The demand for good AV products has seen a sharp rise over the years and that has much to do with the fact that more people than ever are using the internet for professional and personal purposes. Kaspersky, Norton, McAfee are among those with a foothold in this industry. However, all those brands provide paid options only. If you are on the lookout for an AV option that does a decent job at keeping your computer safe and is available for free, then you must definitely consider Microsoft Security Essentials.
A Highly Effective Protection Mechanism
Please note that MS Essentials will work only on computers running Windows 7 or operating systems prior to that. Microsoft has built Windows 8 with its very own AV program known as Windows Defender.
Coming to the effectiveness of Microsoft Security Essentials, the program is able to protect a PC from 85% of the total malware situations floating around the web. The blocking performance of MS Essentials could have been better as it manages to block completely only around 50-60% of the viruses. Although the program managed to neutralize quite a few viruses after their infections took root, a dozen or so infections still managed to pass through. Now, a dozen is not too large a figure considering that this is a free program. Having said that, some people might still find this a bit problematic and this gives Microsoft another area to work at. On a brighter note, the program does well in identifying false positives. Rest assured, you won’t have to bother about your legitimate software programs getting blocked during productivity sessions.
Setting up the AV
Post installation, MS Essential recommends a complete scan. Having done with that, the program automatically schedules a quick scan to be performed weekly apart from setting up real-time monitoring to protect your computer from any threats. The ‘Update’ button on the AV allows you to check for updates and other information. The main window displays information on the protection status of your computer and some other related stats.
To check on the various items that have been quarantined you can hit the ‘History’ tab. You have the option of either permanently removing or restoring them. The ‘Settings’ tab allows you to explore the different settings of the MS Essentials program. You can change the manner in which the program behaves with detected threats. You can also choose to exclude certain areas on your hard drive from virus and malware scans. Removable drives scanning can also be set up.
Summing it Up
Overall, Microsoft Security Essentials is quite handy. The simplicity of the program makes it highly usable. It also integrates wonderfully well with Windows, which is something to be expected. All in all, MS Essentials puts up a good (but not enough) fight against paid AV programs.