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Microsoft Security Essentials Icon

Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) is becoming a good alternative for those who prefer to have a free security solution.

How to get the Latest MSE Definitions

If your system cannot connect to the internet, due to a virus infection, this is your only way to be updated.  If you are experiencing problems updating your antivirus you can use this method.

The following links download the utilities, different for 32 and 64 bit operating systems,  that install the latest definitions:

Definition updates for Microsoft Security Essentials on computers running x64- based versions of Windows

Definition updates for Microsoft Security Essentials on computers running x32- based versions of Windows

Hint: Am I running Windows 32 or 64-bit?

When installing on Windows 7 and Vista you need to run as administrator. Right click mpam-fe.exe, click Run as administrator, and then click Run.

How to Submit a Virus to Microsoft

Do you think you have a file with virus, and your antivirus, in this case Microsoft Security Essentials is not detecting it? Why not submit it to Microsoft? Use the following link do it:

Malware Protection Center – Submit A Sample

How to follow the MSE Database Updates

If you’d like to be informed about updates to the virus database, Microsoft offers RSS feeds for this:

Antimalware definition updates RSS
Antispyware definition updates RSS

Use MSE in Safe Mode

If you think that you are infected by a virus, it’s a good practice to do a scan in Safe Mode. If you get infected, the first task many viruses do is hide while running at bootup. Using Safe Mode, Windows will not load all programs, and the detection will work in a more efficient way.

System requirements

As every program, Microsoft Security Essentials has a minimum system requirements:

  1. First of all your Windows has to be genuine.
  2. 140 MB of available hard disk.
  3. Windows Internet Explorer 6.0 or later.
  4. Mozilla Firefox 2.0 or later.

Windows XP

  • Service Pack 2 or Service Pack 3.
  • At least a 500 MHz CPU and 256 MB RAM.

Windows Vista

  • It works on Vista, Service Pack 1 or Service Pack 2.
  • 1.0 Ghz CPU and 1 GB RAM.

Windows 7

  • 1.0 Ghz CPU and 1 GB RAM.

So, if you are planning to use it in earlier version of Windows you have to select other one.

There you have it, some facts about MSE you may not have previously known. Have any other tips to share about this great freeware antivirus? Let us know in the comments.

About Angel Luis

I am an Engineer of Telecommunications that love computers. My first computer was a Commodore 16kb, about 25 years ago and since then I am always fighting computers problems. Please visit my entries and ask me about whatever problem you have, I will be pleased to help you. My email is discoveryourpc [at] gmail [dot] com. You can follow me on twitter @agenlu or read my blog www.discoveryourpc.net

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16 thoughts on “5 Things You Should Know About Microsoft Security Essentials”

  1. Ben says:

    6. It uses a lot of memory.

  2. Ang087 says:

    It hasn't used much memory at all on my system and that's part of the reason I like it. It's also small in size as compared to other internet security software like AVG or Trend. MSE is only around 14.8 mb in size on my laptop. It doesn't use much disk space at all. It's helped to keep my OS virus free and running fast.

  3. Angel says:

    Thanks for your comment, Can you elabora it a bit more?

  4. Angel says:

    Thanks Ang087, I like it too.

  5. Ben says:

    Well, when I tested it a month ago, it used about 38 MB of Ram constantly from when I started my pc. AVG(the antivirus I use) uses a total of about 10 MB of ram split between different procceses. I guess If you care about using up a lot of memory, MSE wouldn't be for you.

  6. Angel says:

    I don't like antivirus for me is just a waste of resources but I must admit they are a must in our computers.

    The usage of the memory is always complicated to see, many programs take more RAM if there are more available.

    With antivirus is even more complicated, they are always scanning files and processes.

    For me 38 Mb, not have to care about if your antivirus is updated or not is worth it.

  7. Ben says:

    “For me 38 Mb, not have to care about if your antivirus is updated or not is worth it. ” That is true. With AVG it takes a while to update and uses more memory while updating.

  8. Artfulldodger33 says:

    I always use a pay security suite….(Barclays Online Banking give free Kaspersky Internet Security for 3 PC's and 1 for Windows Mobile)

    (I feel the free ones such as MSE, AVG_FREE etc update their databases much less regularily…eg NOD32, Kaspersky etc update as many as 50 times a day…although this can hog network connection)

    Although MSE's “Real-Time protection” may be usefull for “Zero Day Attacks” (+New Undefined Viruses)

    As for Memory: all “Real-Time” scanners will use RAM Memory….unless you are running like 256/512 mb RAM…The memory use is irrelevant!!! (AVG FREE has no real-time protection and is only an “after the fact” scanner that misses around 50% of infections…..unless they improved it within recent years)

    “Free Memory is Wasted Memory”

    1. markings says:

      One of the best points of MSE is that it was a return to simplicity. NOD32, Kaspersky, Bit Defender, and probably many other are so complicated that even I with 30 years of computer experience do not know what all the options means and what functions they perform. If something does not work after their installation it is a nightmare to fix it.

  9. Angel says:

    Thanks for the comment artfulldodger33.

    What do you preffer a database that updates 50 times a day or other that updates once with the same information?

    I have to admit that security is something important and being updated is a must but for me once a day is enough.

  10. Boni says:

    This is a one of great softwares from Microsoft….
    But what about the system performance?

  11. Angel says:

    Thanks Boni for the comment.

    I think that measuring the system performance of an antivirus is very hard. They do so much work without our knowledge that are not easy to compare.

    For me it works great, and I have tested in at least 50 different computers.

  12. T.J. says:

    I use this and have found things that even Mcafee did not see

    1. Angel says:

      Good to see that. thanks for the post.

  13. Tushar says:

    How do I check if my MSE is 64 bit or not? I am running Windows 7 64 bit home premium. However when I went to Microsoft site it did not show me any option of 32/64 bit for download. Also is there any advantage of running 64 bit MSE over 32?

    1. Rich says:

      If you’re using Windows 7 64-bit MSE will be using the 64-bit definitions. (For others that may not know how to check, see here: http://www.mintywhite.com/vista/windows-32-64bit-find-quick-tip/)

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