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]
This post sums up my thoughts exactly! About 2 months ago, AVG Free started issuing weekly upgrade-nags to all my relatives. I gave some the MSE Beta, and the rest will be getting the newly released version, ASAP.
It puts almost no additional load on the system, and hasn’t done anything to bother me. The other AV vendors need to take notice: after years of expensive solutions that ran like molasses (and acted like viruses themselves), and free products that were complicated and naggy, Microsoft has just eaten all their lunch.
Unfortunately, my grandparents actually paid for Norton 360. They have a netbook (who doesn’t these days?) and I put Ubuntu Netbook Remix on it. I want to put the full version of Ubuntu on their desktop, but I don’t want to waste their money after they JUST bought Norton. That computer runs like crap, and they use IE8 (because I install updates) but I know it’d run like a dream with Ubuntu.
Being behind a firewall isn’t enough protection. I certainly hope you run as a limited user when browsing around and keep all your browser plug-ins up-to-date with security releases. It can be really tough to know when a rootkit has taken over your system.
I agree that MSE looks good for parents and grandparents use. Geezers need protection too.