MS Security Essentials and Windows Defender

Started Mar 20, 2013 | Discussions
skyglider
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MS Security Essentials and Windows Defender
Mar 20, 2013

I have MS Security Essentials (MSE) installed on my Win7 tower and MS Windows Defender (MWD) came with Win8 that's installed on my laptop.

ISSUE 1 - AUTO UPDATES:
In both cases, the MSE and MWD anti-virus software does not auto update. I have to manually initiate updates. I haven't been able to find a setting in either MSE or MWD to turn auto updates on. Is there a way?

ISSUE 2 - AUTO SCANS:
MSE on my Win7 tower has an option in settings for when to run auto scans. MWD on my Win8 laptops does not show this option in settings. ..... I don't like to run anti-virus scans automatically and always run them manually. However, a friend that I support is used to having anti-virus scans run automatically with her previous WinXP PC. I want to have MWD anti-virus scans run automatically on her Win8 computer. Is there a way to set MWD in Win8 to auto scan?

Thanks,
Sky

Jim Cockfield
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Why bother? MSE has very poor detection
In reply to skyglider, Mar 20, 2013

I don't know the answers to your questions, since I would never bother to install MS Security Essentials (since it's about as bad as it gets for malware protection).

If you look at tests from reputable labs, MS Security Essentials is horrible compared to other products. For example, click on the "Protection:" column to sort that way, and Security Essentials has the lowest score out of any product tested by av-test.org:

http://www.av-test.org/en/tests/home-user/windows-7/novdec-2012/

IOW, for most practical purposes, tt just doesn't get any worse than Microsoft Security Essentials at protecting your PC from malware.

You'll also find other studies showing it only works for around 85% of known malware with Win 8 (Windows Defender + Security Essentials). That may look good "on the surface" until you consider that there are something like 70,000 new malware strains being seen every day.

Since most sites promoting malware are using newer strains, as originally asked, why bother (using Microsoft products for malware protection), as they're probably next to worthless at  protection from real world infections you'd see now (as most malicious sites are likely using newer strains of malware that Microsoft is not going to detect anyway)?

IOW, I'd do yourself a favor and find a better product to help prevent malware, and that means almost any other product (free or commercial), since Microsoft AV products rank so low, as they're about as bad as it gets in detection of malware.

Basically, the protection against malware is so bad, I wouldn't even bother to waste the resources by letting Microsoft products like that run on my PC. You'd probably be just as well off from most real world issues leaving it uninstalled.

I'd look at products with higher detection rates for known malware, combined with better zero day protection.

I would certainly not entertain the idea of using Microsoft AV products; as they've got a horrible track record, as shown by tests by reputable labs.

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skyglider
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Re: Why bother? MSE has very poor detection
In reply to Jim Cockfield, Mar 21, 2013

I don't know the answers to your questions, since I would never bother to install MS Security Essentials (since it's about as bad as it gets for malware protection).

If you look at tests from reputable labs, MS Security Essentials is horrible compared to other products. For example, click on the "Protection:" column to sort that way, and Security Essentials has the lowest score out of any product tested by av-test.org:

http://www.av-test.org/en/tests/home-user/windows-7/novdec-2012/

IOW, for most practical purposes, tt just doesn't get any worse than Microsoft Security Essentials at protecting your PC from malware.

You'll also find other studies showing it only works for around 85% of known malware with Win 8 (Windows Defender + Security Essentials). That may look good "on the surface" until you consider that there are something like 70,000 new malware strains being seen every day.

Since most sites promoting malware are using newer strains, as originally asked, why bother (using Microsoft products for malware protection), as they're probably next to worthless at protection from real world infections you'd see now (as most malicious sites are likely using newer strains of malware that Microsoft is not going to detect anyway)?

IOW, I'd do yourself a favor and find a better product to help prevent malware, and that means almost any other product (free or commercial), since Microsoft AV products rank so low, as they're about as bad as it gets in detection of malware.

Basically, the protection against malware is so bad, I wouldn't even bother to waste the resources by letting Microsoft products like that run on my PC. You'd probably be just as well off from most real world issues leaving it uninstalled.

