Microsoft's Free Lunch

[Editor's Note: The following is a post from my colleague at 1105 Media, Online News Editor Kurt Mackie.]

Last week, Microsoft offered its free consumer antimalware solution to small businesses for free. Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) can be downloaded and used at no additional cost by businesses that have up to 10 Windows-based PCs.

MSE isn't exactly a free lunch. The catch is that you have to be running "genuine" licensed copies of Windows to use it. However, MSE does seem worth the price of admission. My view comes from a personal tale of woe, if you'll bear with me.

I began my migration to using MSE by way of the McAfee Internet security software that came free with my DSL service. The McAfee software began hogging the resources of my Windows XP-based machine to an excessive degree about a couple of months ago. I was finding that it took 30 minutes before I could do anything on the machine after boot-up. My Internet service provider detected no problem, but a glance at the Windows Task Manager showed various McAfee executable files active during the time when my machine was immobilized.

Now I run Windows 7 on a new machine with MSE. Microsoft's security software works quietly in the background. There is no 30-minute delay after booting the machine.

The old Windows XP-based PC now runs fine offline, except when it tries to perform a full scan, so resource hogging by McAfee's software might have been at least part of the problem. I later found out that McAfee Internet Security 2010 on Windows 7 had failed AV-Test certification. Ouch!

The one setback to MSE seems to be that it can't be centrally managed. Are there any others? What's been your experience? Comment here or share your experiences with me via e-mail.

Posted by Kurt Mackie on 10/14/2010 at 11:59 AM


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