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Goodbye Microsoft Security Essentials: Microsoft Now Recommends You Use a Third-Party Antivirus

How-To Geek Goodbye Microsoft Security Essentials: Microsoft Now Recommends You Use a Third-Party Antivirus

Microsoft Security Essentials (Windows Defender on Windows 8) was once on top. Over the years, it’s slid in the test results, but Microsoft argued the tests weren’t meaningful. Now, Microsoft is advising Windows users to use a third-party antivirus instead.

This revelation comes to us from an interview Microsoft gave. Microsoft’s official website still bills MSE as offering “comprehensive malware protection” without any hint that they no longer recommend using it. Microsoft is not communicating well with its users.

Update. Microsoft has now released a statement. saying “We believe in Microsoft antimalware products and strongly recommend them to our customers, to our friends, and to our families.” Their statement unfortunately doesn’t directly address Holly Stewart’s comments or MSE’s history of worsening test scores. Given MSE’s poor scores, all the stories we’ve heard about it failing people in the real world, and Microsoft’s inconsistent communication, we still don’t feel we can recommend MSE anymore.

A Strong Start

Microsoft Security Essentials was once on top of the rankings. In 2009, AV-Comparatives.org gave it a very high score and said it was the best-performing free antivirus.

MSE was very appealing to Windows geeks like us, who quickly latched onto it. It received very good malware detection scores, was extremely speedy, and was free. Not only was it available for free — it wouldn’t hassle you and try to upsell you to paid antivirus solutions, like AVG and avast! do. MSE was a breath of fresh air — both in its interface and its speedy performance. Its test results showed it was ahead of the pack, so it was best antivirus at the time.

We’ve been recommending MSE as the free antivirus to use for years because of this. It’s included by default on Windows 8 and named “Windows Defender.” This is one of the big security improvements in Windows 8 — you have an antivirus included so every Windows user has protection. It would be nice if Windows users finally didn’t have to seek out a third-party antivirus.

Sliding Scores and Excuses

Over the past several years, Microsoft Security Essentials has slid in the malware detection scoring tests. AV-TEST’s 2011 annual review ranked Microsoft Security Essentials last place in protection among all the products it tested. In October 2012, Microsoft Security Essentials scored so low that it lost its AV-TEST certification. In June 2013, MSE received a zero protection score from AV-TEST — the lowest possible score. It’s also come last in other recent tests, including one by Dennis Technology Labs.

The below chart shows MSE at the bottom of AV-TEST’s charts for July and August 2013. When it comes to malware protection, it tested below every other antivirus program tested.

At the time, Microsoft argued that the tests were not representative of the real world. They said they were focused on trying to stop real-world threats, not compete in tests where the detection of rare malware was a significant factor. They argued that avoiding false positives was an important goal and that real-world experiences were more important than arbitrary test results.

Geeks like us here at How-To Geek believed them, taking them at their word. We certainly had used Microsoft Security Essentials on our personal computers for years. We hadn’t encountered any malware, even after performing scans with other antivirus programs to get a second opinion. We liked Microsoft Security Essentials for being so lightweight, unintrusive, and not trying to upsell us to paid security suites full of system utilities we don’t need. We liked the idea that Windows 8 users wouldn’t need any additional antivirus protection, eliminating another complicated system tool from Windows users’ lives.

Microsoft Has Stopped Trying

The Microsoft Security Essentials website promises “comprehensive malware protection” and “award-winning protection,” so users would be forgiven for believing that Microsoft was committed to making MSE a capable antivirus solution. But Microsoft is now saying that MSE is only basic protection that users shouldn’t rely on.

In an interview with Dennis Protection Labs. Holly Stewart, the senior program manager of the Microsoft Malware Protection Center, said that Microsoft Security Essentials was just a “baseline” that’s designed to “always be on the bottom” of antivirus tests. She said Microsoft sees MSE as a first layer of protection and advises Windows users to use a third-party antivirus instead.