I'd look at products with higher detection rates for known malware, combined with better zero day protection.

I would certainly not entertain the idea of using Microsoft AV products; as they've got a horrible track record, as shown by tests by reputable labs.

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JimC
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Jim,

I appreciate your always helpful advice.  Which top 2 free AV software do you currently recommend?

Thanks,
Sky

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rio911
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Re: Why bother? MSE has very poor detection
In reply to skyglider, Mar 21, 2013

I'm a big fan of AVAST free AV, they are the best and are free.  They do pest you with offers for the paid version, but these are just as easily disabled.

Also don't forget if you get a different AV to replace Defender, it does not automatically disable it.  You might have to go and disable Defender Service manually.

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VirtualMirage
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Re: MS Security Essentials and Windows Defender
In reply to skyglider, Mar 21, 2013

How do you have Windows Updates configured on your Windows machines?  Auto, manual, scheduled date, disabled?

I want to say the definitions for MSE and WD get pulled through the built in Windows Update.  If this is not set to automatic or set to something like "notify but don't install" or "disabled" then MSE and WD won't get their updates.

While I have had no issues with MSE and WD, they have worked great for me and my machines have been running clean, it is a bit annoying they don't use their own updating mechanism (relying on the Windows update to pull new definitions instead).

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Bouldergramp
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Re: MS Security Essentials and Windows Defender
In reply to skyglider, Mar 21, 2013

A quote from wikipedia:

"The product received generally positive reviews praising its user interface, low resource usage and freeware license. It secured AV-TEST.org certification, having demonstrated its ability to eliminate all widely encountered malware. According to a March 2012 report by anti-malware specialist OPSWAT, MSE was the most popular AV product in North America and the second most popular in the world, which has resulted in the appearance of several rogue antivirus programs that try to impersonate it."

You may want to do some searching to find out more about MSE.  On my Vista computers, msseces.exe runs in my list of startup  programs and updates MSE once the internet connection is established.  As far as I know, there is no setting for this update procedure.

I think MSE completely replaced Windows Defender and it is disabled in my startup programs.

Microsoft's EMET Notifier is also in my startup program list but frankly, I don't know much about it.

For many years, I have had Win Patrol Plus installed on all of my computers and use it to disable a lot of startup programs...currently 12 out of 26 are disabled.  It is also convenient for deleting cookies.

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1w12q312qw1
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Re: MS Security Essentials and Windows Defender
In reply to Bouldergramp, Mar 21, 2013

Bouldergramp wrote:

A quote from wikipedia:

"The product received generally positive reviews praising its user interface, low resource usage and freeware license. It secured AV-TEST.org certification, having demonstrated its ability to eliminate all widely encountered malware. According to a March 2012 report by anti-malware specialist OPSWAT, MSE was the most popular AV product in North America and the second most popular in the world, which has resulted in the appearance of several rogue antivirus programs that try to impersonate it."

You may want to do some searching to find out more about MSE. On my Vista computers, msseces.exe runs in my list of startup programs and updates MSE once the internet connection is established. As far as I know, there is no setting for this update procedure.

I think MSE completely replaced Windows Defender and it is disabled in my startup programs.

Microsoft's EMET Notifier is also in my startup program list but frankly, I don't know much about it.

For many years, I have had Win Patrol Plus installed on all of my computers and use it to disable a lot of startup programs...currently 12 out of 26 are disabled. It is also convenient for deleting cookies.

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Bouldergramp

All of the reputable research available is in the links that Jim provided. But how about some REAL-WORLD research. Twice my PC was invaded while relying on MSE, I had to use AVG, Malwarebytes and Kapersky to get rid of the infections. IMHO, MSE is no doubt the WORST anti-virus product you can use. If MS paid me to use it I wouldn't.

Stan

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VirtualMirage
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Re: MS Security Essentials and Windows Defender
In reply to 1w12q312qw1, Mar 21, 2013

1w12q312qw1 wrote:

All of the reputable research available is in the links that Jim provided. But how about some REAL-WORLD research. Twice my PC was invaded while relying on MSE, I had to use AVG, Malwarebytes and Kapersky to get rid of the infections. IMHO, MSE is no doubt the WORST anti-virus product you can use. If MS paid me to use it I wouldn't.

