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Microsoft Security Essentials To Arrive on Sept. 29

Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE), Redmond's free consumer security software for PCs, will be available for download by the general public on Tuesday.

The rollout of the antimalware solution comes after three months of public beta testing, limited to thousands of users. The software offers basic protection against viruses and spyware. The free MSE offering likely will compete with paid security offerings from McAfee and Symantec.

MSE is sometimes described as a replacement for Windows Defender, a free app from Microsoft that just removes spyware. Apparently, the two security apps can exist side by side. MSE disables Windows Defender and users don't have to remove it, according to a June Microsoft forum post.

MSE will be available for download on Sept. 29 for use on "genuine Windows-based PCs," according to Microsoft's announcement issued on Monday.

The software will work with the following operating systems: Windows 7, Windows Vista and Windows XP using Service Pack 2 or 3. It's designed to use a small amount of CPU and memory resources and run on older PCs, according to Microsoft's announcement.

MSE also will work with Windows XP Mode, which is Microsoft's virtualized XP desktop that runs on Windows 7. Both x32 and x64 versions are supported.

The solution was formerly known by its code name, "Morro." Microsoft launched Morro with the aim of broadening security protection to Windows users. Microsoft had earlier experimented with a subscription-based security product for consumers, called Windows Live OneCare. However, Microsoft discontinued retail sales of OneCare in June, although it extended coverage for subscribers during the OneCare-to-MSE transition period, according to a Microsoft forum post.

MSE uses the same basic technology as Microsoft's "security solutions for businesses," according to Microsoft's announcement. Microsoft currently offers a suite of non-free security solutions to businesses all under its Forefront brand. The company's offering for PC malware protection in the enterprise is called Forefront Client Security.

The software likely won't meet most IT department requirements for security. MSE notably will not integrate with Microsoft Network Access Protection technology and Microsoft System Center management products. It also can't be controlled via group policy settings.

Microsoft plans to roll out MSE in eight languages, in 19 countries, on Tuesday. Those countries include "Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States," according to the announcement.

The home page for the MSE solution can be accessed here.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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