Microsoft finally gave up on the paid subscription approach and is now offering a totally free virus and spyware blocker called Microsoft Security Essentials. MSE is a decent utility: it’s a light download which offers real-time (as you save files) protection, and can do a quick, advanced, or custom scan. The interface is simple and it schedules regular scans by default.
I admit: since my desktop is behind my router’s firewall and I’m super-careful about what I do on it, I haven’t run AV or spyware blocking utilities on my PC in years–without a single problem. Happily MSE gave it a clean bill of health. It didn’t try to upsell me for a paid subscription, and it didn’t report that it quarantined harmless browser cookies (a common red herring that malware cleaners use to make you think they’re saving you). While security experts who make their living selling you this kind of software will tell you not to depend entirely on it, I’ll replace AVG Free on Grandpa’s computer with this this weekend. Kudos to Microsoft for finally offering malware protection at the right price.
Microsoft Security Essentials [Microsoft]