Microsoft Security Essentials 4.0 released, free anti-virus without the nag

By on April 25, 2012, 4:00 PM

Microsoft has just released version 4.0 of its free anti-virus utility, Microsoft Security Essentials. Since MSSE's release in 2009, its effectiveness, speed and features have been well-received. As a result, the anti-virus program enjoys a great deal of popularity in the U.S. and remains a TechSpot Editor's Pick along with two other solid, free AV offerings: Avast! and Avira.

A Microsoft spokesperson had this to say about the new release:

This update to Microsoft Security Essentials is part of the standard product update release cycle. This service update contains product enhancements to improve performance and user experience. We have improved on Microsoft Security Essentials' Automatic Remediation, which will automatically quarantine highly harmful threats without prompting the user to take action as well as minor bug fixes in set up, malware remediation and other areas."

Source: cnet.com

In beta since late 2011, the final release of MSSE 4.0 brings users a familiar but updated interface and "enhanced automatic remediation". In plain English, this means MSSE will now immediately quarantine files that it believes are high-risk, rather than waiting for user intervention. As we have all discovered by now, anti-virus utilities aren't absolutely correct 100 percent of the time, but this feature aims to limit the amount of damage done during the lag time between the introduction of a dangerous file and the user's reaction.

Spynet, which was introduced with Windows Defender in Vista, has been replaced with MAPS (Microsoft Active Protection Services). However, there is no indication this is more than just a name change for the community-based detection service.

The latest release of MSSE is supposed to be pushed out automagically through the Automatic Windows Update service. However, based upon past experiences of others and myself, major MSSE version upgrades have remained a manual installation-only affair. Current MSSE users, especially using 2.0 or earlier, should consider upgrading manually.

Also, in order to install MSSE, your installation of Windows must pass the Windows Genuine Advantage validation. If you're running a pirated version of Windows -- as always -- you do so at your own peril. 




User Comments: 33

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cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Thanks for the heads up.

captainawesome captainawesome said:

I've tried all three editors pick's in the list and after all the years (since 2007) only one remains triumphant: Avira! It is by far the best. It's faster, lighter and most of all it does not cause random things to break like Microsoft Outlook.

What I don't like about MSE is that it updates through windows updates. That's very annoying coz I set my updates to manual on windows

lawfer, TechSpot Paladin, said:

If you're running a pirated version of Windows -- as always -- you do so at your own peril.

Gotta love how that, right there, has become like this thing everyone knows and accepts but do nothing about. I think Microsoft knows the pirated versions of Windows in reality have done nothing but actually help its virus-like widespread across the world.

Guest said:

Security Essentials is (like Hotmail) one of the great freebies MS offers its users and is one of the many reasons Microsoft's tarnished image over the years recently has turned golden.

Guest said:

You can just update through MSE instead of Windows Update...

hahahanoobs hahahanoobs said:

^And when you do it gives you instructions to use Windows Update.

" However, based upon past experiences of others and myself..."

Such as?

Staff
Matthew Matthew, TechSpot Staff, said:

Security Essentials is (like Hotmail) one of the great freebies MS offers its users and is one of the many reasons Microsoft's tarnished image over the years recently has turned golden.

I like MSE a lot too, but you're laying it on a little thick, no?

Guest said:

Not the newest version. When you click...Check for updates...it starts checking for updates.

Guest said:

I like MSE a lot too, but you're laying it on a little thick, no?

Not really. MS is easily taken for granted and all the great stuff it does do is often overlooked, even if there seems to be a growing and respectful appreciation of the company these days.

Now, if Microsoft would only give us something like Garage Band...

Staff
Rick Rick, TechSpot Staff, said:

Security Essentials is (like Hotmail) one of the great freebies MS offers its users and is one of the many reasons Microsoft's tarnished image over the years recently has turned golden.

When my clients question the MSSE based on its "free" price tag, I tell them to consider it Microsoft's apology for their Windows problems. :-)

An AV should be seen and not heard. That's where ever free anti-virus fails, except MSSE. Avira, AVG and Avast will nag you -- and rightfully so, they want your money afterall -- but MSSE??? It sits in the corner like a good little program and doesn't say a peep. You never have to "re-register" it etc...

EEatGDL said:

When my clients question the MSSE based on its "free" price tag, I tell them to consider it Microsoft's apology for their Windows problems.

An AV should be seen and not heard. That's where ever free anti-virus fails, except MSSE. Avira, AVG and Avast will nag you -- and rightfully so, they want your money afterall -- but MSSE??? It sits in the corner like a good little program and doesn't say a peep. You never have to "re-register" it etc...

Totally agree, I've tryed other free popular AVs and others are even once configured more intrusive. I just remember I have AV when MSSE stops viruses from my friends USBs, and then it stays quiet. I kind of share a similar opinion to others about "Microsoft's apology", I think they took a right choice after leaving Live OneCare and offering something decent -I know how to clean USB flash memories manually through any program (usually Notepad) and in all times cleanings were done right by MSSE.

