Security optimize

Test a beta version of Microsoft Security Essentials

There is a beta version of Microsoft Security Essentials available that promises to perform better than the current version.

Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) is the company's free anti-virus and anti-malware application, and it works really well. I use it for all my personal computers, and I have been recommending it to all my family and friends for the past couple of years. I like it better than other free anti-virus applications because it does a much better job of operating in the background without disrupting what is going on in the foreground.

Beta released

The Security Essentials home website has a new link where you can download a beta version of the application. MSE has not changed much since its initial release, so a face-lift along with some functional enhancements is long overdue.

The Microsoft Security Essential beta website

Quoting from the beta website, here is what's new:

This Beta version of Microsoft Security Essentials includes the following new features and enhancements to better help protect your PC from threats:

  • Enhanced protection through automatic malware remediation: The Beta program will clean highly impacting malware infections automatically, with no required user interaction.
  • Enhanced performance: The Beta includes many performance improvements to make sure your PC performance isn't compromised.
  • Simplified UI: Simplified UI makes Microsoft Security Essentials Beta easier to use.
  • New and improved protection engine: The updated engine offers enhanced detection with cleanup capabilities and better performance.

Note you have to have a Windows Live account and use the Microsoft Transfer Manager to download the files necessary for installation of the beta version of Microsoft Security Essentials. You will also have to accept new Software License terms.

MSE Installation Wizard

Editor's Note: A day or two after publication of this blog post, Microsoft closed the beta to new testers. At some point, they may open the beta to additional testing, but as of December 7, 2011, they had not.

Beta observations

The first thing I noticed about the beta is that the beta user interface looks just like the current version interface. I guess Microsoft is sticking to the KISS principle. I did a quick scan on my test PC, and my gut feeling is that the beta version performed its scan about 20% quicker.

The old MSE

New MSE interface - Can you tell the difference?

If you give the beta Security Essentials a try, let us know how it performs for you. We would like to get some real-world results.

Beta MSE details

About

Mark Kaelin is a CBS Interactive Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He is the host for the Microsoft Windows and Office blog, the Google in the Enterprise blog, the Five Apps blog and the Big Data Analytics blog.

12 comments
The Joat
The Joat

installed the x86 on an older XP machine and the x64 on a new Win7 machine. No opinion on how they work yet.

Rodo1
Rodo1

I was involved in the original beta test a couple of years ago and have used it ever since. I had AVG on another desktop and just bailed on it for MSE. AVG is just getting more and more bloated and I finally had enough. I know I shouldn't bitch as it was free, but just the same...

BALTHOR
BALTHOR

It's such a little program it should just work on it's own.In corporate I wouldn't want to ever download anything.Special computer off the network.

raicsl
raicsl

I tried to sign up but got the message that it is now closed to new users.

DFagerstrom
DFagerstrom

Jumped through the hoops, got confirming e-mail, then "Beta Testing Closed"

jaiwalker
jaiwalker

Went through all the steps to sign up only to find out it's closed to new testers. Jokes on me.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

Have you tried the beta version of Microsoft Security Essentials? Tell us about your experience: Better, worse, or the same?

True Patriot
True Patriot

They closed the beta testing and are not accepting new testers. (Fail..)

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

I downloaded yesterday no problem - I'll try it on another test machine. Update: Just downloaded and installed on another PC. Where are you seeing that the beta is closed?

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

Now, I'm sorry I brought it up. Maybe, even though it is a different PC, it is still associated with my Live account - so I am not considered a new tester. Perhaps they will open it up again soon.

jaiwalker
jaiwalker

After clicking on the link above "download a beta version", I'm asked to login with my live credentials. As soon as I login the next screen states the beta is closed to new testers.