Download, Review, Screenshots: Microsoft Security Essentials 4 Public Beta

Microsoft Security Essentials 4 Beta has been released on 29th November 2011, and it is now available for download from the Microsoft Connect website, using your Windows Live ID.

Microsoft Security Essentials 4 Review

When it comes to security, most people are unaware of the risks they take when they expose their computers to multiple websites, open an email attachment, or even plug in, a USB flash Drive or external media like a CD/DVD to the PC. Most of these media may carry malware or unwanted software, which can potentially harm your computer in varying scales. Trojans, Malware, Viruses, Backdoor attacks, Silent Scripts … the list of online/offline threats are very scary. And that is a very good reason you need An antivirus, firweall or some security software to monitor and protect your computer from the wild side of technology.

Modern day operating systems like Windows 7 are quite secure and actively protect you against almost all security threats by making use of inbuilt security measures like,

  1. Malicious Software Removal Tool.  (You can run this Removal Tool by typing mrt.exe into RUN dialogue box. It removes all potentially known security risks like malware software, if present on your PC)
  2. Windows Defender (a free program that helps you stay productive by protecting your computer against pop-ups, slow performance and security threats caused by spyware and other potentially unwanted software.)
  3. Windows Firewall (monitors and prevents incoming and outgoing ports and communications based on security risks. Even controls Applications connectivity to any networks)
  4. Kernel Patch Protection (protects important system files from tampering)
  5. Data Execution Prevention (monitors and prevents unwanted activities or memory usage by potentially unsafe software)
  6. Smart screen filters and additional online filters (built right into Internet Explorer and Windows Live software like Messenger, Mail, etc)
  7. User Account Control.

Given this fact, if you are running an operating system as advanced like Windows 7, you will have all the updates installed automatically on your PC when you go online via Windows Update. Your Windows 7 PC is almost immune to every risks out there. But again, it’s a very dark place – The Internet! Online threats like viruses and modern-day security attacks demand that a PC to have a dedicated Antivirus software. And while there are so many paid/free antivirus software out there, which of course are also good, my personal choice goes to Microsoft Security Essentials.

Microsoft Security Essentials isn’t just an antivirus. It’s a total protection against almost everything that your PC should stay away from. Microsoft Security Essentials is free and is designed to be simple to install and easy to use. It runs quietly and efficiently in the background so you don’t have to worry about interruptions or making updates.

Why use Microsoft Security Essentials 4

Why should one choose Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE), when there are already a lot other antivirus solutions which I can download for free or purchase? It’s a good Question, and its up to your best judgment and choice which software you put your trust on. For Me I chose MSE over others for a lot of reasons.

  1. It’s family. MSE is built for Windows and it works for Windows inside out. It has complete freedom to all system folders and patch protected files, including the grey zones of windows 7.
  2. The User interface is really simple and in most cases it does not require any user attention at all. It runs silently in the background protecting your PC, while you can be afford to be really carefree.
  3. Its Free. you don’t have to register, subscribe or pay just to receive regular protection and updates. It doesn’t nag you by any advertisements or pop up windows or anything.
  4. It gives a full range of protection, without sacrificing system performance or memory space.
  5. Installation is so simple, just two clicks and you are ready. Updates are downloaded automatically.
  6. MSE runs the same Engine that powers Microsoft Forefront, which is an industry proven safety solutions for corporate and huge networks.

Advanced features of Microsoft Security Essentials 4

  1. Real time protection : Real-time protection means addressing potential threats before they become a problem. A file is scanned before you can access it. Alerts notify you when spyware, viruses, or other malicious software attempt to run or install on your PC, and suspicious files and programs are prevented from opening.
  2. Flexible Scanning options : Microsoft Security Essentials offers complete system scanning capabilities with both scheduled and on-demand scanning options
  3. System Cleaning : Threats are categorized as Severe, High, Medium, or Low, and you can choose whether to ignore, quarantine or remove the item from the system. Or you can set MSE to automatically do the actions, incase you want your hands free out of this business
  4. Windows Firewall Integration : Tightly works hand in hands with built-in Windows Firewall
  5. Dynamic signature : It is a way to check whether a suspicious program is bad or not. Before a suspicious program runs, Microsoft Security Essentials pretends to run it to determine what it’s going to do. This gives programs special signatures that are checked against Microsoft’s database of good and bad programs. Programs are watched even after they are approved to make sure they don’t do anything potentially harmful like make unexpected network connections, modify core parts of the operating system, or download malicious content.
  6. Rootkit Protection : Rootkits use stealthy methods malware use to hide themselves and Microsoft Security Essentials has the latest anti-stealth technology to uncover them. also MSE monitors the heart of OS, The Kernel, in real-time.
  7. Network Inspection System : The latest version of Microsoft Security Essentials helps you keep your PC network safe, too. The network inspection system protects against programs like Conficker (MS09-67) and others that exploit network vulnerabilities to infect PCs.

Screenshots of Microsoft Security Essentials 4

START SCREEN

The start screen shows overall protection status of your PC. As you can see from the picture above, it’s really easy to understand in one glance. A green colour band indicates total protected state, A Red/Orange colour indicates a risky state and needs further user inputs and choices. But in 90% cases MSE automatically does all the actions required without any user intervention. You can perform a quick / full / custom scan right from this screen.

UPDATE SCREENSHOT

HISTORY SCREENSHOT

SETTINGS SCREENSHOT

ADVANCED SETTINGS SCREENSHOT

Final Words.

I spent a full day with MSE 4 beta and several cups of coffee, testing the product in every possible way. On overall, I really loved the silent operation mode of MSE. Most of the times I didn’t even have to be in front of the PC, as MSE was doing its work quietly. It’s almost like a trusted warrior dedicated to protect your PC no matter what. Installation was pretty easy, there was nothing to set up (unless your geeky heart wants to open the nuts and bolts of this software). Updates and scanning were all near-to-silent, and needed very less or almost no user interactions. Coming to scanning speed, its much improved as well compared to other third-party solutions and previous MSE versions. it cleaned up all the risks, which I intentionally filled my test PC with. (trust me, I have a flash drive full of the lates viruses and various risky codes for testing purpose). Overall it’s really a good security solution if you want to protect your Windows machine using a Microsoft based Solution.

One more thing. Looks like Microsoft decided to skip version MSE 3, and released MSE 4 directly after MSE 2. Why!? I have no idea. Let me know if you do!

Download Microsoft Security Essentials 4

You can download the Microsoft Security Essentials 4.0.1111.0 Public Beta from here. You may be required to login with your Windows Live ID. The 64-bit MSE 4 is a 11 MB download and the 32-bit MSE 4 a 8.9 MB download. Files can be downloaded using File Transfer Manager (FTM), which is compatible with Windows 98SE and later.

Let me know you experience with Microsoft Security Essentials 4, if you do decide to try it.

This is a guest post by Mister Lee.

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