According to Holly Stewart, Microsoft “had an epiphany a few years ago, back in 2011, where we realised we had a greater calling and that was to protect all Microsoft customers.” She says that Microsoft passes its information on to other antivirus makers and helps them make their products better. “We used to have part of our time directed towards predicting test results,” but these people have now been directed to focus on emerging threats and share that information with other antivirus companies.

She went on: “We’re providing all of that data and information to our partners so they can do at least as well as we are. The natural progression is that we will always be on the bottom of these tests. And honestly, if we are doing our job correctly, that’s what will happen.”

Nevertheless, she argues that “baseline does not equal bad” and says they provide a high-quality antivirus. But Microsoft themselves are recommending users not use MSE, so it’s hard to take that seriously. This isn’t a product average people should use — it’s better than no antivirus, but not something we should recommend. Microsoft is doing a disservice to its users by telling antivirus testing companies that they don’t recommend MSE for average users and telling average users that MSE provides them with “comprehensive malware protection” on their website. Microsoft needs to pick one message and stick to it.

If You’re a Geek, You Can Probably Get By With MSE

Now, if you’re a geek like we are, MSE and Windows Defender are very usable. If you have good security practices and know what you’re doing, you can manage just fine with this lightweight option. But average Windows users don’t always follow proper security practices and should use a strong antivirus that does well in tests — as Microsoft themselves now recommend.

If you’re a geek, you probably shouldn’t recommend MSE to your friends or install it on your parents’ computer. Yes, it’s a shame — MSE’s lightweight and hassle-free nature make for a great interface and a faster computer. But the core of an antivirus is the detection engine, and Microsoft appears to be throwing in the towel here.

So What Should You Use?


Do you know how effective your antivirus programs is? A variety of organizations regularly compare antivirus programs, throwing a large. [Read Article]

To find an antivirus product that actually offers good protection, consult an antivirus test website and see how your antivirus of choice stacks up. If you don’t feel like doing all that research yourself, luckily we’ve done it for you.

Kaspersky and Bitdefender consistently rank in the top of both the AV-Test and AV-Comparatives rankings, and we’ve used both products with good results. They aren’t free, but most of the free antivirus out there is bundling extra nonsense or trying to redirect your search engine to their “secure” solution that isn’t really secure and just shows you more ads or spies on your shopping habits.

We’d like to apologize for continuing to recommend Microsoft Security Essentials for so long, in spite of test results. We found it worked for us and we didn’t like how heavy and obnoxious other antivirus solutions can be. We believed Microsoft when they argued that MSE provided “comprehensive malware protection” for real-world threats and that antivirus tests weren’t representative of real-world results, as MSE performed well for us. We feel betrayed by Microsoft — they made an internal decision to let MSE decline without telling us. They’re still communicating two different messages — one to antivirus testing companies in interviews and one to average users on their website.

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    Microsoft Security Essentials - Microsoft Wiki

    Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE ) is a free antivirus software product created by Microsoft that provides protection against different types of malware such as computer virus. spyware. rootkits and trojan horses for Windows XP (x86 [3] ), Windows Vista. and Windows 7 (both x86 and x64 [3] ). [4] Microsoft Security Essentials replaces Windows Live OneCare. a commercial subscription-based antivirus service and the free Windows Defender. which only protected users from adware and spyware. [5] Unlike Microsoft Forefront family of enterprise-oriented security products, Microsoft Security Essentials is geared for consumer use.

    Microsoft Security Essentials received positive reviews upon its release.

    Development Edit

    Microsoft announced plans for a free consumer security product, codenamed Mao on 18 November 2008. [6] It marked a change in Microsoft's consumer antivirus marketing strategy: Instead of offering a subscription-based antivirus with a host of other tools, such as backup and a personal firewall. Morro would be free for all genuine installations of Windows not intended for business use (with an exception for small home based businesses) and offers protection against all types of malware. [7] Microsoft Forefront would be offered alongside MSE, with central management tools not present in MSE.

