Microsoft seeks testers for limited beta of next-gen Security Essentials

Microsoft seeks testers for limited beta of next-gen Security Essentials

Summary: Microsoft is seeking testers for the next release of its free Microsoft Security Essentials anti-malware/anti-virus product.


Microsoft is seeking testers interested in trying out the next version of Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE), according to a November 18 TechNet blog post.

The beta will be limited and is not yet available, but will be some time before the end of the year. There's no word as to when the final version of the next release of MSE will be available.

MSE is Microsoft's free anti-malware/anti-virus product that is based on the same engine that its paid Forefront Endpoint Security product uses.

The coming version of MSE includes the following features, according to Microsoft's latest blog post:

Automatic malware remediation: "The Beta will clean high-impact malware infections automatically, with no required user interaction," according to the post. Enhanced performance: "The Beta includes many performance improvements to make sure your PC performance isn’t negatively impacted," the post said. Simplified UI: The interface of the beta easier to use, the Softies said.

New and improved protection engine: "The updated engine offers enhanced detection and cleanup capabilities," according to the company. MSE is aimed first and foremost at users who either can’t or won’t pay for antivirus/anti-malware software. There has been no registration required, no trials with an expiration date or required renewals. But Microsoft, in the past at least, has restricted the MSE download (both the beta and final) to PCs running Genuine Windows (which has been authenticated as non-pirated).

The sign-up for the coming MSE beta is here.

Topics: Security, Malware, Microsoft


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • RE: Microsoft seeks testers for limited beta of next-gen Security Essentials

    I had no idea it was possible to improve MSE's performance, it is already unnoticeable as is and I run some pretty heavy duty DAW applications that are very sensitive to any resource hogs running at the same time.
  • Windows 2003 compatibility?

    Microsoft must allow MSE to run in Windows Server 2003 at least!
    • RE: Microsoft seeks testers for limited beta of next-gen Security Essentials


      Wouldn't Forefront be better for servers?
      The one and only, Cylon Centurion
  • Windows 8

    What's the status of MSE in Windows 8? I vaguely remember reading that the "Windows Defender" brand was resurrected in Windows 8 to include anti-virus capabilities ... does this mean MSE comes out-of-the-box (just renamed as Defender) in 8, or will they be maintained as separate products (i.e., Defender has some kind of anti-virus in 8, but MSE is still an enhancing add-on if you know where to look for it kind-of-thing)?
    • RE: Microsoft seeks testers for limited beta of next-gen Security Essentials

      Defender is just the name of the built-in firewall that's been in Windows since XP. MSE is a full blown AV product that turns Defender on if no other firewalls are present. Its possible they could change the names however, its not like they havent done it in the past.
      • That wasn't his question

        To both of you:

        What you see as "Windows Defender" in the current Windows 8 builds is the FULL Microsoft Malware Protection Engine, which includes the AV protection. So yes, it is the same as MSE. You won't need to download MSE for Windows 8.


        Windows Defender is NOT the name of the firewall. Windows Defender is an antispyware program that Microsoft built after it acquired Giant Antispyware. Windows Firewall is called "Windows Firewall". Windows XP also DID NOT include Windows Defender - it was released well after Windows XP went RTM. Windows Defender included the Microsoft Malware Protection Engine (MSMPENG) but they weren't doing antivirus inclusion until Windows Live OneCare was released. Every antivirus and antispyware program that Microsoft released since Windows Defender has used the same scanning engine. The setup for MSE will turn Windows Firewall on if it's currently disabled and no other firewall is present, but it will disable Windows Defender because you can't have multiple antimalware scanning engines running at the same time.
    • About the last part of your question


      I don't believe that this updated MSE will not be included into Windows 8, since it is a fairly minor change in default options and UI. Windows 8 is about simplifying the UI (even in the Desktop). The new MSE front end will likely be ported to all of their other security products (Forefront Endpoint Protection, Standalone System Sweeper, Windows Defender for Windows 8, etc.). These products are basically all the same (they are just front ends for MSMPENG), with the exception that Forefront Endpoint Protection allows central management of settings and scan status.
  • jtlzusx 54 oip

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  • RE: Microsoft seeks testers for limited beta of next-gen Security Essentials

    MSE is already high performing. You don't even realize it's there. I'm glad they are working on improvements though. My biggest complaint is really petty. Why, when in the systray, do you need to right-click on it, to get a one-line menu which then requires you to click on that? Instead of giving you the menu, why not just open the MSE UI?

    Any truth to the rumor that MSE will be part of Win8 like defender is today? I hear the EU already knocking on microsoft's door!!!