Microsoft Security Essentials The Only Windows Antivirus You Need

Last week, Microsoft broke its Tuesday update habit and released an upgrade for Microsoft Security Essentials, taking it to version 2.0 on a Thursday.  With the new version, there aren’t many new features to look at visually, but under the hood, they’ve improved on what was already a highly effective anti-virus product.  If you’re still using the bloated Norton or McAfee suite that came pre-installed on your HP computer, here is your opportunity to speed up your computer and get some real anti-virus protection.  And let’s not forget, it’s free!

Microsoft’s latest update to Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) brings in some subtle but powerful new features. Here’s what we’ve found:

  • New and improved heuristic antivirus engine finds new and unknown viruses.
  • Network inspection detects suspicious traffic as you browse the internet.
  • No Firewall notification alerts you when you don’t have Windows Firewall (or an alternative firewall) enabled.

If you already have MSE installed, it should automatically update to version 2.0 via a regular Windows Update.  If you don’t have it yet, get it; there are two places to download it.

  1. Microsoft Security Essentials website, automatic installer
  2. Microsoft Download Site, manual installer

micrsoft security essentials control panel

Based on testing done by using PC Mark Vantage, MSE has one of the highest performance scores when compared to competing antivirus software.  Its memory footprint is small enough that you should never even notice it is running unless, of course, you tell it to do a full system scan.  In past tests, it’s proven to be extremely competent at handling malicious files and breaches.  I’ve had it installed for years and the only time I ever even see it is when it detects something malicious.

microsoft security essentials benchmarks

How To Check What Version of Microsoft Security Essentials You Are Running

Open up MSE and Click the down arrow next to the Help button.  From the context menu Select About Security Essentials.  A pop-up window should appear with tons of version information, the one you want to look at is Security Essentials Version.  As of December 19, 2010 the latest version is 2.0.522.0.  If your computer states an older version, look for a Windows update in your system tray or just download the new version from the links above.

check what version of microsoft security essentials you are running


The new version of Microsoft Security Essentials is groovy, fast, and effective.  But best of all, if you own a legitimate copy of Windows, the antivirus software is completely free.  On a side note, my typical friends & family tech support “dinners” always involve “speeding up” their computers.  The very first thing that I do involves uninstalling their pre-existing antivirus and loading on Microsoft Security Essentials.  Most computers come pre-packed with either Norton or McAfee, but those suites are really, really slow, and they take the entire system down with them.  And yes, it’s true; K7, Kingsoft, Sophos, and Avast all run faster than MSE, but they can’t beat the price. Winking smile



  1. shockersh

    December 20, 2010 at 10:34 am

    Is anyone running the Microsoft AV product for large business / corp? Forefront is what it’s called. I’m wondering if the product is as good as the home version.

    I’m guessing it’s the same engine and security definitions… how is the reporting?



    • MrGroove

      December 21, 2010 at 11:27 am

      Yeah – The Corp. Forefront product is the same as the consumer product. The same backend only with Forefront they are including a full end-to-end centralized management console to compete in the McAfee EPO suite space. Overall, it’s still a few years behind the EPO product however give it time, I’m sure it will eventually catch up. AND, if you have an e-Cal on your Enterprise Agreement with MSFT, it’s “free” so you might as well test it out and give it a shot. So far, it’s getting good reviews. My testing so far is looking pretty good but the reporting is “ok…”.

  2. Überrookie

    December 22, 2010 at 12:32 am

    Update not present in win7 x64 dutch updater, nor available when you check for update in mse. When you download manually its the new version

    • MrGroove

      December 22, 2010 at 11:41 am

      Good to know. Thanks for the update!

  3. charlie613

    December 23, 2010 at 4:54 pm

    I’m currently using avg (also free). Is this better? Should I switch?
    I have Windows 7 64bit.

    • goLfie

      December 23, 2010 at 6:36 pm

      MSE is better than any other free option out there.

      You will run into a few PAID options that are only slightly better, but they are better.

    • MrGroove

      December 24, 2010 at 10:38 pm

      I personally like it better but that might just be me. If AVG is working out for ya and it’s not slowing down your box, you are probably ok. For me, MSE is just dead simple and it works.

  4. Rick

    December 28, 2010 at 7:07 pm

    Just upgraded to Microsoft Security Essentials windows 7 64bit 2.0. Used to have windows XP and had no problems with virus definitions being updated automatically. Now it will only update through my windows update and that only happens once a day. Any way I can force it to update when one is available??


  5. Dave Hoffman

    August 14, 2013 at 12:37 pm

    Here we are in late 2013 on Windows 8. Would you still agree with the conclusion that MSE is all that is necessary and I should get rid of the Norton that came preloaded on my new laptop, and not install the Webroot that came with it from Best Buy?

    • Steve Krause

      August 14, 2013 at 2:43 pm

      Hi Dave,

      That would be my recommendation yes. Some on the internet may not agree with me but, that’s just me. I’m also very careful with what I do on the internet overall (Very picky with the software I download and where I DL it from). Overall, I have no problem standing behind my recommendation of MSE. I’ve found it works great.

      I’ve written a little on the subject of being safe and secure online here – Feel free to check it out.

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