I was asked today about which programs are good for general Windows PC protection against a variety of malware and as always I suggest both free and paid applications but somewhat surprisingly, Microsoft Security Essentials comes up as one of my favorite free anti-malware solutions.
What’s to like about MSE? Well, for starters it’s free but it’s also very easy to use. MSE doesn’t have a ton of garbage filling up the UI and it offers a selection of easy to use and useful features. MSE doesn’t bog down your system, it simply does what it needs to do and then quietly monitors the system in the background, providing real-time protection with out eating up a ton system resources.
MSE is updated daily to ensure that the latest threats won’t get through. Scan times are fast compared to some other applications and the only time you have to wait for any significant amount of time during a scan is when MSE performs it’s first system scan or when you run a “Full Scan”, otherwise, my scans only take about a minute or two with the longest scan time being approximately five minutes, when using “Quick Scan”.
Another thing that I enjoy about MSE is that it doesn’t seem to get in the way of the stuff that I know isn’t malware. I know this sounds strange but if you have used a variety of ant-malware products, you probably understand where I am coming from on this one. Having to go in and make exceptions for all the software that I know is supposed to be running on my system is time consuming and annoying, not to mention that you inevitability end up missing something that runs in the background and supports another main application, then you get to spend the next twenty minutes trying to find out what’s being blocked and causing your application to crash and or stall.
Just like any other malware solution it’s never going to be perfect and as always the best protection against malware is common sense. Tread the inter-webs carefully and be proactive in reducing your risk of getting malware. Stick to sites that you know and don’t open random emails with weird attachments. I know it sounds like a no brainer but it happens all the time, sometimes we get tricked into doing something we shouldn’t. Even email from friends and family can be loaded with bad stuff, often these “loaded” emails are passed along even without the senders knowledge, so be careful.
Microsoft Security Essentials works on all three of the most popular Windows versions including XP,Vista,and Windows 7, the only major requirement here is that you have a genuine copy of Windows running. If your unhappy with your current malware solution, I recommend giving MSE a shot, remember you can always go back to what you had before and did I mention it’s free?
You can obtain Microsoft Security Essentials here.