    On 23 June 2009, Microsoft opened a public beta to 75,000 people in the United States. Israel. People's Republic of China and Brazil. At the time, Microsoft stated that MSE would be finalized and released before the end of 2009, in 20 markets and 10 languages. [8] The final build was released on 29 September 2009 [9] [10]

    Hardware requirements for MSE differ, depending on the operating system. For Windows XP, MSE requires at least a 500 MHz processor and 256 MB of RAM. On Windows Vista and Windows 7, MSE requires a 1 GHz processor and 1 GB of RAM. Under any compatible operating system, a VGA screen of 800 ? 600 or higher, 140 MB of free space, and an Internet connection are also required. [11]

    Future release Edit

    On 19 July 2010 Microsoft released the beta version of Microsoft Security Essentials 2.0. The key new features are: Updated protection engine, protection against web-based threats and a network intrusion detection system that works on Windows Vista and Windows 7. [12] [13]

    Features Edit

    MSE is a security suite designed for consumers and lacks centralized management features which are found in Microsoft Forefront Client Security. It includes the same anti-malware engine (dubbed "Microsoft Malware Protection Engine", or MSMPENG for shortTemplate:Not in citation ), and virus definitions that all other Microsoft desktop anti-malware products share, including Forefront Client Security, Windows Live OneCare, and Windows DefenderTemplate:Not in citation (Defender excludes the antivirus definitions which are separate from the antispyware definitions). [14] Before installation, MSE checks for the validity of the installed copy of Microsoft Windows. MSE requires no registration or personal information. [15] MSE will disable Windows Defender, as it provides protection against malware, not limited to spyware and adware. [5]

    Using default settings, archived files are decompressed, and then scanned. File downloads and e-mail attachments are also scanned. Its Dynamic Signature Service attempts to better identify malicious files by checking for updates if an application exhibits suspicious behavior. [16] Before taking action against a suspect file, MSE prompts for user input. If no response is received in ten minutes, then the suspected malware is handled according to its default action, letting MSE determine what to do with the malware. System Restore points are created before removing found malware. [17]

    MSE automatically checks for and downloads virus definition updates which are published three times a day to Microsoft Update. [18] Alternatively, users may download the updates manually from Microsoft Security Portal. [1]

    In February 2010, a rogue security software package calling itself "Security Essentials 2010" appeared on the Internet. [19]

    Licensing scheme Edit

    Microsoft allows users to freely download, install and use Microsoft Security Essentials on an unlimited number of their computers in their households, so long as each computer has a genuine copy of Microsoft Windows. Microsoft Security Essentials checks for validity of the operating system during and after installation. If the operating system is found to be not genuine, Microsoft Security Essentials will notify the user of the issue, and may cease to operate after a period of time. [2]

    Microsoft Security Essentials software license agreements also denies the user the right to reverse-engineer, hack, decompile or disassemble the software or to publish or disclose the results of benchmark tests of this software to third parties without prior written approval from Microsoft Corporation. [2]

    Reception Edit Industry response Edit

    Microsoft Security Essentials scanning an Unknown Win32/Trojan virus file.

    On 19 November 2008, after Microsoft publicly announced Microsoft Security Essentials under the code-name "Morro", Symantec and McAfee shares fell 9.44 and 6.62 percent respectively. Microsoft shares also fell 6 percent. Amy Barzdukas, senior director of product management for the Online Services and Windows Division at Microsoft announced that Microsoft Security Essentials will not directly compete with other paid-for antivirus software; rather it was "focused on the 50 to 60 percent [of PC users] who don't have, or won't pay for, antivirus protection, antimalware protection". [20]

