The secret new free antivirus software from Microsoft, that a lot of people have been waiting for has been leaked. Until now it was known only by its codename Morro. However, it seems that Microsoft has settled on Microsoft Security Essentials as the final name of the product.
Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) is currently in private beta and not ready for consumption. However, being the inquisitive kind, I decided to have a look. Morro or MSE is a really tiny package and the setup occupies just 4.7 MB. This is significantly less than most other products in its category. Immediately after installation MSE prompted me to update the antivirus database. In fact it refused to work before updating! This is because MSE comes without an database. The first update was a whopping 31.2 MB download. Besides the update option MSE also comes with a separate Upgrade option, that is indented to install the latest version of the client.
MSE is a simplistic solution with a very simple interface. It has two components – a real time scanner and an on-demand scanner. Besides these two it provides the user with very little options to tinker with. And this is good. MSE is mostly targetted at the average PC user. While I definitely appreciate the flexibility of Kaspersky and their likes, they may confuse a lot of people. I feel that Microsoft has got the design aspect just right. There are 4 tabs – Home, Update, History and Settings.
The home tab shows a quick overview and provides access to the on-demand scanner. Three scanning profiles are available – Quick, Full and Custom.
As the name suggest the Update tab allows the user to update the program database.
The history tab allows the user to keep track of all deleted and quarantined items as well as trusted items.
The settings tabs is for the various configuration options. There isn’t much over here. You can specify the default actions for various level of alters raised by MSE and list the excluded processes, files, folders and filetypes from here.
MSE looks to be promising. Its a light-weight simplistic antivirus solution thats meant to just do its job. However its impossible to judge a security product merely by its looks. We shall have to wait till MSE has been put to the test by the likes of Av-comparatives.org and Av-test.org. But that will have to wait, since the final release of Microsoft Security Essentials is still quite a distance away. If you feel like trying out MSE before that you can easily find the download links via Google Search. However, keep in mind that this is a pre-release software and may have undesirable effects on your system.