Tuesday, September 29th, Microsoft released Security Essentials which is the anticipated replacement of the Windows Live pay-for-use product One Care. Microsoft terminated One Care in June of this year. The minimun system requirements are as follows:
- Operating System: Windows XP (Service Pack 2 or Service Pack 3); Windows Vista (Gold, Service Pack 1, or Service Pack 2); Windows 7
- For Windows XP, a PC with a CPU clock speed of 500 MHz or higher, and 1 GB RAM or higher.
- For Windows Vista and Windows 7, a PC with a CPU clock speed of 1.0 GHz or higher, and 1 GB RAM or higher.
- VGA display of 800 × 600 or higher
- 140 MB of available hard disk space
- An Internet connection is required for installation and to download the latest virus and spyware definitions for Microsoft Security Essentials.
- Internet Browser: Internet Explorer 6.0 or later, Mozilla Firefox 2.0 or later
- Microsoft Security Essentials also supports Windows XP Mode in Windows 7. For more information see the system requirements for Windows XP Mode in Windows 7.
Security Essentials is already getting mixed reviews from the major security vendors. Carol Carpenter, the general manager of Trend Micro's consumer division, wasn't a fan. "It's better to use something than to use nothing, but you get what you pay for," she said. She doesn't see it as a threat to the major security vendors, but it may present competition for "a free, focused security company, trying to get my upsell over time, like AVG [Technologies], then I'd be concerned."
In my opinion, any anti-malware product is a good thing. I see infected computers all the time since most end users are not even aware their computer is infected until it is too late. Microsoft is simply offering another tool into the free market of anti-malware vendors. The jury will be out on how well they will perform in this arena for some time. Will they keep up with the pace in this volatile market? Only time will tell if Microsoft's security product can succeed. I'm glad to see them doing something because the competition will be more apt to improve their own offerings.
My personal favorite tool in this class is Malwarebytes.org's Anti-Malware. It is a free download for the standard version, and for about $25 you can get the version unlocked, which will run resident in the system tray. There are other tools available like Spybot Search & Destroy and SuperAntiSpyware that have good reputations and lots of devoted followers. SuperAntiSpyware also has a professional version for $29.95 and offers the customer a chance to upgrade to a lifetime renewal for only an additional $9.95. If you do not want the lifetime renewal, updates are $14.95 per year. Spybot Search & Destroy, however, is a free program, but if you use it and like the software, the developers are asking for donations.
Of course you are free to choose any anti-virus anti-malware product that meets your individual needs. In these tough economic times, I personally prefer free tools first, and having another choice, even if it's from Microsoft, is not a bad idea in my book. Tell us in the comments what your favorite security tools are.