Stan

I guess it just depends from person to person and what personal safe practices you perform when using your PC.

I've been using it since the day it went public, before that I was using OneCare and Symantec (when it was becoming a bloated mess).  I have not had a single issue with any of my PCs.  It's been so long I can't even remember the last time I have contracted a virus/trojan/malware, let alone one that got flagged after it has done it its damage.  I'd have to say it was probably during my Symantec or early OneCare days since the last time I have seen something like that pop up.

I'll occasionally scan with Spybot or Malwarebytes, finding nothing to be concerned about.

I find it strange how this topic so quickly went from an inquiry about automatic updates to a full on bashing of the product.  The OP didn't ask your opinion about the product, they were asking about the updates it receives.

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1w12q312qw1
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Re: MS Security Essentials and Windows Defender
In reply to VirtualMirage, Mar 21, 2013

VirtualMirage wrote:

1w12q312qw1 wrote:

All of the reputable research available is in the links that Jim provided. But how about some REAL-WORLD research. Twice my PC was invaded while relying on MSE, I had to use AVG, Malwarebytes and Kapersky to get rid of the infections. IMHO, MSE is no doubt the WORST anti-virus product you can use. If MS paid me to use it I wouldn't.

Stan

I guess it just depends from person to person and what personal safe practices you perform when using your PC.

I've been using it since the day it went public, before that I was using OneCare and Symantec (when it was becoming a bloated mess). I have not had a single issue with any of my PCs. It's been so long I can't even remember the last time I have contracted a virus/trojan/malware, let alone one that got flagged after it has done it its damage. I'd have to say it was probably during my Symantec or early OneCare days since the last time I have seen something like that pop up.

I'll occasionally scan with Spybot or Malwarebytes, finding nothing to be concerned about.

I find it strange how this topic so quickly went from an inquiry about automatic updates to a full on bashing of the product. The OP didn't ask your opinion about the product, they were asking about the updates it receives.

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Paul

If a forumer is using an inferior product, some of us feel obliged to offer our opinions. Sorry my contibution was slightly astray from the OP and i'm especially sorry it offended you so much. Now that I know you are one of the moderators here, I'll watch my behavior carefully.

Stan

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Bouldergramp
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Re: MS Security Essentials and Windows Defender
In reply to Bouldergramp, Mar 21, 2013

Bouldergramp wrote:

A quote from wikipedia:

"The product received generally positive reviews praising its user interface, low resource usage and freeware license. It secured AV-TEST.org certification, having demonstrated its ability to eliminate all widely encountered malware. According to a March 2012 report by anti-malware specialist OPSWAT, MSE was the most popular AV product in North America and the second most popular in the world, which has resulted in the appearance of several rogue antivirus programs that try to impersonate it."

You may want to do some searching to find out more about MSE. On my Vista computers, msseces.exe runs in my list of startup programs and updates MSE once the internet connection is established. As far as I know, there is no setting for this update procedure.

I think MSE completely replaced Windows Defender and it is disabled in my startup programs.

Microsoft's EMET Notifier is also in my startup program list but frankly, I don't know much about it.

For many years, I have had Win Patrol Plus installed on all of my computers and use it to disable a lot of startup programs...currently 12 out of 26 are disabled. It is also convenient for deleting cookies.

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Bouldergramp

I forgot to mention that I keep Automatic Update OFF.

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VirtualMirage
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Re: MS Security Essentials and Windows Defender
In reply to 1w12q312qw1, Mar 21, 2013

1w12q312qw1 wrote:

If a forumer is using an inferior product, some of us feel obliged to offer our opinions. Sorry my contibution was slightly astray from the OP and i'm especially sorry it offended you so much. Now that I know you are one of the moderators here, I'll watch my behavior carefully.

Stan

I'll overlook what is coming across as sarcasm.

Don't think the last line in my previous comment was aimed solely at you, it was meant to be in general to the whole topic.

