Microsoft Security Essentials
A newer version of Microsoft Security Essentials is available.
This download is served from an external siteclose
NOTICE: This link will open a connection to a third-party site. CNET cannot ensure the security of software that is hosted on external sites.
Full user review
"Simple and effective, but lacking in features"
MSE is a good free antivirus. I especially like that it doesn't require periodical renewal. It also has such a simple interface that anyone can use it.
There are a few flaws, however, that made me decide on a different product.
MSE does not allow the user to schedule definition updates. It updates automatically once a day, and again before each scheduled scan, if that option is selected. That means it is only downloading one (or maybe two, if the scan and the update are far enough apart) definition update per day, which may not be enough for zero-day viruses. Also, the notification icon does not alert you of outdated definitions until they are a week old, which could be really bad. If the computer is turned on after having been off for days, MSE takes its sweet time before checking for updates, when it should check as soon as windows has loaded.
Lastly, MSE does not allow the user to schedule more than one type of scan. I would like to be able to run a full scan once a week, and a quick scan the other six days, but MSE does not offer that option.
Simplicity is a good thing, but a good antivirus should have more customizable settings than this. For these reasons, I switched to something different.