    Symantec. McAfee and Kaspersky Lab. three competing antivirus vendors, dismissed Microsoft Security Essentials as a competitor, claiming that Microsoft Security Essentials is not as good as their own software. [21] [22] Tom Powledge of Symantec claimed OneCare offered "substandard protection" and an "inferior user experience", implying MSE would be the same. [ citation needed ] Joris Evers, director of worldwide public relations for McAfee stated "With OneCare's market share of less than 2%, we understand Microsoft's decision to shift attention to their core business." [23] Justin Priestley of Kaspersky stated, "[Microsoft] continued to hold a very low market share in the consumer market, and we don't expect the exit of OneCare to change the playing field drastically." [23]

    AVG Technologies however, viewed MSE positively. An AVG Technologies representative stated, "We view this as a positive step for the AV landscape. AVG has believed in the right to free antivirus software for the past eight years." Nevertheless, AVG raised the issue of distributing the software, "Microsoft will have to do more than simply make the product available." [23]

    Despite its appreciation of Microsoft Security Essentials as a free product, AVG Technologies stated that integration of Microsoft Security Essentials with Microsoft Windows would be a violation of competition law. [24] McAfee and Sophos both affirmed that an antitrust lawsuit would surely have followed if Microsoft had bundled Microsoft Security Essentials with Windows. [25]

    On 10 June 2009, Microsoft announced that a beta version of Microsoft Security Essentials would be released in a near future but did not specify a date; subsequently Microsoft shares grew by 2.1 percents. Both Symantec and McAfee shares fell by 0.5 percents and 1.3 percents respectively. Daniel Ives, an analyst with FBR Capital Markets said Microsoft Security Essentials would be a "long-term competitive threat", though near-term impact would be negligible. [4]

    Reviews Edit

    Microsoft Security Essentials seen in Online scan.

    The public beta received several positive reviews, citing its low resource usage, straightforward user interface. and price point. [26] [27] [28] [29] Brian Krebs of The Washington Post found Microsoft Security Essentials used only 4 megabytes of RAM during testing, even during scans. A "quick scan" took about 10 minutes, and a "full scan" about 45 minutes on an installation of Windows 7. [28]

    Ars Technica reviewed it positively, citing its organized interface, low resource usage, and its status as freeware. [30]

    PC World noted its "clear-cut" and "cleanly designed" tabbed user interface. At the top of the main tab, the security status is clearly shown. The other three tabs allow users to manually update Microsoft Security Essentials, review its history, and change program settings. However, PC World found some of the settings to be cryptic and confusing. Settings, such as what to do when malware is found, default to "Microsoft Security Essentials' recommended action". There is no explanation of the recommended action except in the help file. The editor was also confused because Microsoft Security Essentials does not mention it automatically updates itself within the interface; some may believe they must manually update MSE through the "Update" tab. [27] However, this was included in the final release.

    PC Magazine cited MSE's small installation package (about 7 MB, depending on the operating system) and its speedy installation. On the downside, the full installation occupied about 110 MB of disk space, and the initial update took 5 to 15 minutes. The editor also noted the fact MSE sets Windows Update into its fully automatic mode, which automatically downloads and installs updates although it can then be turned off again through the control panel. Installation succeeded on 12 malware-infected systems. Some full scans took over an hour on infected systems; however, a scan on a clean system took 35 minutes. [26]

    According to Neil Rubenking, a PC Magazine author, in an on-demand scan test that he conducted, Microsoft Security Essentials Beta found 89 percent of all malware samples: It found only 30 percent of commercial keyloggers, 67 percent of rootkits and only half of scareware samples. The suite's real-time protection found 83 percent of all malware samples and blocked the majority of them: In this test, Microsoft Security Essentials found 40 percent of the commercial keyloggers and 78 percent of the rootkits. [26]

    The official release of Microsoft Security Essentials, however, fared better in AV-Test.org test: It detected and caught 98.44 percent of 545,034 computer viruses. computer worms and software Trojan horses as well as 90.95 percent of 14,222 spyware and adware samples. It also detected and eliminate all 25 tested rootkits. It generated no false-positive at all. [31]

    On 7 January 2010, Microsoft Security Essentials won the PC Advisor 's Best Free Software award. [32]

    Impersonation by Malware Edit

    The fake Microsoft Security Essentials Alert.

