Downloading and Installing Microsoft Security Essentials

Overview

Microsoft Security Essentials is a free Anti-Virus and Anti-Spyware application for home users and businesses with up to ten PCs.  It is quick and easy to install, easy to use and non-intrusive, in that it does not constantly pop-up messages demanding attention and it is very "light" on system resources, so it has a very minimal effect on system performance.

Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) will run on Windows XP with Service Pack 3, Windows Vista wih Service Pack 2 and Windows 7 with Service Pack 1 and is suitable as a replacement antivirus product for older systems with performance issues and other anti-virus packages that are far heavier on system resources.

Before Installation

Before beginning installation, any existing anti-virus products must be uninstalled - or removed using the manufacturers removal utility if it is not possible to uninstall the software through the usual "Add / Remove Programs" or "Programs and Features" options in Windows Control Panel.

If an existing product has been removed, the system should be rebooted BEFORE beginning installation.

Downloading and Installation

To download MSE, go to: http://www.microsoft.com/security_essentials/  the MSE home page as shown below:

MSE Home Page

<Click> on the "Download" button, the option to "Run" or "Save" will be displayed:

MSE - Run or Save option

As Security Essentials is frequently updated, there is no point in saving a local copy of the installer unless installing many systems on the same day - and in any case, the installer is currently only about 10MB.  <click> "Run" to run the installer immediately:

The usual "User Account Control" warning may be displayed as shown below.  <Click> "Yes" to continue:

MSE USer account control

The Installation wizard now starts as shown below.  Click "Next" to proceed:

MSE Installation wizard

The software license terms are then displayed.  <Click> "I accept" to continue with the installation:

MSE accept software license

Next, the option to join the "Customer Experience Improvement Program" is offered. In order to avoid passing an information at all back to Microsoft - even anonymously, ensure the "I do not want to join the program" radio button is selected as shown below, and <Click> "Next":

MSE - Customer Experience Improvement Program

In the "Optimize securty" dialogue, ensure the check box is ticked to enable the windows firewall, if not already enabled as shown below:

MSE enable firewall

MSE is not ready to install, <Click> "Install" to begin installation:

MSE Ready to install

The wizard will then install Security Essentials and when complete, the following dialogue is displayed:

MSE Completing the installation wizard

Leave the check box ticked and <Click> "Finish" to run the download and install the current virus and spyware definitions:

MSE Download and update definitions

When updated, the MSE "First Time Scan" is run on the PC as shown below:

MSE First Time Scan

The above scan should be allowed to complete and only takes a few minutes on a new system.  An existing system with client data may take much longer - but it is very useful to complete a scan at this stage incase any Malware is present.  If any items are detected, follow the recommended actions to remove and clean the system.

When the scan completes, a window similar to the one shown below is displayed:

MSE Scan completed

The Security Essentials software is not installed and running.  Updates are performed automatically, but occasionally the new Green MSE icon in the system notification area near the click will turn Orange or Red.  This indicates the software requires user attention and clicking the icon will display the Secrurity Essentials program window with the required action highlighted.

Usually, an Orange icon indicates a "Quick Scan" is required.  This should be done immediately and will usually take less than two minutes.