While everyone is entitled to their opinion, no one except for myself actually contributed anything to the initial inquiry.  I have seen plenty of times in this forum that anytime MSE and WD are mentioned, it goes into a full on bash fest.  The take away?  You have haters and people that have no problems with it.  It seems to be a very polarizing opinion.  But that horse has been beaten to death many times over, much like many other topics (EVF vs OVF, Windows 8, etc.).

If you constantly bit-torrent, surf porn, and love going to the deepest, darkest, dirtiest corners of the web them maybe MSE/WD isn't for you.  Then again, if that is the case, you are better off working through a VM that receives a snapshot before going on adventures.  That is probably your safest bet.  For everyone else, MSE/WD should be more than capable to handle what is thrown at it all the while keeping a small footprint and producing a minimal amount of false positives.

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Jim Cockfield
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Comodo Internet Security (free version)
In reply to skyglider, Mar 21, 2013

skyglider wrote:

Jim,

I appreciate your always helpful advice. Which top 2 free AV software do you currently recommend?

Thanks,
Sky

I'd install the free Comodo internet Security Product.  This one:

http://www.comodo.com/home/internet-security/free-internet-security.php

It's got everything the $39 Comodo Internet Security 2013 Complete product has in it, except for the free online Virus Removal Help, the WiFi Trust Connect Product (which gives you a VPN for securing WiFi traffic using public hotspots), the $500 Warranty, and the 10GB of cloud storage space.

IOW, it's got the protection you need for home use at zero cost, without the extra "perks" of their paid product.

Basically, it uses a Default Deny approach to software it doesn't recognize.  So, even if their signature based detection doesn't recognize a program as malicious, it's not going to compromise your system, since Comodo is going to Sandbox it (using a virtual OS, registry, etc.) until it can be analyzed properly by their systems (at which point it will either allow the program to work outside of a sandbox, or remove it for you).

That gives you superior protection against "zero day" malware that other AV products will let through (just because the other products may not recognize it as malware yet).

Given the huge number of new malware samples being seen every day now (something like 70,000 new and unique samples by conservative estimates), I would go with a product like the one I'm suggesting instead, since *none* of them are going to recognize all new malware strains.   IOW, I'd err towards caution, and make sure new programs can't infect your system, sandboxing them instead until more complete analysis (which Comodo Internet Security does for you).

Here's a video review showing how that works:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y3wPptl3SIk

BTW, the reviewer (who has tested lots of AV products) also uses Comodo.

You'll find the same thing with some of the other more knowledgeable reviewers of AV products.   For example, look at some of the reviews on youtube by languy99.

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Archer66
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Re: Comodo Internet Security (free version)
In reply to Jim Cockfield, Mar 21, 2013

Jim Cockfield wrote:

It's really funny that you bash a product bc it didnt do so well on some test but the product you endorse isnt even tested in that same test.

FUD.

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Jim Cockfield
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In reply to Archer66, Mar 21, 2013

Archer66 wrote:

Jim Cockfield wrote:

It's really funny that you bash a product bc it didnt do so well on some test but the product you endorse isnt even tested in that same test.

FUD.

It's too bad you have no idea what you're talking about, and want to defend MS products at every opportunity.

I've already explained how the Comodo Product works, so even if it's signature detection doesn't flag software as malicious, it's still not going to infect your system using it's default (Default Deny Protection).

You'll find a number of reviews demonstrating that behavior, as in the video review I linked to.

In contrast, you'll find reviews showing newer Malware infecting systems running Microsoft products like MSE. You don't have to dig very far in forums to find examples of users that became infecting using it either (as one poster in this thread already attested to, and you can find a number of others, too).

I probably see a lot more malware than most users, since I'm the forums admin for a digital camera review site, and we get new users posting links to malicious content on a regular basis. I've seen a number of cases where MSE did not detect it, when other products did.

I've evenn give specific examples in the forums here in the past. For example, I discussed one in this post:

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/post/38456631

Here's another post in the same thread about how bad MSE worked:

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/post/38455050?image=1

I've made more posts about exploits I've seen since then, that MSE did not detect.

