Security Essentials test drive — month 6

Fred langa By Fred Langa

After half a year of real-life testing, Microsoft’s Security Essentials anti-malware application is batting 1.000.

All nine test computers — a mix of Windows 7, Vista and XP systems (including two portables with 20,000 miles of travel) — remain malware- and virus-free.

Looking for a better antivirus/security package

Conrad Ware asks a question that’s not only worthwhile on its own but also lets me give you a six-month update on my real-life test drive of Microsoft Security Essentials.
  • “Over the past 20 years, I have used all the big-brand virus and Internet security software: McAfee, Norton, Kaspersky, etc. All of them did a great job doing what they were designed for — and all slowed my computers down to a crawl.

    “I am presently using Windows XP, but I plan to purchase a new laptop with Windows 7 Home Edition and want to use MS Security Essentials on it.

    “Tell me what you can about MS Security Essentials and if it’s OK to use as primary protection.”
Yes it is, Conrad.

Earlier this year, when Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) was still new, I decided to put it to an extensive real-life test by making it the only full-time security solution on my daily-use and portable PCs. I then reported my initial results in the May 6 Top Story, “The 120-day Microsoft security suite test drive.” I also promised future updates.

So here it is: after six months of full-time use on nine different systems, MSE looks like a solid winner.

For my tests, I used Windows’ built-in firewall (on XP, Vista, and Win7) and a copy of Microsoft Security Essentials, which I allowed to run with its default settings. Over the past six months, my main PCs have been online 24/7 and my two portables have logged over 20,000 miles (32,000 kilometers) of use in hotels, coffee shops, cars, planes, ships, and other assorted public venues.

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All Windows Secrets articles posted on 2010-09-16:

Fred Langa

About Fred Langa

Fred Langa is senior editor. His LangaList Newsletter merged with Windows Secrets on Nov. 16, 2006. Prior to that, Fred was editor of Byte Magazine (1987 to 1991) and editorial director of CMP Media (1991 to 1996), overseeing Windows Magazine and others.