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Old 4th January 2012   #1
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Microsoft Security Essentials vs Norton Internet Security


Is it adequately safe to replace Norton Internet Security by Microsoft Security Essentials? What are the residual risks?

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Old 4th January 2012   #2
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I have been runnine MSE or 7 PC's since it came out. Love it. Wouldn't look back unless something happened bad. 4 of them the Grandkids get on and go any place any time they want. And the best part of it that I like is that it is FREE...

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Old 4th January 2012   #3
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Thanks Mr Bill for your prompt response. I've been using Norton security products for over 10 years but in last two years I have been annoyed by their promotion, emails and ghostly popping up windows telling me the expiry dates are coming. When I clicked for "decide later", it still continues bringing up a browser forcing me to renew. It's really, really disturbing.

Microsoft Security Essentials is free. I like it's free not just because of saving money, but also it gives me a peace of mind when I'm working on my computer. Enough is enough. That's why I am considering discontinue running a disturbing Norton product on my computer.

If Microsoft Security Essentials is mature enough, I'll just discontinue NIS when it expires. Any more experience to share?

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Old 4th January 2012   #4
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There is no comparison, whatsoever. Norton is simply the best, bar none. That's not to say that MSE isn't a decent alternative, but I challenge you to show me ONE... one single tech site that would rate MSE over NIS. There aren't any simply because they don't exist. Yes, it's going to cost you a few bucks but so what: you're getting the best and when it comes to security I refuse to skimp on it. I know I'm going against the grain here since many advocate free anti-virus and free firewalls but I'm convinced that you get what you pay for and for me Norton is the answer. I've been using Norton for years and admit there was a time that it dragged my computer down but those days are long over. And in spite of the past when it was a resource hog, it was still at or near the top in terms of protection.

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Old 4th January 2012   #5
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Hi IvanH. As MrBill stated, I've also been using MSE since it came out and I've installed it on dozens of computers and have never had problems. MSE is light weight, uses a minimal amount of system resources its very easy to use and configure, and its free. Whenever I have had a client that used Norton as their security program I've always removed it and installed MSE instead and none of my clients have had a complaint about me installing MSE.

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Yes, it's going to cost you a few bucks but so what: you're getting the best and when it comes to security I refuse to skimp on it. I know I'm going against the grain here since many advocate free anti-virus and free firewalls but I'm convinced that you get what you pay for and for me Norton is the answer. I've been using Norton for years and admit there was a time that it dragged my computer down but those days are long over. And in spite of the past when it was a resource hog, it was still at or near the top in terms of protection.
leushino, while some of that information may be true, I don't believe that the paid security programs are always the best to use. Just because you pay for your security doesn't always mean that a paid program will be twice as good as the freebies and be able to protect you any better.

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There is no comparison, whatsoever. Norton is simply the best, bar none. That's not to say that MSE isn't a decent alternative, but I challenge you to show me ONE... one single tech site that would rate MSE over NIS. There aren't any simply because they don't exist.
Ok, challenge accepted. Here you go:

Microsoft Security Essentials Ranks as Best-Performing Free Antivirus.

AV-Comparatives Rates Anti-Malware Performance.

Also keep in mind that if you want to have piece of mind by paying for a security program then thats fine. But know that its not just using a security program that will make you safer too. There are a variety of other factors to consider that could cause your computer to be compromised by malware. Whats the biggest factor? The user. If the user is smart about their browsing habits and knows what to look for when spotting the dangers of the Internet then they will be far safer than a user who doesn't have that knowledge.

Personally I find that using MSE, combined with the free Spybot Search and Destroy and Spyware Blaster programs, with an up-to-date Windows system, and having a competent computer user is good enough for avoiding the dangers of the Internet. There is no need to have to pay for your piece of mind when you can combine a few good free security programs together and accomplish the same result.


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Old 4th January 2012   #6
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Another reason I want to find an alternative to NIS... is because I need to work on multiple virtual machines now. Windows 7 vs Windows 8, Ubuntu 11.1, OS X 10.7.n, Fusion 4 and Parallel 11. I have 4 PC/notebooks on daily use but also a few old models on the shelf. Certainly I am familiar with NIS, but I need a freebie too. Running out of NIS license copies, I'll give MSE a go in the next 3 months and see how it works on the Windows with expired NIS.
I understand how security is important, but it is negotiable in many genera situations and should not be overdone. It's the first time turning my face away from NIS for home use. I'll see what's happening.

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Old 4th January 2012   #7
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The first site simply states it ranks amongst the best "free" antivirus programs. Hardly a resounding endorsement. It's also two years out of date.

The second site is also two (almost three) years out of date so I'd have to disqualify it as well. I stand by my original contention: there are no sites where MSE "currently" (I'll have to qualify my statement I see) trumps NIS.

