Microsoft's Free Antivirus: 1 Year Later, in Brief

Dennis Faas's picture

It used to be that throwing the word 'free' in front of 'antivirus program' resulted in faces twisted with skepticism. But if you throw the name 'Microsoft' in there, too, apparently 30 million people will jump on board in just one year.

Of course, we're talking about Microsoft Security Essentials, a surprisingly robust no-charge antivirus program. In 2009, Microsoft Security Essentials replaced the mildly popular "One Care" suite, which received mostly tepid reviews in comparison to more established security rivals from Kaspersky or AVG.

Microsoft Security Essentials: 1 Year Later

After the official 1 year anniversary launch of Security Essentials last Wednesday, Microsoft announced that the program had been installed on 30 million PCs. Of those 30 million PCs, 27 million had reported attacks -- that's a rate of 87 per cent. It means Security Essentials is doing its job. (Source:

Helping Security Essentials reach that plateau have been some positive reviews from widely-followed tech blogs like PCWorld. It actually ranks higher in usability scores than some not-so-free rivals like Panda and AVG, although its protection and repair features are generally less impressive than those offered by the same companies (in addition to F-Secure, Kaspersky or Symantec).

Still, Security Essentials does perform very well, even if one ignores the price point (or lack thereof). (Source:

Small Businesses To Get Free Antivirus Protection

There's also good news for small businesses looking to cut costs but stay protected: along with its 30 million PC boasting, Microsoft said it would soon offer a licensing program that will allow small companies to legally operate Security Essentials software on up to 10 individual computers.

It's bound to be a hard-to-pass-up offer in this economic climate. "Many consumers and an increasing number of small businesses are either unwilling or unable to pay the ongoing subscription costs for the security suite solutions that come on their PCs," said Microsoft representative Eric Foster in a recent Windows Security blog entry.

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