It wasn’t until recently that I became aware of Microsoft’s free antivirus software called Microsoft Security Essentials. It protects your computer against viruses, spyware and malware. The best part about the software is that it’s free. Yes, I did say free. No need to sign up, provide an email address or provide a credit card for a trial version of the software. All you have to do is select your language and operating system and you’re done.
How Long Has This Been Around?
I must have been living under a technological rock. Ever since I purchased my first computer and connected it to the internet I have been using McAfee Antivirus software to protect my systems. As the number of computers in the household increased, I purchased additional software licenses to make sure all computers were protected.
Since Microsoft Security Essentials is free, I decided to test it on the recently purchased Netbook. Why pay for an additional McAfee license when a comparable free alternative is available. It’s only been a couple of weeks so it’s too soon to tell, but so far, so good.
What’s the Catch?
Your system must be running genuine windows (in other words, no boot legging allowed) and it only protects systems running Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7. Additionally, you are allowed to run Microsoft Security Essentials on a small business network with up to 10 PCs. If you have more than 10 PCs you must use Microsoft Forefront Endpoint Protection (registration required).
Not wanting to rely on my limited knowledge, I decided to roam around the internet for alternative opinions and found the following:
- According to Wikipedia (not the most reliable of sources), “In June 2011, it was the most popular antivirus software product in North America and one of the most popular four in the world.”
- PC World: Independent Tester: Security Essentials ‘Very Good’ (this is old 2009)
Bottom line, if you’re on a tight budget and don’t want to pay for antivirus protection and are running a PC with Windows XP, Vista or 7, Microsoft Security Essentials appears to be a viable free alternative.