Microsoft Security Essentials 2.0 Now Available (Free)

Dennis Faas's picture

Microsoft has released its second edition of its popular security software package, Security Essentials. Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) 2.0 features a new scanning engine, integration with Windows Firewall, plus network traffic monitoring.

Microsoft Security Essentials: Free, Decent Software

The original MSE was released last year for Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7, as a successor to Microsoft's less-than-successful Live OneCare.

Up that point most free antivirus programs had done little more than detect security threats before petitioning users for a costly upgrade in order to fix them. Microsoft Security Essentials changed that. Critics lauded it for offering a clutter-free interface, reasonably capable detection service, and impressive removal tools.

In all, Microsoft Security Essentials has become a beloved resource for budget-minded PC users and hated by traditional security software vendors. (Source:

Malware Threat Detection Improved

Free, as they say, only gets you so far.

The original Microsoft Security Essentials relied heavily on anti-malware definitions, meaning its threat detection was inferior to other products on the market. However, with Microsoft Security Essentials 2.0, a substantially upgraded heuristic engine makes the program's malware detection much better. It's a necessity, given the constantly adapting work of hackers and malware goons.

More advanced users will also welcome MSE 2.0's integration with Windows Firewall. Settings for Microsoft's firewall can now be adjusted directly through Microsoft Security Essentials. (Source:

Finally -- Network Monitoring with MSE

By far, the most dynamic new feature may be Microsoft Security Essentials 2.0's network inspection feature, which monitors Internet activity as a user browses the web. This is especially useful if you're unsure what your computer is up to (for example: if it's sending information to a server in Russia).

For owners of Windows 7 and Vista, MSE 2.0 uses the Windows Filtering Platform to keep close watch on the networking subsystem. Unfortunately, Windows XP users won't have access to this feature. (Source:

Malicious Web Site Script Heuristics Improved

Microsoft also says Microsoft Security Essentials 2.0 has been better integrated with Internet Explorer in an effort to more closely track threats posed by malicious web site scripts. This system has also been improved dramatically over version 1.0.

Microsoft Security Essentials 2.0 is available through the Microsoft Download Center.

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