Microsoft releases its free antivirus suite

Microsoft first released a public beta of its Security Essentials antivirus suite back in June and it was met with mostly positive reviews. The public beta was only open for the first 75,000 downloaders and that limit was reached rather quickly.

Today, however, Microsoft has released the final version of Security Essentials and anyone running Windows XP, Windows Vista, or Windows 7 can download it for free. Microsoft Security Essentials offers basic antivirus, spyware, and malware protection -- it also offers real-time protection and regularly updated malware signature files via Microsoft's Dynamic Signature Service.

Since Microsoft Security Essentials provides the bare minimum protections for a Windows-based machine, other niceties such as a firewall and multi-PC management are not available. This should appease Microsoft's competitors in the anti-malware software segment.

Those who wish to try out the software can download it directly from the Microsoft Security Essentials website. The download requires that your PC pass Windows Genuine Advantage checks, so only legit Windows users will have access to the software.

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