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Microsoft Free Anti Virus Microsoft Security Essentials

B.Sc. (Hons), M.Sc., MBCS, CITP

Microsoft Free Anti Virus Software comes in the form of Microsoft Security Essentials. Codenamed Morro, this is Microsoft Virus Protection for home computer users like you.

From June 2011 Microsoft Security Essentials is free to install on all genuine Windows installations.

As of 2012, it is the second most popular anti virus program in the world. This takes into account both free anti virus software and Commerical programs you pay for.


Microsoft Security Essentials reached end of life on the 14th January 2020 and is no longer available for download. Microsoft will continue to release signature updates (including engine) to service systems running MSE until 2023.

Microsoft Security Essentials is replaced by Windows Defender in Windows 8+. It is essentially the same as MSE, only re-badged and re-worked for Windows 8+

Only the Avast! Free Antivirus program is more popular. As discussed on the Free Virus Removal Software page, I use Microsoft Security Essentials on all of my home computers without any problems.

This is why I decided to share with you this 3-part tutorial series on Microsoft Free Virus Removal software.

In part 1 we look at things like:

  • The hardware requirements (What your computer needs to run the free anti virus program)

  • What you should do first if you decide to use this free anti virus software

  • Where to download the Microsoft Free Anti Virus Program

  • How to install Microsoft Security Essentials

In part 2 Microsoft Security Essentials, we look at things like:

  • How real-time protection works

  • The different proactive scan options and when to use them

  • How the free anti virus software deals with a detected virus or other threat

Part 3 Microsoft Virus Protection looks at how to set up for maximum protection (in my humble opinion).

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Microsoft Free Anti Virus Download And Installation Instructions

Before we look at the download and installation instructions, a few words on the hardware specification of your computer(s). Microsoft suggests following system requirements:-

  • Windows Vista SP1+ and Windows 7:- 1GHz+ CPU, 1 GB RAM

  • All Windows versions must have 200 MB HDD Space available and Internet access to receive the latest Virus and Spyware definitions

Modern computers will have no performance problems running this free anti virus program.

  • To download the Microsoft Free Anti Virus Program go to the Microsoft Security Essentials page and select your operating system version from the drop-down menu

  • Next, click the Free* Download button (Microsoft have re-designed their website and the button now simply says Download Now)
  • The free computer virus Scan tool is approximately 13.5 MB in size, and is downloaded to your computer

Microsoft Security Essentials SaveMicrosoft Security Essentials Save

  • Locate the downloaded mseinstall.exe and double click it to start the installation process. Click the Run button if prompted
  • The Microsoft free anti virus files that are to be installed onto your computer will be extracted from the downloaded mseinstall.exe and placed into a temporary folder on your hard disk

File Extraction ProcessFile Extraction Process

  • Next, the Welcome To The Microsoft Security Essentials Installation Wizard screen appears. Click the Next button
  • On the Microsoft Security Essentials Software Licence Terms screen click the "I Accept" button
  • Next you need to decide whether to Join The Customer Experience Improvement Program. The decision is entirely up to you. 

    I tend not to join the program and click the "I Do Not Want To Join The Program At This Time" radio button. 

    If you fancy joining the program, click the Join The Customer Experience Improvement Program radio button.
  • On the Optimize Security screen make sure the If No Firewall Is Turned On, Turn On Windows Firewall (Recommended) option is checked. 

    It is an essential part of your home computer's protection to have a firewall installed an activated. If you don't, please do it now! I cannot stress enough how important this is.

Optimize SecurityOptimize Security

  • The Microsoft Free Anti Virus Program performs some final checks before prompting you with some good advice before starting the installation process. 

    If you decide that the Microsoft Free Anti Virus tool is for you, please remember to download Microsoft Security Essentials first, then Uninstall Your Current Anti Virus Program! 

    Failure to do so could result in conflicts between the two anti virus programs, and instability of your operating system. 

    Click the Install Button when you are compliant with this advice.
  • Microsoft Security Essentials now installs on to your computer. Times vary, but this does not take too long on a modern computer.

Microsoft's Free Anti Virus Program InstallingMicrosoft's Free Anti Virus Program Installing

  • On the Completing The Microsoft Security Essentials Installation Wizard Screen, tick the Scan My Computer For Potential Threats After Getting The Latest Updates box. 

    Ticking this box makes sure the smallest window possible exists between completing the installation of Microsoft Security Essentials, and a scan of your PC for the latest viruses. 

    Click the Finish Button to continue.

Installation CompleteInstallation Complete

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Final Thoughts

A Microsoft' Free Anti Virus Program removes computer virus files it knows about from your PC. I've used this program since release and think it is an excellent product.

In fact, a lot of my fellow IT professionals are starting to use Microsoft's free anti virus program for their personal use, such is the quality of this anti virus software.

Part 2 Microsoft Security Essentials walks you through the proactive scan options and what to do if a malicious program is detected in your machine.

Finally, take a look at the Types of Malware page for further details and articles about this important subject.

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