Microsoft’s new Anti-virus rolls out today(June 23, 2009)

Today  is the day Microsoft is availing its brand new anti-virus called “Microsoft Security Essentials” for download (for the first 75,000 users ) to the people in US, Brazil, Israel and China for the beta testing. I feel disappointed that this date is not for us (people of Nepal). May be we will get to download and enjoy this product which was earlier codenamed ‘Morro’ around the end of this year, 2009.


Microsoft Security Essentials(MSE) is expected to tackle viruses, spyware, rootkits and trojans as I have told you this in my earlier blog post about this product. It is crystal clear that MSE is gonna be absolutely a free Microsoft product, however, Microsoft will not give Security Essentials to everyone who wants it, that is to say, PCs running a copy of Windows which is “non-genuine”, cannot download a copy of the security software. Further, this is a basic antivirus, antispyware program that has a simplistic interface and consumes less memory and disk space than commercial security applications like those from vendors such as Symantec and Kaspersky.

While OneCare, which was Microsoft’s earlier security tool and now in the verge of it’s scrapping, offered a Managed Firewall, PC Performance Tuning, Data Backup and Restore, Multi-PC Management, and Printer Sharing, MSE is rather closer to Forefront Client Security, Microsoft’s antivirus product for the enterprise.

The important Features and performances of MSE are:
  • Remove most-prevalent malware
  • Remove known viruses
  • Real-time anti-virus protection
  • Remove known spyware
  • Real-time anti-spyware protection

During the MSE installation, Windows Defender is actually disabled as it is no longer needed with MSE installed. Below you can see two screenshots, with the first showing MSE when everything is perfect while the second shows that a threat has been detected.


I have some more technical details here for you as well. To grasp the deeper insight it’s essential to know that MSE’s engine is actually identical to the one that comes with Forefront Client Security. In fact, Microsoft uses the same engine for all of its security products(as said in my previous blog post). Thus, engine updates to MSE will be delivered at the same time as they are delivered to Forefront. Signature updates, on the other hand, can be delivered at different times and frequencies than Microsoft’s other security software like windows defender. New virus signatures for MSE will be downloaded automatically on a daily basis.

One of the most interesting features for MSE is Dynamic Signature Service (DSS). Like, when MSE detects that a file is making suspicious actions (such as unexpected network connections, attempting to modify some crucial parts of the system, or downloading known malicious content) and there is no virus signature for it, MSE will send a profile of the suspected malware to Microsoft’s servers. If there is a new signature for it, one that has yet to be sent out to the MSE client, MSE will be told how to clean the file. It should be emphasized that this communication will only occur for malware found that is not in the current signatures. This is a completely new feature and indeed the next version of Forefront will also use DSS.

Of course, security aside, the next most important part of security software is undoubtedly the performance. Since MSE doesn’t include many of the features of OneCare, this is an area that Microsoft has a chance to excel in. In fact, the company includes three features in MSE to keep it light: CPU throttling (the system will remain responsive to the user’s tasks), idle-time scanning (scans and updates use a low-priority thread and only run when the PC is idle), as well as smart caching and active memory swapping (virus signatures not in use are not loaded into memory).

Your fundamental system requirement for MSE to function properly in your machine are:

  • For Windows XP, a PC with a CPU having clock speed of at least 500MHz and at least 256MB of RAM
  • For Windows Vista and Windows 7, a PC with a CPU having clock speed of at least 1.0GHz and at least 1GB of RAM
  • VGA (display): 800×600 or higher
  • Storage: 140MB of available hard-disk space
  • An Internet connection is required for installation and to download the latest virus and spyware definitions.

Yes, the other important thing I  want to leave here is that, the genuine validation is required during the installation of MSE. Microsoft Security Essentials requires validation, which means that it won’t be available to anyone using a pirated copy of Windows. But it won’t require registration or personal information of any kind. In fact, not even your Windows Live ID in the name of your personal information is required.


So, the only thing you need is , you agree to the EULA (which you agree for each and every software you use), then validate, download, and you’re done!

Now, lets wait together for Microsoft to make this product to be available for Nepal as well.

Public Cloud Consultant | Microsoft MVP | Solutions Specialist (Azure) | Azure Certified | Microsoft Certified Trainer A decade more experience working across various Microsoft products, programs, projects & technologies. Experience leading CoE (Centers of Excellence) for Azure, Microsoft 365, Dynamics 365 & Power Platform among others. Enabler in customer's hybrid cloud, cloud assessment, migration and modernization journey.

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