Microsoft Security Essentials (beta)
This is set-it-and-forget-it software that handles the basic dangers, but doesn't try to compete with big-boy security suites
- Free, easy to use, none of the software bloat and slow performance that bedevilled OneCare
- Still only in beta, yet to be put through its paces by antivirus labs
Microsoft Security Essentials — even in beta form — appears to be a success. It's exceedingly simple to use, takes up few system resources and doesn't cost anything. Those who want fuller-featured security suites that do backups and other functions, or who want to be able to tweak their protection levels in more detail, will look elsewhere.
Microsoft Security Essentials in action
Most of the time, you'll only know that Microsoft Security Essentials is running because you see its icon in the System Tray. Other than that, it leaves you alone unless it finds a problem. It uses very little RAM or system resources, and we noticed no performance hit on my machine when it ran, except when it performed a scan. When it started the scan, my PC slowed down for the first several minutes of the scan, but then ran fine with the scan working in the background.
Scans and updates are scheduled to run when your PC is idle, although you can run a scan manually. They are given a low priority by the operating system, further reducing their impact on your PC. In addition, CPU throttling is used to ensure that the software doesn't use more than 50 percent of your CPU.
When Security Essentials finds an infection on your system, you can have it immediately take action against the threat, or you can click Show Details, at which point you'll be shown as much information as the software has about the threat.
When you click on the Clean Computer option, Security Essentials will either delete the file or quarantine it, depending on the nature of the threat.
Most of the time, that's all the interaction you'll have with Security Essentials - there's very little need to open the program for any other reason. However, if you do open it to, for example, customise its actions in some way, you'll find a very simple interface that to a certain extent mimics the look of Windows Defender.
There are four tabs - Home, Update, History and Settings. Home shows you the status of the software and your system and lets you perform a scan; Update shows you the status of definition updates and lets you update them manually; History shows you a history of the actions the software has taken.
Settings lets you change most aspects of how the program works, including when to perform scans, the type of scan to perform (Quick or Full), what actions to take when an infection is detected and the ability to exclude files, locations and processes from scans. There's actually little reason to change any of the defaults, although it's nice to know you can.
When customising, keep in mind that a Full scan takes significantly longer than a Quick scan. On my system a Quick scan took under ten minutes; a Full scan took more than an hour.
There are anti-malware applications that offer far more customisation than does Microsoft Security Essentials. Avast!, for example, lets you finely tune the sensitivity of its scans, so that you can make them more or less aggressive; you can't do that with Security Essentials. Most people won't miss it, but security tweakers may not be satisfied with the level of customisation available.
Join the PC World newsletter!
Everki ContemPRO Roll Top Laptop Backpack
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive
Epson EcoTank Expression ET-2500
Smart LED Bulb LB130
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Huawei Mate 9
Google Daydream VR headset
Lexar® Portable SSD
Acer Swift 7
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
Surface Pro 4
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Dell XPS 13 laptop
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Huawei Mate 9 full in-depth smartphone review
- 2 ZTE Axon 7 review: Is ZTE dumping old stock on Australia?
- 3 Oppo R9s smartphone full review
- 4 Finally! LG OLED TV 2016 range review
- 5 Huawei Nova Plus smartphone review
Latest News Articles
- A.I. faces hype, skepticism at RSA cybersecurity show
- Hacker hijacks thousands of publicly exposed printers to warn owners
- Privacy groups urge investigation of 'internet of toys'
- Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft and YouTube will share terror content info
- How to password protect a PDF before sending it by email
GGG Evaluation Team
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.
The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.
My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.
- How to quit Pokemon Go (or to start enjoying it again)
- Huawei Mate 9 full in-depth smartphone review
- Time to ditch Foxtel and the iQ3: How to replace Foxtel packages with cheaper alternatives
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- TPBusiness Intelligence Program ManagerVIC
- CCDevops EngineerNSW
- FTSenior Network AdministratorNSW
- FTDevelopment Manager - SaaSQLD
- FTApplications DeveloperACT
- TPJunior Project ManagerVIC
- FTPMO Coordinator-Permanent Opportunity-Education/Government Background EssentialNSW
- FTMonitoring Tools Support l NimSoft , SMARTS, ehealth, TivoliNSW
- TPProject CoordinatorNSW
- CCProject / Portfolio SchedulerNSW
- CCBusiness/Process AnalystQLD
- CCSharepoint Business AnalystACT
- CCSenior Technical SpecialistNSW
- TPSenior Test AnalystQLD
- CCTest Capability LeadNSW
- FTPython DeveloperNSW
- CCSenior Storage System Engineer -NetApp & TSMNSW
- CCSQL Database Administrator (DBA)NSW
- TPBusiness Process Analyst (Newcaslte Based)NSW
- TPInsights ManagerWA
- CCLevel 2 Helpdesk Support (CISCO)QLD
- TPDeployment Specialist (DevOps)QLD
- FTTechnical Consultant MS Dynamics AXVIC
- TPAnalyst Programmer (Adabas)SA
- CCTechnical Consultant - ITSM/HP Service ManagerNSW