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Microsoft Security Essentials

I’ve been a long time user of Avast! anti-virus at home. I found it had a great scanning engine, it was free and it was quite light on resources. Lately however, my confidence has taken quite a knock in the product.

I am almost sure that something botched up 4.8 on my Vista install, and after the upgrade to the new version 5, things got even worse. I was not too happy, but then I moved to Windows 7 and installed version 5 from scratch.

All seemed good, it wasn’t a system hog and the new interface feels very good, up there with the best av products. I turned gaming mode on, as Avast had an annoying habit of popping up during a full screen game telling me it had updated itself.

Yesterday I discovered that it hadn’t updated itself in almost 2 weeks. I was puzzled and alarmed by this. No amount of manual forcing would work. I uninstalled the product, and installed from the setup file I had on my flash drive. For whatever reason, the setup file moaned that it was a beta product and I had to download a fresh copy from Avast. I didn’t understand this, as this was the same file I had gotten from Avast just after the release of version 5.

Fed up, I decided to change over to Microsoft Security Essentials and see what it is all about. The install file is about 7.5mb, which was a quick download. The initial virus definition download was about 48mb, which is quite large but ok for the 1st update.

Checking the program out, it is quite minimal, cleanly laid out. There isn’t much in the way of configuration options, which is a welcome relief almost. So far I’ve pretty much left the thing at defaults.

There was one nasty side effect though. After installing MSE, it turned Windows Update on and started downloading updates for me like crazy. This was against my wish, as I review my updates manually. I’ve now set Windows to inform me when there is updates, as I’m not 100% sure yet how MSE gets new definitions. I want that to be as automatic as possible, like Avast.

Also, MSE disables Windows Defender, it looks like it integrates the technology within itself. Not a bad idea, as now you have the power of 2 things in 1 simple interface.

Overall I’m liking it so far, time will tell how successful the software is for me.

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