Microsoft Security Essentials 2.0 Debuts (Beta)

Dennis Faas's picture

Microsoft has unveiled an updated edition of its free security software, dubbed Microsoft Security Essentials. The new edition of Security Essentials is currently in beta edition and offers several new features.

Debuting in September 2009, Microsoft Security Essentials replaces Windows Live OneCare which was based on a paid subscription model. At the time, OneCare was seen as a potential threat to the commercial cyber security market. (Source:

Although there's no evidence yet of a significant effect on sales of premium security products, most reviews of Microsoft Security Essentials have been favorable, with the extent of protection seen as relatively significant for a free product.

MS Security Essentials: New And Improved

The updated edition of Microsoft Security Essentials will include four main improvements and revisions:

Direct Firewall Integration

The software will now integrate directly with the Windows Firewall, making it easy to switch the firewall on and off from within Microsoft Security Essentials itself. In short, the firewall controls what information can get in and out of your computer when you're online a network (such as the Internet).

Internet Explorer Integration

Microsoft Security Essentials will also integrate directly with Internet Explorer to give added protection against online security risks. Given Microsoft's history with competition law, it's possible some may question such a close link between two Microsoft applications. That said, any complaints would probably go nowhere given that both are free products, and in any case most rival browser manufacturers would claim their products don't pose such a security risk in the first place.

Updated Protection Engine

The "protection engine," which is at the heart of Microsoft Security Essentials, has also been updated. Microsoft claims it now performs better both at detecting threats and cleaning them up.

Better Threat Detection, Cleanup

The system also now includes protection against security threats from a local network: for example, malicious software which spreads from machine to machine. However, the Windows component used for this means the feature will only work on Vista and Windows 7.

Limited Numbers Available

The beta edition of Security Essentials is available on a limited numbers basis through Microsoft Connect, though you can also log-in with a Windows Live ID. There isn't a date yet for the final release but, as with all beta software, it's a safer bet to wait for the finished product so that there is enough time to get all the bugs worked out. (Source:

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