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

The thing I find ironic about it is that there was no middle ground for Microsoft. Around the turn of the century (heh) they were sued and attacked for daring to even bundle a media player with their OS. Them trying to put in a AV suite would be just another nail in the monopoly coffin.

Then overnight, everyone started criticizing MS for not bundling an AV suite with their OS, labeling it a major oversight and vulnerability.

stevewal said:

I like it, started using it after AVG started to slow down my system to much.

I doesn't get the best reviews but neither do the other free AV programs.

nigel said:

Whilst for performance - speed - Microsoft has a good score if you look at last months virus protection they scored at the bottom of the table.

After allowing for false positives - Microsoft had none at this time. It was only awarded a ONE Star rating.

Would think that the article needs amending as its giving the incorrect impression of the software.

Avast and others on the two measures is a lot better in my opinion and based upon the results published!

[link]

Guest said:

I was a beta tester for this version of MSE and I had no problems at all, everything worked very well. I recommend MSE for your WIndows anti-malware program. I've fixed other computers that used other vendors anti-virus programs and still got malware by using Microsoft Safety Scanner (a stand alone .exe version of MSE).

Guest said:

I tried MSE the other week, but it had a disagreement with some aspect of my system set up. BSOD or unplanned reboot 4 times in 4 hours after installing it, and unable to complete a full scan. It wasn't the 4.0 version though, so maybe I'll try again.

TS-56336 TS-56336 said:

MSE is not as punitive as the BitDefender anti-virus. Been using it so long since time immemorial.

sapo joe said:

Thank you, but I'll keep my Symantec Endpoint Protection. Best one out there.

pgianni8 pgianni8 said:

In the spirit of capitalism I almost feel bad for Norton and Mcafee, on second thought, won't lose too much sleep over it. I do like the guy that said its MS apology for all the Windows problems lol!

Guest said:

Indeed. Hotmail together with Skydrive is by FAR the best offering out there, and I've tried them all over the past couple of decades.

gingerbill said:

must admit microsoft have done great work in recent years with MSE. They deserve credit on stepping up there game.

Guest said:

Free or not, MSSE is just not good enough in tests.

I use the free Comodo instead. Best in tests or as good as Norton.

Comodo though, is NOT easy to understand or use. A smart user will still need a year or so, before they really like Comodo, and know it's functions. You can install it so it's easy to use, and for most that's fine.

I've used most Av over the years, but with Comoo I have never had a single attack, that was not caugh before it could do any harm.

Been using pc's since 1982, and here pc and lap's are on wifi 24/7/365...

But!!! Av is not the pronlem as I see it.

If people use MSSE they often stick with the built in firewall from MS..and that's like asking for trouble.

See the firewall as the frontdoor with locks. You prevent entering if it's good, and if better you also prevent the attacks leaving (in case they try to remove information from you)

The reason Comodo is so good..is spelled firewall.

My advice..close windows built in firewall AND then use "comodo internet security" firewall-av-and defense+(takes care of unknown attacks)

Want to pay for the program? Get norton Internet security..similar to comodo and also very good.

BUT don't use all the crappish av the market is flooded with. Norman, avg etc..Just look at serious tests and you'll understand.

(There are some good programs beside those above! But trying to be serious..I won't pretend knowing those I don't use. Here I just have to trust the tests)

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Free or not, MSSE is just not good enough in tests.

I use the free Comodo instead. Best in tests or as good as Norton.

Comodo though, is NOT easy to understand or use. A smart user will still need a year or so, before they really like Comodo, and know it's functions. You can install it so it's easy to use, and for most that's fine.

I've used most Av over the years, but with Comoo I have never had a single attack, that was not caugh before it could do any harm.

Been using pc's since 1982, and here pc and lap's are on wifi 24/7/365...

But!!! Av is not the pronlem as I see it.

If people use MSSE they often stick with the built in firewall from MS..and that's like asking for trouble.

See the firewall as the frontdoor with locks. You prevent entering if it's good, and if better you also prevent the attacks leaving (in case they try to remove information from you)

The reason Comodo is so good..is spelled firewall.

My advice..close windows built in firewall AND then use "comodo internet security" firewall-av-and defense+(takes care of unknown attacks)

Want to pay for the program? Get norton Internet security..similar to comodo and also very good.

BUT don't use all the crappish av the market is flooded with. Norman, avg etc..Just look at serious tests and you'll understand.

(There are some good programs beside those above! But trying to be serious..I won't pretend knowing those I don't use. Here I just have to trust the tests)

I wish that AV test data would hold my attention for more than about 30 seconds. After that I wish that guests would refrain from believing that long winded posts such as this would make them creditable and 100% correct..

The trouble is I already know how fire walls work, so that part of the discourse is unnecassary, at least from my point of view.

I keep telling everybody that AVG Free does a bang up job, doesn't give me a stich of trouble, is easy to use, and most importantly, protects my computer in stellar fashion.

Where my approach differs is that I simply don't care what you use, nor am I at all likely to try and convince you to convert to my security methods.

