Combined with a capable firewall, Microsoft Security Essentials is currently the best and most hassle-free solution available for Windows. If you don’t agree with me, one of us is a monkeynut.
However, it has a few quirks (two, to be specific) that may drive you to using another security tool (a cracked Kaspersky or Norton, maybe?). So we’ll see what these two quirks are, and why you should rather ignore them and keep using this awesome tool.
#1 Revoltingly long first update
Microsoft Security Essentials takes a ridiculous amount of time to update for the first time (just after you install it). On a slow connection, it can be as long as an hour or more! Since future updates are all automatic and silent, this is likely the only time you’re gonna notice the update, and naturally you feel pissed off. People assume it’s always gonna take that long to update (which would be outrageous), and uninstall it without thinking twice. This is not true. The subsequent updates are small and fast as any other antimalware program. So why the gigantic first update? Lets see.
You must have noticed that the MSE installer is surprisingly small (about 8 MB) as compared to other antimalware tools. However, this is because the installer simply installs the core MSE program. Absolutely nothing that’ll protect your computer – the scanner, real-time engine and the malware definitions – come with this installer. After MSE is installed, it downloads and adds these components during the first update. Hence the huge, long update. The solution is just to be patient the first time.
Also, you can simply minimize or close the MSE window when its updating without stopping the update itself, and let it do its job.
#2 Revoltingly long time to remove malware
If you’ve ever been in a situation where MSE detects anything over 10 infections on an external drive or something, you must be knowing it takes just too much time to wipe those out. Most other antimalware that I’ve used suspend/quarantine/kill malware in a matter of seconds. But MSE will often take more than just a few minutes to get the task done. Sometimes it can take upto 20 minutes, or might pretend to just plain hang (while it clearly hasn’t). This can lead you to falsely assume that MSE can’t remove malware effectively.
Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do about it. For now. Remember that MSE is still very young (not even a year old, to be exact) and the upcoming version 2 might very well take care of this issue. For the time being, just put MSE in the background, leave it to do its job, and get back to your own work. Be assured that it will remove the malware it detects, no matter how long.
MSE is a really, really good security product that doesn’t deserve to be ditched for these minor quirks. If you’re currently paying for your PC security, you should seriously stop now and get MSE instead. Lifehacker tries to explain why.