Microsoft Security Essentials for Windows

  • Free

  • In English
  • V 4.10.0209.0
  • 3.8

  • Security Status

Softonic review

Joe Wainer
Joe WainerUpdated 5 months ago

Lightweight malware protection

Microsoft Security Essentials protects your Windows PC from even the latest malware attacks. Microsoft Security Essentials is a free antivirus program designed especially for Windows systems. If you have Microsoft Essentials it will run quietly in the background and protect you against all types of malware attacks. This includes viruses, Trojan horses, spyware, and more.

Real-time protection against sophisticated malware attacks to your system.

Choosing the right antivirus protection for your computer can be a difficult task. You need to balance the size of the software and how it will affect the speed of your computer, with the price and the level of protection it offers. From supermarket deliveries through Amazon to online banking, we are exposing ever more of our personal and financial information online.

Microsoft Security Essentials is a mid-range antivirus program that you may have for free in your Windows OS. It receives signature updates to protect your PC against the latest types of malware. These signature updates are stored within the program to bolster it against increasingly sophisticated system attacks.

What are the best features of Microsoft Security Essentials?

Microsoft Essentials 64-bit is an antivirus program designed for Windows 7 and Windows 10 operating systems. It is simple to navigate, runs automatically in the background performing system checks warding off malware attacks and flagging up suspicious sites, and is completely free. The protection offered is basic in comparison to cloud-based antivirus programs. The advantage of a system-integrated software like MSE is that it will be less resource-heavy and scans may be faster. If you have it running on a slower operating system like Windows 10 it could be complementary to your system ability. Put simply, it does what it says on the tin.

Can you run MSE on any Windows computer?

As of 14 January 2020, Microsoft has discontinued new downloads of Microsoft Security Essentials. If you already run this program in your system you will carry on receiving the signature updates until 2023. Therefore for an antivirus protection plan that is being invested in and ever-improving you may be better looking elsewhere.

Do you need Microsoft Security Essentials as well as Windows Defender?

The short answer is: no. If you have a Windows PC running on an older operating system like Windows 7 then your Microsoft Essentials free download will guarantee you extra real-time protection for your online security. Later Windows operating systems including Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 already have Windows Defender to manage system security. Running multiple antivirus programs simultaneously is not recommended – it will slow your system down and they could render each other less effective.

Is Microsoft Security Essentials the best antivirus software for you?

To a certain extent, your malware protection (and it is highly recommended you do have some antivirus solution) is a personal choice based on budgets, protection preferences, and system requirements. For Windows users, there are more sophisticated malware protection programs. Bitdefender, Norton Antivirus, and McAfee. Bitdefender is a feature-rich antivirus program that will filter malware from all internet browsers, protect your financial security during online banking, manage your passwords and more. The level of your protection depends on the price tier you choose.

Kaspersky is another favorite – and for good reason. A light and fast-running antivirus choice that guarantees your online security for a reasonable fee. Another highly rated solution is Norton. The latest Norton antivirus suite also offers you 25GB of cloud storage and backs up your data and personal files. Norton is also a family favorite as it includes parental protection for children browsing the internet.

All three antivirus programs offer better protection against even the latest and most sophisticated malware attacks, benefiting from their cloud technology. Also choosing a solution with other perks like cloud storage and data backup is a handy two-in-one. Taking full advantage of all their features, however, does come at a price.

If you are looking for a free antivirus protection noteworthy platforms include, Avira, AVG or Avast. Avira scores highly in antivirus test scores even for the free version. You can tweak the configuration settings depending on the level of system scan you want to run. The paid version also comes with a virtual private network (VPN). AVG is an excellent free antivirus software and another Windows favorite. Even the free version is resource-rich and offers an impressive antivirus database, small footprint on the system and a navigable dashboard to run it from.

What do you need to run Microsoft Security Essentials?

In order to retain Microsoft Security Essentials you will need 200MB of space available on your hard disk and 1GB ram or higher. Other system requirements are a VGA display of 800 x 600 or more and a CPU clock speed of GHz or higher. Finally remember that MSE antivirus is a program only for certain operating systems, namely Windows 7 and Windows Vista.

Is it worth keeping Microsoft Security Essentials?

Antivirus programs come in all shapes, sizes and prices. Microsoft Security Essentials is a sensible choice for certain users. This program is now being phased out by Microsoft and replaced by Windows Defender. It does not include some of the extra features you will find in alternative antivirus programs like a free VPN, cloud storage or password storage.

What you do get in return however is a lightweight and fast-running program that will tick along automatically in the background silently protecting you Windows PC against viruses, phishing attacks, spyware, and Trojan horses. Later versions of Windows including the operating systems XP, Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 will already have Windows Defender built into their systems. For slower Windows operating systems this more basic antivirus program is more than adequate and won’t make the system lag. Best of all, it is completely free.


  • Free
  • Lightweight
  • Fast


  • Discontinued from newer systems
  • No more signature updates after 2023
  • No longer available for first-time download

Program available in other languages

Microsoft Security Essentials for PC

  • Free

  • In English
  • V 4.10.0209.0
  • 3.8

  • Security Status

User reviews about Microsoft Security Essentials

  • Rubi kumari

    by Rubi kumari

    i am using essencial then i will decided that this is better for me

  • utsav nag mandal

    by utsav nag mandal

    Its good but I think it would be better if it disinfects the infected files...I usually like the products designed by the famous Microsoft and this is More

  • Larry Toulch

    by Larry Toulch

    I trust this works.
    I find its great .I had it on my old Toshiba Laptop
    and Im planning to install it to my Acer chrome book

  • Penh Ngeth

    by Penh Ngeth

    it is good for clean virus in my computer no problem in virus

  • lalitkumar shrivastava

    by lalitkumar shrivastava

    microsoft security essential is very good to use.
    Microsoft security essential free has been used by me earlier also and it was working satisfac More

  • Allen Craig

    by Allen Craig

    It's Great to have on my computer!.
    On a scale of 1-10 I give it an 8, because alot of times it's off when PC starts


Explore More



Laws concerning the use of this software vary from country to country. We do not encourage or condone the use of this program if it is in violation of these laws.