Marnomancer Marnomancer said:

No MSE, thanks. Avira works for me. And I'm among the population that refuses to pay for crap. Why pay $79 when you can get twice the protection for free?

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

No MSE, thanks. Avira works for me. And I'm among the population that refuses to pay for crap. Why pay $79 when you can get twice the protection for free?

I've tried all the free AV "Solutions". In a strange twist of result, Avira is the only product that ever let anything through to the point where I went ahead and reformatted.

Accordingly, as I stated above, "your results may vary". So use whatever you like. I will say Avira has the most annoying "Buy Me Now" nag screen in the business. And no, don't trouble yourself by telling me there's a way to defeat it's. It the thought that counts, or so they say, and I've already, shall we say, "gotten the message"!

Marnomancer Marnomancer said:

Yes, the nag can be annoying. It opens up unwelcome, right in your face.

Guest said:

Now, if Microsoft would only give us something like Garage Band...

Why, so there can be yet one more app 99.99% of the world doesn't don't care about or use?

Guest said:

Well I used Norton 360 for 8months and It caused my windows 7 to Crash every 6weeks and their technical assist was very poor? (sorry none existent) (since removing it no problems) touch wood ! I have used windows essentials since, and had no probs on my computer. So that's the one I and millions of others recommend.

Route44 Route44, TechSpot Ambassador, said:

Been using NOD32 for several years and have no problem paying the $ for a great product. I also use the Avast free on two other systems plus their $ for my wife's laptop. Again, great products. And for my son's laptop the MSE offering which has done well for him.

As the Captain rightly points out your "your results may vary" and "use whatever you like."

Guest said:

First, when referring to a previous post, does the whole post have to be reprinted?

Does the person making the reply do that, or is it how this forum is set up ?

Anyhow, it's annoying as hell.

(See captaincranky @ Apr 30, 5:39 AM - was it really necessary to repost the previous guy's entire comment?)

Second, although Avira is an excellent antivirus, I'd never recommend it as a 'set-it-and-forget-it'

program.

I've tried it several times over the last 7 or so years on different rigs and different OS's, and the free version has always had automatic update issues.

(Just for shitz and giggles, you free Avira users go check your update logs now.)

I've tried every suggestion given in their forums, and I've concluded that the problem is on their end; they know about it (there's enough letters in the forum to show that), and they don't care.

MSSE is still not up to par, AVG can't seem to catch Avira and Avast.

So Avast Free is my choice.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

First, when referring to a previous post, does the whole post have to be reprinted?

Does the person making the reply do that, or is it how this forum is set up ?

Anyhow, it's annoying as hell.

(See captaincranky @ Apr 30, 5:39 AM - was it really necessary to repost the previous guy's entire comment?)

Second, although Avira is an excellent antivirus, I'd never recommend it as a 'set-it-and-forget-it'

program.

I've tried it several times over the last 7 or so years on different rigs and different OS's, and the free version has always had automatic update issues.

(Just for shitz and giggles, you free Avira users go check your update logs now.)

I've tried every suggestion given in their forums, and I've concluded that the problem is on their end; they know about it (there's enough letters in the forum to show that), and they don't care.

MSSE is still not up to par, AVG can't seem to catch Avira and Avast.

So Avast Free is my choice.

I don't suppose you'd believe that I requote an entire post for the simple reason that I believe the OP has so much of value to contribute, that it bears repeating.

Didn't think so.

In any event, I going to sign out and and install whatever AV you're using. It must be great since you put so much conviction into your proselytizing of it....Yay Avast!

BTW: My sons "genius" wife allowed the only copy of "Avast" I ever installed to be killed by Facebook. Jus' sayin. That's when I stopped using it.

Um also, it would mean a great deal to me if you'd click the "Like" button for this post.

Guest said:

They forgot to allow for Proxy Configuration. You can work around this by running proxycfg -p proxyserver:port or netsh winhttp set proxy proxy-server

Guest said:

In general today it's much easier keeping PC's clean then it was several years ago.

Personally most of us don't have enough situations to know which is really best etc, so we need to rely on others who do this for a living their word. Whatever your fav is today, if something did get by and do damage, who's to say you next AV wouldn't have failed as well?

I know MS lost a lot of business and respect 5-10 years ago when viruses were running rampant. If somehow their O/S could have run and been protected like they are now, their name would have been a lot better and I bet their stock prices would have reflected it.

I ghost all home systems, I don't run any live protection. I do updates. On my personal pc, I have not had one virus or even spyware malware for over 4 months now. The later one's that is unheard of. Now I do have some protection add-on's for Firefox, the general one's, 3rd party cookies off etc.

When I run AV and Spyware on family pc's, no AV's in a long time (no one running realtime) and a much lower Spyware count, like every 30 days maybe 20 pedestrian one's.

We all have fears and what we think is best, so I don't preach what you should or shouldn't do. My house is ultimately protected by full ghost system backups. But things have gotten so so much better. One could school me that letting my guard down is a unwise choice, perhaps correct. But I haven't run full-time protection since something like '07.

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