Microsoft Security Essentials Product Information

What is Microsoft Security Essentials?

There are a host of nasty intruders on the Internet including viruses, trojans, worms and spyware. Microsoft Security Essentials offers award-winning protection against these intruders without getting in your way.

The best brains and brawn in the background

Microsoft Security Essentials is built for individuals and small businesses, but it’s based on the same technology that Microsoft uses to protect giant businesses (security products like Microsoft Forefront, the Malicious Software Removal Tool, and Windows Defender). We have a whole team watching for new threats and coming up with ways to squash them.

We’re proud to have received great recognition for the protection we offer: the VB100 award from Virus Bulletin Ltd., Checkmark Certification from West Coast Labs, and certification from the ICSA Labs.

Westcoast Labs
Virus Bulletin

Easy to get, easy to use

Downloading and installing Microsoft Security Essentials is free* and easy. Once you have installed it, the software updates automatically once a day. We’re constantly tracking new threats and we keep your PC updated to help protect you. You don’t have to do anything.

Microsoft Security Essentials uses green, yellow and red color codes to designate the security status of your PC and a color-coded icon in the taskbar tells you at a glance if your attention is needed. It’s simple—when you’re green, you’re good. However, if there’s a red or yellow threat, Microsoft Security Essentials will alert you and recommend what to do (you can act directly from the notification area without having to enter the application).

 Runs quietly without hurting PC performance

Microsoft Security Essentials runs quietly in the background. You’ll only be alerted when there are specific actions to take. When you’re away or busy, Microsoft Security Essentials can take the default action on your behalf and you can open the program later to review and undo those actions if you wish.

Microsoft Security Essentials is efficient and compact. Scans and updates are scheduled to run when the PC is idle and the software works in a way that your PC is still snappy when you’re using it. All this makes Microsoft Security Essentials friendly for all sorts of computers—your old PC, your new PC, your laptop, as well as your little netbook.

* Internet access fees may apply while downloading. | Microsoft Security Essentials Privacy Statement Microsoft Security Essentials License Agreement

Features and benefits

Why get Microsoft Security Essentials?

Microsoft Security Essentials is world-class security for your PC that's free* and easy to download. Here are some ways Microsoft Security Essentials helps keep your PCs safe without getting in your way or making you worry.

Real-time protection
System scanning
System cleaning
Windows Firewall integration
Dynamic signature service
Rootkit protection
Protection against real threats, not good software

* Internet access fees may apply while downloading. |  Microsoft Security Essentials Privacy StatementMicrosoft Security Essentials License Agreement

System Requirements

The new Windows comes with Windows Defender

Windows Defender for Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows RT 8.1, Windows 8, and Windows RT provides built-in protection against malware. You can't use Microsoft Security Essentials, but you don't need to—Windows Defender is already included and ready to go. But if you’re looking to protect a PC with an older version of Windows, you can use Microsoft Security Essentials to help guard against viruses, spyware, and other malicious software. It provides real-time protection for your home or small business PCs.

Minimum system requirements for running Microsoft Security Essentials

Microsoft Security Essentials is free* and easy to download and use. Here's what you need to run it:

  • Operating System: Windows Vista (Service Pack 1 or Service Pack 2), Windows 7
  • A PC with a CPU clock speed of 1.0 GHz or higher, and 1 GB RAM or higher.
  • VGA display of 800 × 600 or higher.
  • 200 MB of available hard disk space.
  • An Internet connection is required for installation and to download the latest virus and spyware definitions for Microsoft Security Essentials.
  • Internet Browser:
    • Windows Internet Explorer 6.0 or later.
    • Mozilla Firefox 2.0 or later.

* Internet access fees may apply while downloading. |  Microsoft Security Essentials Privacy Statement Microsoft Security Essentials License Agreement

Article ID: 18869 - Last Review: May 25, 2016 - Revision: 39