This free software from Microsoft protects against viruses, spyware and other malicious software
Microsoft Security Essentials is a free anti-virus and anti-spyware program.
Installation is simple and a restart is required. Security Essentials also checks for a working firewall and, once the computer has started again, it automatically downloads the latest updates and makes a quick scan of the computer.
The interface is simple with a clear indication of any problems and the next scan. Security Essentials goes to some effort to be as unobtrusive as possible. Scans are set to run weekly on a Sunday and there are settings to ensure they only run when the computer is not in use and to limit the computer resources that will be used.
There is real-time protection in addition to scans. This scans all downloads, monitors files and checks for suspicious behaviour on the computer. Certain files can be excluded from scans to speed them up but care should be taken to make sure this doesn't leave the computer at risk.
This is the download for Windows Vista and 7 32-bit. Other versions can be selected from the Security Essentials web page.
Security Essentials is part of Microsoft Spynet, an online community that collates information about potential threats from other users. Security Essentials works with the basic membership by default but this can be changed to give more or no information to this service if you want.
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