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Old 4th January 2012   #8
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Originally Posted by leushino View Post
There is no comparison, whatsoever. Norton is simply the best, bar none. That's not to say that MSE isn't a decent alternative, but I challenge you to show me ONE... one single tech site that would rate MSE over NIS. There aren't any simply because they don't exist. Yes, it's going to cost you a few bucks but so what: you're getting the best and when it comes to security I refuse to skimp on it. I know I'm going against the grain here since many advocate free anti-virus and free firewalls but I'm convinced that you get what you pay for and for me Norton is the answer. I've been using Norton for years and admit there was a time that it dragged my computer down but those days are long over. And in spite of the past when it was a resource hog, it was still at or near the top in terms of protection.
I don't have enough money to pay them COMPARISON people to print what I want them to print. I use what I try and trust myself.

I have been burned by NORTON and know several others that have to. I have been burned by McCRAPPY and know others that have to. I used AVG for years on probably 4 or 5 hundred PC's and never got burned. MSE same story as AVG.

What you see in my Signature is all that I have on my PC and friends PC's.

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Old 4th January 2012   #9
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I'm tending to look / compare products from a non-technical view. Watching those two products from sky height, they look the same to me. That's the risk I want to mitigate and thus asking for your input. Leushino, may I ask what specific critical features or qualities on NIS over MSE that you want to point out? Is there any essential and critical risks that I'll need to accept if going for MSE? Thanks ahead of input.

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Old 4th January 2012   #10
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Originally Posted by leushino View Post
The first site simply states it ranks amongst the best "free" antivirus programs. Hardly a resounding endorsement. It's also two years out of date.

The second site is also two (almost three) years out of date so I'd have to disqualify it as well. I stand by my original contention: there are no sites where MSE "currently" (I'll have to qualify my statement I see) trumps NIS.
Ok maybe not currently. But the point of those websites that rank security programs is, like anything, they are meant to be used as a guideline for making a decision about which program to use. Just because one program seems to rank higher on its ability to catch malware doesn't always make it better. You have to look at how that security program acts and behaves on your computer.

You could have the highest rated security program on the market but if slows down your computer or doesn't let your games or programs function properly then its not worth installing. What happens if Norton or whatever security program you are running doesn't allow you to launch an application properly? The problem I have found recently on some of these security suites both free and paid is that you can't shut them completely off. You have to have them running in the background constantly which can be both a good or a bad thing depending on how you use your system. The only way I have found to turn them off completely is to fully uninstall them. The thing that I like about MSE is that I can actually shut the entire program down if I find that I am going to play a game and don't want any security programs running at the same time.

As an FYI your assumptions that Norton is the best security program is all based on your user experience and your opinion with using the program, just like how I think Norton is garbage and believe that MSE is better. We are all entitled to different beliefs but I have used Norton before and found that it wasn't up to my expectations. Therefore I prefer to use MSE.

When I think of using a security program I ask myself these questions:

Does it protect my computer well from malware?
Does it negatively impact the performance of my computer?
Does it interfere with 3rd party programs or games that I've installed?
Do you want to pay for your security or get it for free?

You have to weigh the pros and cons of using each security program and for me Norton had more cons than pros. Its all about testing and using the security program that works best for your needs and finding a balance between usability and security.

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Is there any essential and critical risks that I'll need to accept if going for MSE?
If you were to install MSE then keep in mind that you should also make sure the Windows Firewall is enabled to help keep your computer secure and obviously keep your Windows OS and any 3rd party applications up-to-date. Other than that thats all you need to check.


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Old 4th January 2012   #11
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NIS and MSE cannot be honestly compared to each other. They are different software types.

NIS is a suite of security applications: antivirus, antimalware, firewall, search filters, browser toolbar, email security, others...

MSE is an antivirus/antimalware application.

Both do well as far as protection from viruses and malware, MSE seems to be a bit better at detecting and handling malware.

NEITHER of these two programs can detect and thoroughly handle the most common malware today, i.e. the rootkit malware fake security programs.

For my clients that are somewhat computer savvy, I use MSE along with specific antimalware applications such as Malwarebytes and Superantispyware, Windows firewall and alternate Web browsers.

For my clients that are NOT computer savvy at all, I use a suite such as McAfee, Norton 360 or similar. These clients by and large only use their computers for occasional Web browsing and email.

One must also consider the processing power of the computer. Security suites tend to slow down the system while MSE uses fewer system resources. My opinion is this: If the resources are available, USE THEM! One need not conserve resources on newer computers with decent processors and ample amounts of RAM.

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Old 4th January 2012   #12
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No single program, whether NIS or MSE can detect & stop everything. One needs a layered approach for security - if something gets pass one layer, some other layer stops it. If you have faith in only one product, whether paid or free, its a big mistake.

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Old 5th January 2012   #13
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If I installed and run Microsoft Security Essentials, do I need to turn on the Windows Defender?

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Old 5th January 2012   #14
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No. MSE is designed to replace Windows Defender completely and it will disable Windows Defender during installation.

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Old 5th January 2012   #15
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Originally Posted by Evan Omo View Post
No. MSE is designed to replace Windows Defender completely and it will disable Windows Defender during installation.
Marvellous! Hesta la Vista, Windows Defender!

B.t.w. Is there a version of Microsoft Security Essentials compatible with Windows 8 Developer Preview? When can I download it?


Last edited by IvanH; 5th January 2012 at 07:20. Reason: press wrong button before I finish writing
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