We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
Anti-virus software Reviews
15,670 Reviews

Microsoft Security Essentials 2.1 review


Manufacturer: Microsoft

Our Rating: We rate this 3.5 out of 5

We liked Microsoft Security Essentials 2.1's interface, but other free antivirus software does a better job at blocking malware. Read our Microsoft Security Essentials 2.1 review to find out more.

Microsoft Security Essentials 2.1 is something of a mixed bag. I like its interface, and it is reasonably good at cleaning up infections, but it falters at stopping new malware, and it plods through its chores.

Microsoft Security Essentials 2.1's user interface is particularly straightforward - perfect if you don't want to waste time messing around with your antivirus software. See also: Group test: what's the best security software?

Microsoft Security Essentials 2.1 cleans up malware infections quite effectively: In our tests, it identified all active infections on our machine and disabled over 93 percent of the malware. It removed all traces of malware 80 percent of the time - better than any of its free antivirus competitors. In addition, it was one of only two free antivirus applications we have tested recently that didn't mistake a single safe file for malware.

While Microsoft Security Essentials 2.1 excels at removing malware from a PC, it doesn't do as well at keeping dangerous code off a computer in the first place. It fully blocked 71.4 percent of new malware in our real-world tests, slightly worse than average. In our zoo test, it detected 97.0 percent of known malware samples. With that result, it lags the competition - some packages detected over 99.9 percent of samples.

Microsoft Security Essentials 2.1 didn't unduly slow overall system performance, but it performed a good deal worse than average in file-copy tests and app-installation tests. In scan speeds it also fell behind the pack: Its on-demand scanner completed our virtual obstacle course in a worse-than-average 3 minutes, 56 seconds. The on-access scanner was poky too, clocking in at 6 minutes, 43 seconds. Visit: Security Advisor

Although Microsoft Security Essentials 2.1 has some good qualities, you would be better served by looking at some other options.


Microsoft Security Essentials 2.1 [32-bit]

Microsoft Security Essentials 2.1 [64-bit]

Microsoft Security Essentials 2.1 Expert Verdict »

Microsoft Windows 7, Microsoft Windows Vista
32- or 64-bit OS
  • Overall: We give this item 7 of 10 overall

Microsoft Security Essentials 2.1 is easy to use and free. Other free security products offer better protection, but Microsoft Security Essentials 2.1 is a decent protector at an unbeatable price.

  • Microsoft Security Essentials review

    Microsoft Security Essentials

    When we looked at the beta of Microsoft Security Essentials in 2009, we were impressed with its clean, easy-to-use interface, but less so with its sluggish scan speed. This still holds true for Microsoft Security Essentials 1.0; alas, it hasn't kept pace with newer antivirus products when it comes to detecting malware. Updated December 8 2010.

  • Microsoft Security Essentials 4 review

    Microsoft Security Essentials 4

    Free Anti-Malware software from Microsoft, here's our Microsoft Security Essentials 4 review.

  • Webroot Internet Security Essentials 2010 review

    Webroot Internet Security Essentials 2010

    Webroot Internet Security Essentials 2010 is in essence Webroot's SpySweeper antivirus/antispyware application packaged with a firewall, an antispam utility, backup software, and internet browsing protection thrown in.

  • McAfee Internet Security 2010 review

    McAfee Internet Security 2010

    McAfee Internet Security 2010 does a good job at detecting malware, its interface is fresh and distinct from the pack, and it has a solid set of features.

  • Webroot Internet Security Essentials 2011 review

    Webroot Internet Security Essentials 2011

    Webroot Internet Security Essentials 2011 has plenty of extras, but falls short at keeping your PC safe. For security software, that is crucial.

IDG UK Sites

Best Black Friday 2014 tech deals UK: Get bargains on phones, tablets, laptops and more this Black...

IDG UK Sites

Tomorrow's World today (or next year)

IDG UK Sites

25 iOS apps turn (Red) for World AIDS Day campaign

IDG UK Sites

Advanced tips for Mac OS X Yosemite: use Yosemite like an expert - 5 new tips added