided to sign up for Forefront and it's crap when compared to previous solutions we've used.

    Would I really want a cut down version of something that's already crap?

  17. david 12 Silver badge

    Don't trust them

    At the moment, MS's record on free AV is poor. They bring out stuff, then later they scale it back. And what about the free spam filter in Outlook, and on Exchange? Both have very good free filtering software, made almost useless because MS doesn't update the filters.

    1. Arthur Dent

      Re: Don't trust them

      MS updates my Outlook spam filter quite often. Have you perhaps disabled Microsoft Update on the machines it doesn't get updated on?

      There is a real MS update screwup but that is with root certs - treated as an optional update so it won't happen automatically.

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