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Microsoft sneaks out Security Essentials 2.0

Microsoft Security Essentials 2.0

By Barry Collins

Posted on 20 Dec 2010 at 09:38

Microsoft has quietly issued a second version of its free Security Essentials suite.

The software has been slipped out without any press release or announcement on the Microsoft Security blog, despite containing a series of new features and improvements.

Although users would be hard pressed to notice any visible changes, there has been notable work taking place beneath the surface.

The antivirus engine has benefited from the same upgrade applied to Microsoft's paid-for Forefront Client Security suite for businesses. The new engine offers "efficient threat detection against the latest malware and rootkits" and "protection against 'unknown' or 'zero day' threats through behaviour monitoring and emulation", according to Microsoft.

One reason why Microsoft might not have decided to draw attention to the upgrade is the new integration with the Windows Firewall. Users are now asked whether they want to turn on the Windows Firewall during installation, dragging Security Essentials closer to becoming a full fledged security suite, rather than the standalone antivirus app it was originally.

Rival security firms Panda and Trend Micro recently complained about Microsoft's "anti-competitive" behaviour with Security Essentials, after the software was included in Microsoft Update. Panda called for a Windows security ballot, similar to the one offered for internet browsers.

Microsoft Security Essentials 2.0 is available for download here. It's not currently being offered via the software's own upgrade mechanism.

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User comments


MSE v1 was a great bit of software; it looks like v2 is even better.

It's free for home users and small businesses.

By Stiggy on 20 Dec 2010

Antivirus Vendors need to offer value

I moved to Security Essentials at the time I install windows 7 64 bit as so few AV vendors has products on time.
My biggest gripe with the AV companies (or at least McAfee and Symantec)is that you can buy their products retail for a reasonable price but the annual upgrades are always at FULL LIST so a product that costs you £20 for year one costs up to £50 for year 2. If they fixed their greed problem perhaps people (i.e. me!) would not see them as parasites.

By milliganp on 20 Dec 2010


Does anyone have any figures, or failing that, first impressions on whether it is noticeably more performant / less resourse intensive than v1 (I'm not saying v1 was bad).

The recent Computer Shopper labs in Antivirus/Security suites said nothing about memory and CPU usage - which seemed a very great pity.

By Cantabrian on 20 Dec 2010


Milliganp, you aren't paying so much for the software itself, as for the service. You are getting updates several times a day.

If you buy a magazine, you have to pay each year for the subscription. Usually the only discount is if you decide to take out several years worth of subscriptions at one time.

The updated software, each year, is pretty irrelevant without the hourly updates.

That said, I've been using MSE for a good while now and have been fairly impressed with it so far.

By big_D on 20 Dec 2010

Download page

Interestingly, the download page linked in the article gives the version number as 1 but with a date published of 16/12/2010.

By ferret16 on 20 Dec 2010

@milliganP - And I've found that you can register a new product from Amazon or eBay, in place of buying the overpriced renewal from your anti-virus vendor.

Saying that, when my subscription runs out, I'll be moving to MSE.

By pbryanw on 20 Dec 2010

I've been running MSE since it was launched and had a Onecare subscriptio before that - never had any problems with it. When I heard about the improvements for version 2 I checked and was already running 2.x - I downloaded a beta version ages ago (with the same background as in the image above).

By simbr on 20 Dec 2010


The link for MSE2 in the article above now leads to a blank page!

But download from the MSE homepage and the file version shown is 2.0.657.0

By marnewton on 23 Dec 2010


The link for MSE2 in the article above now leads to a blank page!

But download from the MSE homepage and the file version shown is 2.0.657.0

By marnewton on 23 Dec 2010

Price Beater

Have a look at VIPRE antivirus. Every year they have a "Black Friday" offer which allows you to purchase your next annual renewal at half price for $9.95. They have repeated this without fail since I installed VIPRE several years ago.

It is also an excellent antivirus app, (small footprint, minimal drain on your system, rates up near the top in tests) which for some reason unknown tends to get ignored by the media (including, regrettably, PC Pro). So it is usually excluded from their "antivirus roundup" tests to the extent one suspects a conspiracy somewhere!

By Jerkface on 23 Dec 2010


Link leads to a download for either AMD64 or x86.

Using the link for MSE at the bottom, get you the next page where if you click download the popup other downloads for XP / vista - 7 32 bit & Vista - 7 64 bit.

By bigluap on 24 Dec 2010


.. the comment about VIPRE. They also have offers on extending to other computers in your home.

By Dairs on 28 Dec 2010

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