Microsoft Security Essentials - Time To Move On, Windows Users

In the technology world, it seems that the only constant is change - which is both a blessing and a curse when you blog about this stuff; on the one hand, there is always something new to talk about, and on the other you need to work hard to keep up with the changes. As recently as last month I mentioned Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) as a basic but functional free antivirus product. MSE is available for Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7, and the "installed-by-default" antivirus on Windows 8 is a rebranded version of MSE, known as Windows Defender - so the comments here would apply to Windows 8 also.

Microsoft Security Essentials has been slipping in the established virus detection tests for sometime now, and now Microsoft themselves seems to be shuffling their feet and looking at the floor, as explained in this HowToGeek article:
Microsoft is doing a disservice to its users by telling antivirus testing companies that they don’t recommend MSE for average users and telling average users that MSE provides them with “comprehensive malware protection” on their website. Microsoft needs to pick one message and stick to it. [emphasis mine]

If you’re a geek, you probably shouldn’t recommend MSE to your friends or install it on your parents’ computer. Yes, it’s a shame — MSE’s lightweight and hassle-free nature make for a great interface and a faster computer. But the core of an antivirus is the detection engine, and Microsoft appears to be throwing in the towel here.
So, if you are using MSE, you may want to consider replacing it and/or using additional protection - you can consult the always updated security section on Gizmo's Freeware site (TechsupportAlert).

If you are okay sticking with MSE, you should also scan regularly with something like the free version of Malwarebytes Antimalware, to make sure you are not blissfully unaware of something that MSE missed.

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