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Microsoft Security Essentials 2.0 Released 175

Greg writes with this excerpt from Ars Techica: "Following a four-month beta program, Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) 2.0 has been released. The new version significantly revamps the heuristic scanning engine, adds Windows Firewall integration as well as network traffic inspection. The update unquestionably makes MSE, which has already become very popular due to its quiet but effective ways, even more of a must-have for Windows users. MSE has always been very good at finding and removing malware, but it has relied mainly on antimalware definitions. The improved heuristic engine makes it even better at detecting threats; at the same time, we expect the number of false positives to slightly increase as well. The new Windows Firewall integration is a minor improvement: it lets you tweak Microsoft's firewall from inside MSE."
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Microsoft Security Essentials 2.0 Released

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  • Nice and Easy (Score:5, Interesting)

    by christurkel ( 520220 ) on Sunday December 19, 2010 @01:55PM (#34608450) Homepage Journal
    MSE has been a lifesaver at our non profit. We put on all our clients' computers. It's free, works great and best of all, no nag screens to "Upgrade" to the pro version, etc. Nag screens tend to upset our consumers. So yes, It's great.
    • Re:Nice and Easy (Score:5, Insightful)

      by davester666 ( 731373 ) on Sunday December 19, 2010 @01:59PM (#34608482) Journal

      Of course, it should nag you to update off IE 6.0...

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        No it shouldn't, since MSE only runs on XP and above and IE7 and 8 were automatically pushed out via Windows Update to OS's that supported beyond IE6, which is XP and above. That is unless you knew about and employed the blocking tool for these updates. So for MSE to nag about IE6 would be inappropriate on an internal LAN, and pointless for someone who's turned off updates or is intentionally running unsafe.

        • No it shouldn't, since MSE only runs on XP and above and IE7 and 8 were automatically pushed out via Windows Update to OS's that supported beyond IE6, which is XP and above. That is unless you knew about and employed the blocking tool for these updates. So for MSE to nag about IE6 would be inappropriate on an internal LAN, and pointless for someone who's turned off updates or is intentionally running unsafe.

          MANY businesses manually update because of the annoyance of rebooted machines that are doing long-term work overnight. MANY businesses are stuck on IE6 still, because of "compatibility changes" in later versions that make their web apps not work (because they incorrectly believed a Microsoft solution would be long term, instead of obsoleted whenever MS felt like changing things around to stop it from working).

    • by Anonymous Coward

      MSE is not free, it is only free for individuals and not for companies.

      • Re:Nice and Easy (Score:5, Informative)

        by datapharmer ( 1099455 ) on Sunday December 19, 2010 @03:17PM (#34609050) Homepage
        Actually that isn't true. It is also available to small businesses on up to 10 computers. Unfortunately there doesn't appear to be anything between the free 10 SMB licenses and forefront licensing which is insanely expensive for small business.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Hmm... from what I could find it starts at $8.64 US per user or per device, per year and goes DOWN from there. How is that "insanely expensive"?

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by barryp ( 31185 )

            Doesn't Forefront also require you have a Windows Server 2003 or later with Forefront Endpoint Protection 2010 server and System Center Configuration Manager 2007? That'd end up being $$$$

        • It says "$8.64 US per user or per device, per year" on this page []. It's not free, but it's far from horrible - although the paperwork to purchase your first licenses could be a bit insane for just $100.
    • It really is a nice product. During a recent "outbreak" of Conficker (all machines were patched thankfully and not vulnerable), AVG did jack, MSE cleaned it up immediately. We're moving away from AVG for all deployments; too many missed viruses (see, "Every Fake Antivirus in the wild since 2009").
  • by FuckingNickName ( 1362625 ) on Sunday December 19, 2010 @01:58PM (#34608474) Journal

    We have loads scattered around for rdp clients / light browsing w/ XP and MSE 1 has been great. Is MSE 2 under XP more of a hog/same/faster?

    • by the linux geek ( 799780 ) on Sunday December 19, 2010 @02:04PM (#34608524)
      It seems to be a genuine improvement. I'll definitely be watching for any performance/stability issues before my company deploys it, but it seems like MSE2 is a step in the right direction for Windows security.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      How is the resource usage of MSE? I've been thinking about giving it a try out of curiousity, but avast! is really good on not using up my RAM and CPU (currently at 8MB and barely ever touches the CPU with active scanning and heuristics detection enabled).
      • by Tridus ( 79566 )

        MSE is the best I've ever used in terms of resource usage. If you don't know its there, it's honestly hard to notice.

      • MSE is currently at 3MB and 0% CPU on my Windows 7 64bit install.
        • It's a little beefier than that on Vista. 4.6 meg for the executable(msseces.exe), and 55 meg for the anti-malware service(MsMpEng.exe). Plus any other things related that are buried in the bowels of the system.