Sorry if that offends you (since you seem to want to defend Microsoft's efforts at all cost).

But, I'm trying to give good advise to others to help them prevent malware infection.

As for what you're trying to accomplish, I can only guess.

In any event, I hope you can sleep OK at night, as some people have problems with that when they are giving bad advise to others.

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skyglider
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Re: MS Security Essentials and Windows Defender
In reply to VirtualMirage, Mar 21, 2013

VirtualMirage wrote:

How do you have Windows Updates configured on your Windows machines? Auto, manual, scheduled date, disabled?

I want to say the definitions for MSE and WD get pulled through the built in Windows Update. If this is not set to automatic or set to something like "notify but don't install" or "disabled" then MSE and WD won't get their updates.

While I have had no issues with MSE and WD, they have worked great for me and my machines have been running clean, it is a bit annoying they don't use their own updating mechanism (relying on the Windows update to pull new definitions instead).

Interesting!  I always set Windows updates to no auto updates but notify me when updates are available. I hate it when auto updates is enabled and:

  1. It starts updating my PC when I do a shutdown for the night before going to sleep.  Then I have to wait until the updates are finished or leave my PC running all night.
  2. If an auto update affects something but I wasn't aware that the auto update happened, then it would be hard to determine what caused the problem.  OTOH, when I manually do Windows updates, if something goes wrong I might be able to attribute the problem to the last update.  (Though truthfully this problem hasn't happened that I recall)

Thanks,
Sky

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skyglider
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Re: Comodo Internet Security (free version)
In reply to Jim Cockfield, Mar 21, 2013

Jim Cockfield wrote:

skyglider wrote:

Jim,

I appreciate your always helpful advice. Which top 2 free AV software do you currently recommend?

Thanks,
Sky

I'd install the free Comodo internet Security Product. This one:

http://www.comodo.com/home/internet-security/free-internet-security.php

It's got everything the $39 Comodo Internet Security 2013 Complete product has in it, except for the free online Virus Removal Help, the WiFi Trust Connect Product (which gives you a VPN for securing WiFi traffic using public hotspots), the $500 Warranty, and the 10GB of cloud storage space.

IOW, it's got the protection you need for home use at zero cost, without the extra "perks" of their paid product.

Basically, it uses a Default Deny approach to software it doesn't recognize. So, even if their signature based detection doesn't recognize a program as malicious, it's not going to compromise your system, since Comodo is going to Sandbox it (using a virtual OS, registry, etc.) until it can be analyzed properly by their systems (at which point it will either allow the program to work outside of a sandbox, or remove it for you).

That gives you superior protection against "zero day" malware that other AV products will let through (just because the other products may not recognize it as malware yet).

Given the huge number of new malware samples being seen every day now (something like 70,000 new and unique samples by conservative estimates), I would go with a product like the one I'm suggesting instead, since *none* of them are going to recognize all new malware strains. IOW, I'd err towards caution, and make sure new programs can't infect your system, sandboxing them instead until more complete analysis (which Comodo Internet Security does for you).

Here's a video review showing how that works:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y3wPptl3SIk

BTW, the reviewer (who has tested lots of AV products) also uses Comodo.

You'll find the same thing with some of the other more knowledgeable reviewers of AV products. For example, look at some of the reviews on youtube by languy99.

JimC,

You and the link you provided including reviews by languy99 has convinced me to give the free version of Comodo a try.  Do you know if installing Comodo Free on a Win8 PC will automatically disable the built-in Windows Defender?  I read a MS blurb that says that's what happens but would like your input in case you know something about this.

Thanks,
Sky

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VirtualMirage
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Re: MS Security Essentials and Windows Defender
In reply to skyglider, Mar 21, 2013

skyglider wrote:

Interesting! I always set Windows updates to no auto updates but notify me when updates are available. I hate it when auto updates is enabled and:

  1. It starts updating my PC when I do a shutdown for the night before going to sleep. Then I have to wait until the updates are finished or leave my PC running all night.
  2. If an auto update affects something but I wasn't aware that the auto update happened, then it would be hard to determine what caused the problem. OTOH, when I manually do Windows updates, if something goes wrong I might be able to attribute the problem to the last update. (Though truthfully this problem hasn't happened that I recall)

Thanks,
Sky

Since my machine is left on 24/7, I have it scheduled to automatically do updates in the middle of the night.  This minimizes any impact on what I am doing and I don't have to wait for anything.  The only thing it might effect is my backups, which are since being queued to a cloud storage it will just cache and pick back up where it left off after reboot.

