In Pictures: 20 Must-Download Utilities For Windows 7
Released in September 2009, Microsoft's aim with Security Essentials (MSE) was to provide customers a means to improve Windows security without draining their pockets. While most consumers don't associate Microsoft with anti-virus solutions, it was only a matter of time before the company took that extra step in integrating anti-virus capabilities into the Windows operating system.
The program itself is relatively light, facilitating simple tasks like running a quick scan of the system, a full scan that's best left as an overnight task, or an optional custom scan based on the user's preference. Like most anti-virus programs, MSE updates itself in the background. However, users can also manually update with the click of a button.
Other features include a history section that lists quarantined and allowed items and a settings area that allows the user to schedule a scan, manage real-time protection, and allow MSE to create system restore points on a daily basis.
Best of all, it's free for genuine installs of Windows.
Download: Microsoft Security Essentials 1.0.1963.0