What Exactly is Microsoft Essentials?


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Microsoft Essentials is a free, downloadable program utility from Microsoft that provides protection for a computer system against malicious software such as viruses, malware and spyware. One of the draws of the utility is that it runs relatively easily, smoothly, in the background, and automatically with its Microsoft operating system. It requires very little user interaction and is very user friendly. It is available for operating systems XP SP2 and higher, Vista, and Windows 7. Microsoft Essentials replaced Windows Live OneCare, as well as Windows Defender.

  • Step 1: Download and Run/Save the Error Repair Tool
  • Step 2: Next, click the SCAN button.
  • Step 3: Click the REPAIR button to fix your errors.

Like other security tools, Microsoft Essentials can be set up to scan the computer weekly or even daily. It can also perform a manual scan. In both instances, a complete system scan can be performed, a quick scan of common hiding places for malicious software, or a custom scan of the folders and files selected by the user. Microsoft Essentials checks for the latest virus and spyware definition files every single day. The download is 8.5 MB in size and takes up 170 MB of disk space. It is relatively light on computer resources and does not slow game play or internet browsing. Installation usually takes less than a minute and quick scans are performed in less than that time. Full scans usually take between one to two hours to complete.

The control panel is uncluttered, simple, streamlined, and not likely to confuse or discourage users who are not as computer literate as some. There are four understandable tabs, and red, yellow and green color codes are used to clearly indicate status.

Microsoft Essentials performed very well with a detection score of 98.44 percent with viruses, worms and Trojans and a detection score of 90.95 with adware and spyware in its review by security testing firm AV-Test. It also did very well with rootkit removal which is stealth technology used to hide other malware.