    • I put it on a netbook with Win 7 Stater and its pretty lean. I saw most netbook users in my forum recommending it as well (and they usually advise Avira or something like that for bigger computers).

    • My (mid-range) laptop is only a year old, but I can say that I notice no difference between MSE 2 and MSE 1 for speed, either while scanning or while lurking in the background. So, I'd say go for it.

  • First I want to say I love the first version of MSE.

    Light weight, no nagging, and for most part just stays out of the way.

    The new version seems more of the same, except it's been freezing my PC since I upgraded yesterday. I currently have it un-installed to see it's the problem, and so far my PC is rock solid like it has always been.

    Any ideas or suggestions? I'm "flying blind" right now.

    PS: don't ask me to install Linux (it seems more trouble than it's worth half the time, no offence) or get a mac (I'm brok

    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      Go get a Mac and install Linux on it.

      Really though, have you tried a fresh download and a new install?

      • Yupe.

        After a couple of crashes+restarts from the upgrade, I redownloaded, uninstalled followed by fresh re-install.

        I even upgraded my video drivers - the crashes I have been getting involves my screen just totally freezing (mouse cursor still works though; just can't click anything), similar to the ones I get during WoW when I use to play it.

        Maybe I will reinstall in a week or so, see if anything changes.

    • I do hope I don't get to work tomorrow to find MSE has updated itself to V2.

      I'm in the process of taking over responsibility of our entire IT and it's a nightmare of mis-matched, outdated hardware and utterly pathetic security policies (lack thereof). There are Win 2000 machines on the network with no AV installed and there are XP machines with MSE installed, a terminal services server (Win 2008, the 'Vista' version) with AVG on it.

      Oh, and the company I work for is an insurance broker. Security somewhat ess

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Well, you could just report them to the BSA and get it overwith...

        It is not licensed for companies bigger than 10 employees or some such..

    • by bcmm ( 768152 )

      it's been freezing my PC since I upgraded yesterday

      don't ask me to install Linux (it seems more trouble than it's worth half the time, no offence)


  • MS FTW (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 19, 2010 @02:52PM (#34608836)

    Linux desperately needs something like this, or it will never be able to compete on the Desktop.

    The problem goes even deeper; there is a serious lack of malware written for Linux. It just isn't profitable enough for malware-developers to target the platform. And mainstream adoption will sadly remain a dream until that changes.

    Kudos to MS for showing how it's done.

  • We are currently assessing endpoint security products for around 6,000 desktops. The subject of Forefront actually came up, partly because of it's low cost. Yet, I can't find any evaluation of the product in professional reviews, likely due to how new it is. I'd really like to see how it stacks up for the sake of due diligence.
    • We condidered it last year, for about 800 machines. We didn't go with it because it needed multiple servers, and some of those had to be 32 bit servers. The SQL I believe it was, not totally sure but I think it only ran on a 32 bit sql server, which we don't have any of. Went with Kaspersky, been working great.
    • I don't know of any really good analysis, but it's supposed to use the same engine and definitions as MSE, just with enterprise management tools and business licensing. That may be enough of a basis.

      The other option, of course, is to simply ask Microsoft. You'd have to take what they say with a grain of salt, obviously, but that doesn't mean that they wouldn't know where to find some great reviews and/or case studies. After all, they would have plenty of motivation.

  • So is there anything stopping its adoption in the enterprise and Fortune 500 companies, replacing the likes of Norton? How about managed updates, LAN update server, policy based scanning settings etc?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      you should really use forefront for that. The licensing prohibits use with more than 10 clients.

      If you work @ a F500 company you probably use sccm, the new version of forefront, just RTM:ed, uses sccm for everything.

    • For larger companies and not-for-profits (more than 10 computers), you're supposed to license Microsoft Forefront. For many, that means adding it to your corporate or campus license agreement. It's a pretty good deal.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    When you have upgraded Microsoft Security Essentials - be certain to open the program and click the Setting tab.

    Next, on the left of the Settings tab page, click on Microsoft SpyNet. You might find it interesting that you have been opted-in.
    • It does always ask you before phoning home. Usually it pops up when I install a new version of iTunes that it isn't sure about.

    • While this is true, it's true of plenty of other software, and they make it pretty clear what's going on and what they send. Hell, they named it SpyNet!

      For those not able to check right now, it sends: Where the malware came from, what you chose to do or what MSE did for you, (ignore/quarantine/delete), and whether it worked. Yes, sending that info might get personal data as collateral damage (they'll know you downloaded preteenbj.exe, and probably the file path), but that is by no means a new level of infor

    • by kcbnac ( 854015 )

      Checking within the app to 'Upgrade Security Essentials' didn't find a new version; so I grabbed the 2.0 installer and ran it. It prompted me during the upgrade if I wanted to opt-in or not. I unchecked the box for now. Still need to reboot for the update to finish; finishing up some other things first before kicking that off :-D

  • i have on my uni provided laptop forefront client security. it seems to be identical to MSE. the only problem is that these idiots have made it impossible to change the auto scan schedule. does anybody know of a good reason not to uninstall forefront and install MSE?