    MSEA scanning some infected files needed to be removed from the PC.

    The popularity of Microsoft Security Essentials has led to the appearance of malware abusing its name. In February 2010, a rogue security package calling itself "Security Essentials 2010" appeared on the Internet. Designated TrojanDownloader:Win32/Fakeinit by Microsoft, it bears no visual resemblance to the Microsoft product but the legitimate and fake versions are aligned differently. [33] [34] It reappeared in November 2010, this time calling itself "Microsoft Security Essentials 2011". [35] A more dangerous rogue appeared in October 2010. Designated Rogue:Win32/FakePAV or Unknown Win32/Trojan. it closely resembles Microsoft Security Essentials and uses sophisticated social engineering to deceive users and infect their systems, under the guise of five different fictional anti-malware products. It also terminates and prevents the launch of 156 different programs, including Registry Editor. Command Prompt. Internet Explorer. Mozilla Firefox. Opera. Safari and Google Chrome. [36] [37] [38]

    Ошибка 0x80070643 при установке Microsoft Security Essentials на Windows XP

    Ошибка 0x80070643 при установке Microsoft Security Essentials на Windows XP

    Этот пост я хочу посвятить некоторым ошибкам, с которыми сталкиваются пользователи при установке бесплатного антивируса Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) на компьютеры.

    Наиболее частой ошибкой при установке MSE на Windows XP является возникновение во время установки ошибки 0x80070643 или 0x8004FF01 .

    Эту проблему можно решить очень простым способом – необходимо убедиться в том, что на компьютере установлен пакет Windows Instasller версии 3.1 или выше, который необходим для инсталляции MSE. Посмотреть наличие установленного пакета Windows Instasller можно в разделе панели управления “Установка и удаление программ”:

    В случае если он не установлен, его необходимо установить вручную, скачав отсюда и перезагрузить компьютер.  После этого можно устанавливать антивирус Microsoft Security Essentials.

    Ещё одной проблемой, которая приводит к ошибке установки является наличие установленного на компьютере любого другого антивируса, который не был удален перед установкой MSE.  Перед установкой MSE все сторонние антивирусы необходимо удалить. В случае если установка  антивируса была некорректная или он сам был поврежден, тогда удалить такой антивирус корректно и полностью не всегда бывает возможным стандартными средствами операционной системы. Но отчаиваться не стоит и переустанавливать операционную систему также не нужно. ) Практически для каждого антивируса есть своя программа деинсталляции выпущенная самим производителем антивируса на случай, если удаление антивируса средствами операционной системы оканчивается ошибками.

    Приведу практические примеры.

    — деинсталлятор Drweb  называется “Drweb Antivirus Removal Tool” и последнюю версию можно скачать отсюда ;

    — для ESET NOD деинсталлятор называется ESET Uninstaller и последнюю версию можно скачать отсюда ;

    — для антивируса Kaspersky  деинсталлятор называется Removal tool for Kaspersky Lab products и последнюю версию можно скачать отсюда ;

    — для антивируса AVG x32/x64 деинсталлятор называется AVG Remover и последнюю версию можно скачать отсюда для 32-битных ОС / отсюда для 64-битных ОС;

    — для антивируса Symantec (Norton) деинсталлятор называется Norton Removal Tool и последнюю версию можно скачать отсюда ;

    — для антивируса McAfee  последнюю версию деинсталлятора можно скачать отсюда ;

    — для антивируса BitDefender последнюю версию деинсталлятора можно скачать отсюда ;

    — для антивируса Panda последнюю версию деинсталлятора можно скачать отсюда ;

    — для антивируса Trend Micro последнюю версию деинсталлятора можно скачать отсюда для 32-битных ОС / отсюда для 64-битных ОС;

    — для антивируса Avast последнюю версию деинсталлятора можно скачать отсюда ;

    — для антивируса OneCare последнюю версию деинсталлятора можно скачать отсюда ;