Microsoft Security Essentials rated best free antivirus software

November 1, 2009

Microsoft Security Essentials rated best free antivirus softwareWhen Microsoft announced Microsoft Security Essentials, its new free antivirus software designed to replace Windows Live OneCare, it was treated with contempt by the vendors of both other free antivirus software and the paid-for security suites. But a recent testing of the most popular antivirus products placed MSE on a par with the paid-for products and above its free competitors.

A free antivirus product from Microsoft was touted for a year before it finally appeared. Originally codenamed Morro, MSE (Microsoft Security Essentials) was officially announced in June 2009. After a brief period of public beta testing, in which the product gained a resoundingly positive reception, it was finally released as a full product late September.

A couple of weeks later came evidence that MSE had already proved its worth, with 2.6 million people having downloaded the product and it making four million infection detections in the first week. And it isn’t just users who are impressed with the software Microsoft is offering, with a new study into the effectiveness of several antivirus products rating MSE very highly.

According to Ars Technica, AV-Comparatives tested 16 security products, both free and paid-for. The test focused on the malware removal/cleaning capabilities of the products rather than the detection and prevention capabilities.

Antivirus Results

The results, as seen above, were divided into ‘Removal of malware’ and ‘Removal of leftovers’, with the antivirus software then giving a rating based on their performance in the test.

Symantec, eScan, and Microsoft Security Essentials were the only products to get Good ratings in both categories. And those three, along with F-Secure, Kaspersky, and Bitdefender were awarded Advanced+ ratings. ESET, Sophos, AVG, McAfee, Avast, AVIRA, and Trustport were rated Advanced; Norman, and G DATA were rated as Standard; Kingsoft was Tested.

This is a great result for Microsoft because it puts MSE on a par with the best paid-for products and ahead of both paid-for and free alternatives.

Microsoft Security Essentials is still not perfect but it’s clearly a solid product that will do as good or better a job at protecting your system as a host of other security suites. Meanwhile, the beta testing program continues, with new builds continually being sent out. So Microsoft is continually looking to improve the product to keep Windows-based PCs healthy and working.

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