Microsoft Security Essentials review, manual and guides

by Lucia Danes - -

Microsoft Security Essentials provides users with free antivirus features for Windows Vista and Windows 7. The more recent Windows operating systems such as Windows 8, Windows RT, Windows 8.1, Windows RT 8.1, and Windows 10 are protected by Windows Defender security software.

microsoft security essentials

Microsoft Security Essentials is a built-in security software developed by Microsoft to protect Windows 7 and Windows Vista users against the cyber threats such as malware, spyware, rootkits, viruses and other malicious software, it includes online and offline system scanning and cleaning, and dynamic signature service. The application also can be downloaded in order to protect older versions of Windows PCs.[1]

Even though Microsoft Security Essentials were not the best way to protect the PC, according to the latest AV-TEST results, the software demonstrated a very positive improvement. 

Microsoft Security Essentials are free to download and available in many locales and languages.

Test Results

Antivirus protection

As it was mentioned before, Microsoft Security Essentials finally does a good job, according to the independent German testing lab AV-TEST.[2] In the latest round, Microsoft Security Essentials demonstrated a very decent antivirus protection and scored 16.5 out of 18. The application successfully detected and removed about 99% of wide-spread malware samples and 100% of zero-day threats.

microsoft security essentials protected


Microsoft Security Essentials provides users with essential features such as antivirus protection, real-time protection against spyware, malware, viruses, rootkits, and other PUPs and malicious software. It also includes online system scanning and cleaning, dynamic signature service and offline system scanning and cleaning. Microsoft Security Essentials only covers essentials of the PC’s security and does not provide various additional security or privacy features. If you require more features, you should consider downloading or purchasing a third-party antivirus and internet security software. 

System-performance impact and scans

Microsoft program’s system impact is very good. Microsoft Security Essentials is a lightweight program that does not use many system resources or memory. The scans can take some time, according to our test, the full scan took about 2 hours, which is slower than the market average. However, full scan also slows down computer performance. Microsoft Security Essentials offers a full, a quick and a custom scanning types.

User interface and Usability

Microsoft Security Essentials has a very simple and minimalistic user interface that looks pretty much the same like every other Windows built-in program. Just like Windows Defender, Microsoft Security Essentials can be managed through the Windows Defender Security Center Application. The app is very easy to manage and provides the main options and information about the virus and threat protection, device performance and health, firewall and network protection, app and browser control.

microsoft security essentials potentially unprotected

The final verdict

Microsoft Security Essentials provides users with better and improved antivirus protection, however, the software still missed many threats and does not provide many extra features. Even though the protections are getting better, T, we would still recommend users to get a third-party antivirus software in order to fulfill the protection and security.

Feature Score
Antivirus protection Decent
Additional features None
System-performance impact Low
Scanning performance Slow scans with a negative performance hit
User interface Easy to use

About the author

Lucia Danes
Lucia Danes - Malware and spyware analyst

Lucia Danes is a news editor at She is extremely passionate when it comes to helping people deal with various online threats, so she wants her articles to be understood even by those with no IT background.

Contact Lucia Danes
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