Posts Tagged ‘mse’

Microsoft Security Essentials for XP alternatives?

Friday, January 10th, 2014

It was widely reported this week that Microsoft will be ending updates (including definitions) for MS Security Essentials for Windows XP when they end support of XP itself.

This is a problem for me. I have been recommending MSE to friends and family for years – it’s non-intrusive, it generally works, it’s never broken any software for me, and it doesn’t constantly produce false or exaggerated ¬†warnings over things like “tracking” cookies.

Sadly, anti-virus software in general is awful. The marketing of AV requires long lists of checkbox features. Every single one of these features takes just a little more resources or risks software conflicts.

In business environments, I have used many of the familiar brands over the years – now that I think about it, I’ve directly worked with most of the common paid software brands at one time or another – though, some of these were a decade ago, and the experiences are irrelevant to the current versions of the packages. I have also tried many of the common free AV options for home users.

Universally, they have had their annoyances and/or huge limitations. I remember the time an AV program deleted (not quarantined!) a contact database file that happened to have a magic string that looked like a virus. Or the time a business AV package sent me literally thousands of emails warning me about something or other (it was too stupid a package to recognize that it had already emailed me the exact issue seconds ago). Or the AV feature that inserted itself as a HTTP proxy and thereby broke the instant messenger and some websites. Or incredibly resource intensive AV, bundled by the PC OEM, that brought brand new computers to a crawl.

This post has drifted a bit… I am currently testing Immunet on one of my daily use computers. Immunet was recently purchased by SourceFire, and uses the ClamAV antivirus definitions (and I think engine) that is community run (and powers many open source anti-virus systems). This isn’t a recommendation, merely a mention of another option that is a little under the radar.