I have written before about free anti-virus programs. Now a new program is available from a company that knows quite a bit about Windows' security problems: Microsoft.
Every Windows computer needs to have an anti-virus, anti-spyware, anti-rootkit, and anti-Trojan program installed. You can find several to choose from at your local computer store for perhaps $20 to $60 or so. However, knowledgeable computer users have successfully used free anti-virus programs for years.
Note: While all the free anti-virus programs do seem to protect against viruses, not all of them protect against the other problems: spyware, rootkits, and Trojans. The new program from Microsoft claims to protect against all of those.
Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE), is now available for Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7. Microsoft is officially releasing its free, real-time consumer anti-malware 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.
Note: "malware" is an abbreviation meaning "malicious software."
Microsoft warns that MSE should not be installed alongside any other anti-malware application.
I installed Microsoft Security Essentials on a Windows XP system. It has only been running for a few hours and I don't have a virus testing lab so I cannot vouch for its performance. A few producers of competitive anti-virus programs have questioned its accuracy, but I would question their motives. After all, no company wants powerhouse Microsoft to release a free product that takes away their business! However, independent reviewers and testers have stated that Microsoft Security Essentials works well.
Microsoft Security Essentials is available for Windows XP 32-bit (8.61MB) at http://download.microsoft.com/download/A/3/8/A38FFBF2-1122-48B4-AF60-E44F6DC28BD8/mssefullinstall-x86fre-en-us-xp.exe, Windows Vista/7 32-bit (4.28MB) at http://download.microsoft.com/download/A/3/8/A38FFBF2-1122-48B4-AF60-E44F6DC28BD8/mssefullinstall-x86fre-en-us-vista-win7.exe, and Windows Vista/7 64-bit (4.71MB) at http://download.microsoft.com/download/A/3/8/A38FFBF2-1122-48B4-AF60-E44F6DC28BD8/mssefullinstall-amd64fre-en-us-vista-win7.exe.
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.
If you use Windows and you do not have a current anti-virus, anti-spyware, anti-rootkit, and anti-Trojan program installed, you NEED Microsoft Security Essentials!