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Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) is an antivirus computer program that provides protection against different types of malware such ascomputer viruses, spyware, rootkits and Trojan horses. It uses the same antimalware foundation as other Microsoft antivirus products, although it lacks the centralized management features of some of them. This product runs on Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7, but not on Windows 8, which has a built-in antivirus component. The included license agreement allows home users and small businesses to install and use the software free of charge. The announcement of Microsoft Security Essentials icited mixed reactions from the antivirus industry. Symantec, McAfee andKaspersky Lab, three competing independent software vendors (ISVs), dismissed it as a worthy competitor and predicted its failure. AVG Technologies and Avast Software, however, appreciated it for its potential to expand the consumers' choice of antivirus software. Meanwhile, AVG, McAfee, Sophos and Trend Micro said that the integration of Microsoft Security Essentials into Microsoft Windows would be a violation of competition law. Despite the industry response, Microsoft Security Essentials has received generally positive reviews. Reviewers praised its user-interface, low resource usage and freeware license. Microsoft Security Essentials passed the antivirus lab tests of AV-TEST.org and secured AV-TEST.org certification, having shown the ability to eliminate all widespread malware. According to OPSWAT Inc., on March 2012, Microsoft Security Essentials was the most popular antivirus product in North America and the second most popular in the world. Due to its popularity, several rogue antivirus programs that try to impersonate it have appeared. Contents [hide] 1 Features 2 Development o 2.1 Version 2.0 o 2.2 Version 4.0 o 2.3 Future 3 Licensing 4 Reception o 4.1 Industry response o 4.2 Reviews o 4.3 Awards 5 Market share 6 Rogue antivirus software 7 See also 8 References 9 External links Features Microsoft Security Essentials is an antivirus product that fights malicious software (malware), including computer viruses, spyware, Trojan horses and rootkits. The software runs on Windows  XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7. It replaces Windows Live OneCare, a discontinued commercial subscription-based antivirus service and the free Windows Defender, which prior  to Windows 8, only protected users from adware and spyware. Microsoft Security Essentials is built upon the same foundation as other Microsoft antimalware products, all use the same virus definitionsand antimalware engine known as Microsoft Malware  Protection Engine (MSMPENG). Microsoft Security Essentials, however, lacks the personal firewall or centralized management features found in OneCare or Forefront Endpoint  Protection (FEP). Microsoft Security Essentials' real-time protection feature constantly monitors file and program  activities on the computer, scanning new files as they are downloaded or created. Upon spotting a threat, Microsoft Security Essentials disables the threat and prompts for user input. If no response is received in ten minutes, then the suspected threat is handled according to the default actions defined in theSettings section of the antivirus product. Depending on the settings, Microsoft Security  Essentials may create System Restore points before removing the detected malware. As a part of real-time protection, Microsoft Security Essentials reports all suspicious behaviors of monitored programs to Microsoft SpyNet, a web-based service. If the report matches a newly discovered malware threat with an unreleased virus definition, Microsoft Security Essentials will download this  definition to remove the threat. Microsoft Security Essentials relies on virus definitions to combat malware. It automatically checks for and downloads virus definition updates which are published three times a day on Microsoft Update,  the web-based software update service. Alternatively, users may download the updates manually  from Microsoft Security Portal website. According to Microsoft, hardware requirements for Microsoft Security Essentials differ, depending on the operating system. On a computer with Windows XP, Microsoft Security Essentials requires at least a 500 MHz processor and 256 MB of memory. On a Windows Vista or Windows 7 system, Microsoft Security Essentials requires a 1 GHz processor and 1 GB of RAM. Microsoft Security Essentials also needs a 800 × 600 pixels or larger display screen, 200 MB of free hard disk space and  an Internet connection.
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