Alright Windows users, no more excuses for not having up-to-date anti-virus or anti-malware protection. Microsoft has released its new Security Essentials software that offers real-time protection against viruses, spyware, and other malicious programs. It’s also free.
Although there are lots of anti-virus and anti-malware programs available (many which are also free), perhaps the Microsoft name and easy integration into Windows can help users who might not be familiar with some of the available programs get and stay protected.
Microsoft says that Security Essentials is designed to run quietly in the background (no constant UAC alerts) and that it doesn’t hog CPU or memory usage. A constant complaint about some of the bigger name security suites is that they slow down the computer’s overall performance. Security Essentials also uses what Microsoft calls its Dynamic Signature Service, which is supposed to ensure that users are always protected and up-to-date, without having to wait for the next scheduled download.
Like any other standard security product, you can schedule full or quick system scans, exclude certain file types of processes from being scanned, and designate how you are alerted of various actions and what you want the default step to be.
Security Essentials is free — and no sign-up or registration is necessary — but you need to have a genuine copy of Windows XP SP2 or SP3, Windows Vista (), or the upcoming Windows 7 (). Security Essentials will also run in Windows XP mode in Windows 7 — so if you plan on running XP mode to keep compatibility with older stuff, your security won’t be compromised.
With viruses and malware a constant threat to Windows users all over the world, it’s about time Microsoft offered an actual security package. One note, however — if you already have an anti-virus or anti-malware program installed, make sure you uninstall it before installing Security Essentials.
What do you use to protect your computers against viruses?
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