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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

First look: Microsoft Security Essentials impresses

After a short three-month beta program, Microsoft is officially releasing Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE), its free, real-time consumer antimalware solution for fighting viruses, spyware, rootkits, and Trojans. MSE is yet another layer of defense the company is offering to help its customers fight the threats that plague Windows PCs.

Microsoft Security Essentials is available for Windows XP 32-bit (8.61MB), Windows Vista/7 32-bit (4.28MB), and Windows Vista/7 64-bit (4.71MB). The final build number is 1.0.1611.0. Microsoft warns that MSE should not be installed alongside any other antimalware application. Indeed, MSE's installer disables Windows Defender completely, which makes sense as it is a sort of superset to Windows Defender. It builds upon Windows Defender by offering both real-time protection and on-demand scanning for all types of malware.

Although you won't be asked for personal information or to register for anything, you'll need to pass the Windows Genuine Advantage validation to install MSE. In short, while Microsoft's security updates are available for free to pirates, active protection from Redmond isn't.

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