As for attributing problems, I usually refer to the Event Logs and update history for that.  MS used to have a fairly set schedule as to when updates were released (unless it was a zero day fix), so it was pretty predictable as to when the machine would get patched (second Tuesday of the month).  But recently they have now broken it up where security patches and fixes still come out on the second Tuesday of the month, but other fixes and improvements may get staggered out to the following week so as to not dump a ton of updates all at once on a machine.

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skyglider
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In reply to skyglider, Mar 21, 2013

Thanks everyone for your responses.  I read every one and appreciate your input.  I'll post updates as significant events happen.

Thanks,
Sky

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Jim Cockfield
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Re: Comodo Internet Security (free version)
In reply to skyglider, Mar 21, 2013

skyglider wrote:

You and the link you provided including reviews by languy99 has convinced me to give the free version of Comodo a try.

Yep..... The reviews by languy99 can be a bit long and boring . But, he uses very fresh malware samples (since most products don't do very well with brand new malware), and performs very thorough reviews.

If you look at the protection he uses, Comodo is his primary protection (and the same thing applies to malwaredoctor (the reviewer of Comodo I linked to earlier).

You'll also find that Comodo's Killswitch software is often used by reviewers to determine anything malicious running in memory, even when their using or reviewing other products.

Do you know if installing Comodo Free on a Win8 PC will automatically disable the built-in Windows Defender? I read a MS blurb that says that's what happens but would like your input in case you know something about this.

You'd have to check to find out (and if they're enabled, it's easy to disable them).

I was running Avira Antivir Premium for a long time (since it's signature based detection is extremely good). Just look at some of the av-comparatives tests for examples, where it was near the best, and products like Microsoft Security Essentials was near the bottom. See their latest test like that here:

http://www.av-comparatives.org/images/docs/avc_fdt_201209_en.pdf

But, it's zero day protection against previously unknown malware was lacking (as is true with most AV products).

So, I also ran the Comodo Firewall product, which had the same "default deny" protection as their other products like the one I suggested, as well as Threatfire (which uses more advanced heuristics to make sure unknown threads can't do things like modify registry entries, etc.).

But, over time, I found that the more advanced signature based detection offered by Avira, combined with Threatfire, were just a waste of resources. IOW, Comodo Internet Security is going to block anything it doesn't recognize by default anyway, either isolating the programs in a sandbox, or removing them.

So, when my Avira Premium (paid, not free) subscription was due for renewal, I dropped it, and switched to using Comodo alone (since it's going to protect me just a well as using multiple products, even if it's signature protection isn't quite as good as Avira's (and even that is subjective, as Comodo seems to do very nicely at detecting brand new malware from tests I've seen, whereas products like MSE may take weeks to add new malware to signatures).

There are pros and cons to any of them. But, I'd take Comodo's "default deny" protection over any other product's signature based detection, as it's not going to let programs it doesn't know about infect your PC using it's defaults, even if those programs are not detected by Comodo as malware (as it's going to "sandbox" unknown programs, even if it doesn't detect them as malware, until it can more thoroughly analyze the software to determine if it's malicious or not)

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Eric Carlson
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Re: MS Security Essentials and Windows Defender
In reply to skyglider, Mar 21, 2013

skyglider wrote:

In both cases, the MSE and MWD anti-virus software does not auto update. I have to manually initiate updates. I haven't been able to find a setting in either MSE or MWD to turn auto updates on. Is there a way?

My MSE in Win7 stays up to date (at least the definitions) automatically. My definitions were updated today, and the last time I allowed Microsoft Update to install updates was a week ago, so MSE definitions are updating independently from the regular Microsoft Updates.

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