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Microsoft Security Essentials 2

Microsoft quietly released Security Essentials 2 a while back, and as with the first edition, it has been kept rather low key. I’ve been waiting to the upgrade to appear either via Microsoft Update or the update feature built into Security Essentials, but so far nothing. I downloaded the installation file instead, which weighs in at just under 10MB.


Microsoft Security Essentials 2 main window

Since I already had SE1 on my computer, the installer just upgraded my version before asking for a reboot. It also asked if it could enable Windows Firewall, which was a bit pointless as I already have the firewall on. Still, a nice touch for those who may not have known that their firewall was off. Total install time was under 5 minutes. Upon getting back into Windows, not all that much has changed. The program looks nearly identical to the first version, with just the addition of some stripes on the side making an aesthetic change to the program.

Everything else appears to be exactly where they were in SE1, which isn’t a bad thing. Startup time does not appear to have been affected by the update. I’ve yet to run a scan of any sort, but I suspect it won’t be any better or worse than SE1 was.

About the only downside so far is that after updating, Security Essentials 2 has to download a 60 odd MB definition file. This is a bit frustrating if your copy of SE1 was fully up to date, as it is a bit of a wasted download. About the only reason I can think of for this is due to a change in the way the definition files work, rendering the SE1 files unusable. It’s probably my only gripe with the program so far.

Once again, I think Microsoft has done a sterling job with this program. It’s quiet, doesn’t chew up much system resources and generally stays out of your way unless something is wrong. In the few cases where I’ve had malware try to sneak in, SE1 did a great job and I’m sure SE2 will keep that up. The free anti-virus market is a crowded one with each vendor trying to lure in as many customers as possible, but few products I’ve used are as good as Security Essentials. A must have for anyone looking for decent protection, free of charge for legal copies of Windows.

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