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Microsoft Security Essentials 4.0 Available for Download

Microsoft on Tuesday released the latest version of its free antivirus software for Genuine versions of Windows 7, Vista and XP.

New features, including improved detection capabilities, automatic remediation functionality and a streamlined interface system has been added in this version, which has been in beta since December 2011.

When asked by Redmond insider Mary Jo foley to comment on what was added in the latest version, Microsoft sent the following response:

"This update to Microsoft Security Essentials is part of the standard product update release cycle. This service update contains product enhancements to improve performance and user experience. We have improved on Microsoft Security Essentials’ Automatic Remediation, which will automatically quarantine highly harmful threats without prompting the user to take action as well as minor bug fixes in set up, malware remediation and other areas."

Malware reporting is also receiving a facelift with the addition of Microsoft Active Protection Service. Previously called SpyNet, this service will automatically send a message to Microsoft on the nature of malware the moment it's discovered on a system.

According to software analysis firm OPSWAT, Microsoft's Security Essentials came in at second for North American antivirus market share with 14.92 percent -- less than two points below the top-used antivirus software from Symantec. This last quarter saw Security Essentials overtake AVG for that second slot.

However, for successful detection rates, antivirus software testing company AV-Comparatives ranked Microsoft last out of 15 antivirus makers for total detection rate. According to the company, Microsoft's Security Essentials only detected 93.1 percent of viruses. The leader was G DATA, which detected 99.7 percent of all incidents.

The release version of Microsoft Security Essentials 4.0 will be automatically updated for those who participated in the beta test. For everyone else, it can be downloaded here.

About the Author

Chris Paoli is the site producer for Redmondmag.com and MCPmag.com.

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