How-To Geek

Our Look at Microsoft Security Essentials Beta

Note: This article is part of our archive and is likely out of date.
(Links may not work, downloads have not been recently tested for safety)

Microsoft Security Essentials (previously code named Morro) beta was released yesterday and here we are going to take a look at what you can expect.  This latest security offering from Redmond is an Antivirus utility meant to run alongside Windows Defender and Firewall to take the place of their discontinued OneCare.

Using Security Essentials

Installation is quick and easy following the installation wizard.  The download file is less than 8MB and is light on system resources compared to other Antivirus utilities out there.


You will need to validate your copy of Windows when installing.

2 Validate

After validation and installing the program you can check for updates and scan your system right away.

3 run scan right away

You will get a progress update screen while running the database updates.

4 first update

The user interface is intuitive and nicely laid out making it easy to get protected right away.  You can choose between Quick, Full, and custom scans and Real-time protection is enabled by default.

5 main console

Go into the Settings tab to customize the scanning schedule.

6 schedule scan

Change Real-time protections settings or disable it in settings.

7 real time protection

In Settings you can also change Microsoft SpyNet membership where Basic is enabled by default.  If you choose the Advanced membership a lot more data is sent to Microsoft including locations, filenames, and more information of potential malicious software. If you are concerned about the amount of data being sent you should check out their Privacy Statement.

8 MS spynet

When a scan is complete you will see the results in the main screen.

10 Results

Overall Security Essentials performs fast scan and is light on system resources.  We ran it on a Windows 7 (32-bit) machine with an Intel Dual Core processor and 3GB of RAM and everything ran smoothly.

task mgr

According to their site they are offering only 75,000 beta copies and you will need to sign up for a Microsoft Connect account to get it.  If you are an early adopter and would like to try out the beta click the link below before it’s unavailable.  Right now the official release is scheduled for some time in September.


Microsoft Security Essentials

Brian Burgess worked in IT for 10 years before pursuing his passion for writing. He's been a tech blogger and journalist for the past seven years, and can be found on his about me page or Google+

  • Published 06/24/09

Comments (15)

  1. GoodBytes

    If you are a software developer you won’t like the active real-time protection, as it significantly slow down your compilation project. Luckily you can turn it off easily from the options.
    Other than that, it’s a great A/V! Does not slow down your boot, light on the system, unintuitive very easy to use, very fast (on my 5400RPM laptop HDD it took about 6min to do a quick scan!)

    I am keeping it. :)

  2. Tom

    About the system resources:
    There is also a process “MsMpEng.exe” running (AntiMalware Service Executable), which needs about 50 MB on my W7 x64 … So it is not that “light” (but my former Sophos AV also needs 60 MB).

  3. Bill

    Well it froze up the computer and would not install. Did I try to install it again. I think not. Should have known better than to try a Microsoft product. Thought this time it would be okay. oops I was wrong again.

  4. stacy

    Do you need to uninstall your current version of McAfee Security Center before downloading? I have been very unhappy with MSC for the +2 years I’ve used it.

  5. HugoHilter

    No one needs this software – is this friendly enough?

  6. Mysticgeek


    You definitely don’t want to have 2 Antivirus apps running at the same time.

  7. Kyle

    Wow Geek! those beta copies went fast!

  8. whiplash55

    I’ve been pleasantly surprised with it so far, it uses only 4080K running a scan which was about 25% less than Avira did. I’ll keep using it until something annoys me about it then I’ll move on to the next one.

  9. Tom

    Again, check out “processes from all users” in task manager:
    The underlying “MsMpEng.exe” uses about 55 MB!

  10. whiplash55

    Its running at about 53MBs for all users which is 1/4 what FF 3.5 is using running 6 tabs. While running a Full Scan option.

  11. Mysticgeek

    For those who didn’t get it before the 75k cutoff you can download is from Softpedia:

  12. bill

    microsoft security essentials won’t install-WHY?

  13. s2

    bill, one reason could be too old version of MSI — you need v 3.1 at least :)

  14. Herbie

    I have been using MSSE for about 3-4 mos now. I have not had any issues so far. I run Malwarebytes and SuperAntiSpyware and they have found nothing. A-squared Free hasn’t found anything either so it would appear that MSSE is doing the job and doing it well with a minimum of resources (around 5mb).
    I’ll use it until it causes me grief or fails.

  15. adidas adizero predator

    Its like going thru chemo therapy all over again!!! Terrible breakage that everytime I was and or brush more comes out! Im having terrible flashbacks of chemo treaments. This product is the worst!

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