Microsoft Gives Out Free PC Security

    September 29, 2009
    Chris Crum

Microsoft has launched a new free anti-malware tool called Microsoft Security Essentials. The service is designed to protect consumers from viruses, spyware, and other malicious software.

The service has two very strong elements going for it. For one, it is from Microsoft, which means it comes from a well-known brand that practically all consumers are familiar with. Secondly, it’s free, and that is another word that resonates with consumers.

Microsoft Security Essentials"Consumers have told us that they want the protection of real-time security software but we know that too many are either unwilling or unable to pay for it, and so end up unprotected," said Amy Barzdukas, general manager for consumer security at Microsoft. "With Microsoft Security Essentials, consumers can get high-quality protection that is easy to get and easy to use — and it won’t get in their way."

Microsoft says Security Essentials is designed to run quietly in the background on PCs, and alert users only when there is an action for them to take. The company also says it limits CPU and memory usage, so there is less of an impact on everyday performance. They say this is even true on older or less-powerful PCs. Here are the requirements:

– Operating System: Genuine 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: Windows Internet Explorer 6.0 or later or 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

"Microsoft is focused on the challenges that prevent consumers from running up-to-date anti-virus software today, particularly in emerging markets where there is a growing prevalence of malware," said Jon Crotty, security analyst at IDC. "With Microsoft Security Essentials, Microsoft is helping to reduce some of the barriers that constrain consumers from running AV."

The product takes advantage of "real-time protection," and is the first Microsoft security product to make use of the company’s new Dynamic Signature Service. This is a technology that is said to help ensure users stay protected by the most current virus definitions available without having to wait for the next scheduled download.