    • by jimicus ( 737525 )

      i have on my uni provided laptop forefront client security. it seems to be identical to MSE. the only problem is that these idiots have made it impossible to change the auto scan schedule.

      "These idiots" usually do that kind of thing because it's the only way to ensure that "those other idiots" (ie. you) don't either disable it altogether or otherwise turn down the settings so much that you may as well disable it altogether.

      • yeah well i hate it when i wake my lappie up in the morning, and realize after 15 minutes that 25% of the 6 hour battery has been consumed by a full system scan. i wouldn't have minded a once a week scan. but this thing performs a full scan every day and partial scans every fucking 8 hours. the worst part is that it doesn't care about being on battery power. imo, auto scans should be done only when connected to ac power.
        so, if you can tell me of any difference between forefront and mse i'd be very thankful.

        • by jimicus ( 737525 )

          Afraid not, I don't use MSE.

          Don't really see the point in periodical scans, either. Most modern malware is perfectly capable of hiding itself from such a scan, you need to have the AV product actively running in realtime against everything and block at the perimeter of the PC.

    • According to Microsoft: "For consumers and very small businesses needing protection from malicious software including spyware, viruses, trojans and rootkits, Microsoft Security Essentials is a no-cost, high-quality anti-malware service that efficiently addresses the ongoing security needs of a genuine Windows-based PC. Forefront Endpoint Protection 2010 provides endpoint protection for business environments, including antimalware and additional protections like behavior monitoring and firewall management. F
  • There's one thing I'd like to see in MSE: Control over when it looks for updates. I'd prefer being able to schedule what time of the day it does this, or even have the ability to turn it off and do all updates manually like with all other updates for Windows and Microsoft products.
  • by twomi ( 986768 ) on Sunday December 19, 2010 @04:37PM (#34609630) Homepage Journal
    MSE install fails genuine check on Windows 7 Ultimate and won't even install. Windows is legit and activated and MS website activation passes and says its genuine. Oh well, the good ole trusty M$ quality again...
  • I personally run avast on my windows computers.

    Security Essentials has made it easier for me to convince a lot of people to stop paying for Norton AV because the MS brand eases their mind (the bitter irony).

    It's not that i have a qualm with paying for software, it's just that i don't think Norton does a better job than any of the free AV options.
  • Unfortunately, it still has the restriction that you cannot install it on Windows Server 2008 (the OS I'm using on my development laptop).
  • No new version is being pulled down on an update, and the "upgrade" option only appears on the help menu, which claims version 1.0.2498.0 is the latest version. What gives?
    • It is not on the update servers yet. I guess it gets rolled out gradually to stop a huge surge in traffic. You can download it from, google or bing "microsoft security essentials" to find it

    • It's a staged release, just in case there's a horrible flaw in it somewhere. (Maybe you've been asleep the last year, but there have been a couple incidents with AV software killing people's computers; you can imagine why they would want to be careful.)

      You can either wait a few weeks, or install it manually. The definitions are the same either way.

  • I have switched to MSE and so far am happy with it. Got tired of the Avast nags to upgrade. Poor approach on their part.
  • by box2 ( 1885028 ) on Sunday December 19, 2010 @06:31PM (#34610462)
    What happens when >50% of Windows computers are using MSE, will malware be written specifically to bypass it the same way it does for the other major AV players? Is too much success a bad thing?
    • A software monoculture of any kind (including Windows itself, though it helps that there are three major versions out right now) is more likely to be subject to widespread attack. In fact, this applies to most monocultures; too many of one type of crop will generally spawn a disease that destroys that one crap, for example.

      However, I don't see Symantec, McAfee, or the rest (including the free alternatives) disappearing any time soon, especially not down to Linux or even OS X-level market shares. MSE may eve

      • very true, and for roughly the same reasons. Norton, Mcaffee, webroot have one thing protecting them, regardless of how bad their products get. It dosn't have to catch anything, because 75-80% of consumers don't bother to contact any technical relatives friends etc... They just go to the local store and ask what's good, not knowing that the salesmen have been bribed and trained to push one of the established ones. (staples salesmen get a bonus few bucks for every copy of norton they sell, geek squad's numb
  • Some questions:

    1. Is it less resource-intensive than 1.0? I know that the general view is that MSE is light on resources but my (admittedly old) single-core AMD 3500+ sometimes pauses for several seconds with MSE maxing out the CPU usage.

    2. Does it integrate with 3rd-party firewalls as well? I happen to run Comodo.

    3. Is it available from outside the US? I had to get 1.0 from a 3rd party host.

Loose bits sink chips.