Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Free Microsoft Anti-Virus -- Microsoft Security Essentials

Well this is a very good thing and a long time coming. Microsoft has released their own, free Anti-Virus Software. It seems to be pretty good, too. Microsoft Security Essentials can be downloaded directly from Microsoft and installs very easily, and makes a good, preferable alternative to the other free Anti-Virus Software packages that are out there.

Microsoft has offered their own Firewall Software, bundled with their Operating Systems for some time now: it installs when you install the OS -- and now they have a complete Internet Security Software package. I can only hope they will bundle it with Windows 7 in the future.

While the free AV software packages do work and do a good job by and large, they are essentially advertisements for their not-free, for-pay, big brothers and are usually crippled in some way. Either they do not update automatically, or they pop up Ad Messages for the commercial up-grade, or won't let you do a deep scan, or something.

I am not sure why Microsoft decided to offer MSE at this time, but I wonder if the screams of customers, many with infected brand new machines, who painfully discover that they cannot safely connect to the Internet without purchasing a 3rd party program, have something to do with it.

In fact, I think that all PCs should come with basic Anti-Virus and Firewall software out of the box. Just the same way cars come with airbags these days.

We are one step closer to that now.

Meanwhile, unless you have some arcane and special need that Microsoft Security Essentials can't satisfy, I heartily recommend that you install it next time you are asked to renew an Internet Security or Anti-Virus subscription, or need Anti-Virus software.

It is available for the 64 bit and 32 bit versions of Windows 7 and Vista, and the 32 bit XP.

Symantec has begun to remind me that my Norton Internet Security is due for renewal in 7 days and they want $45 from me to do that.

No, not gonna happen.

MSE is already installed.

Meantime, Ive still got SpyBot and AVG Free installed, until I'm certain MSE is doing its job, but, I am hopeful.


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Thursday, November 5, 2009

Windows 7, Windows 7, Windows 7 … Sigh …

All right; Windows 7 seems to be a pretty good OS – Having used the commercial release for over a week now I have to say, it is everything Vista should have been, and almost was, ever since Service Pack 2, just a few months back.

I have very mixed feelings about Windows 7. First, I think it should be free to every Vista owner out there, partly in payment for the 2 years of misery Microsoft inflicted on us with Vista and Vista SP1, and finally because, under the hood, Windows 7 really is Vista done right.

All of that hardware specific plumbing and compatibility is still Vista, just fixed, and it was earned at our expense. Every Vista crash, every Windows Explorer cascading program failure, and buggy driver that was fixed in the 3 odd year Vista Beta Test of Windows 7, was paid for by end-users every day. Thank goodness we had reliable XP systems to shoulder the load for the painfully UNRELIABLE Vista Systems.

But for crying out loud, to have to pay a full upgrade price to escape from that bad dream seems like adding insult to injury.

I have seen a couple of Windows 7 odd behaviors – weird System Tray (now known as the Notification Area, thank you very much) stuff like hiding icons even when they’ve been told to stay put – having to restart programs which are already running – and, yes, one cascade failure of Windows Explorer.

Still, Windows 7 is everything Vista was not, and should have been, and I know Microsoft is happy with it – I mean, they got us to pay for it twice.


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