Author Topic: Will Microsoft's Free Antivirus App be Worth the Price?  (Read 72097 times)

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Offline mkis

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Re: Will Microsoft's Free Antivirus App be Worth the Price?
« Reply #75 on: July 07, 2009, 06:02:34 PM »
I have been running Microsoft Security Essentials for a few weeks now

Microsoft appears happy to categorise MSE as antimalware rather than antivirus. This would explain why the antivirus component of Administrative Tools in XP systems is primarily an avast responsibility. Accordingly, where avast is resident antivirus, Windows concerns itself primarily with system. And where MSE is also resident, alongside avast, no changes occur in the allocation of antivirus duties, despite that MSE is also in on the hunt for virus - alongside avast. And granted that these are very early days for MSE.

The relevant registry entries for MSE are recorded as antimalware --
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Microsoft Antimalware\

Likewise the path on C:\ drive --
C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Microsoft\Microsoft Antimalware\

Event log for MSE is found in --
C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Microsoft\Microsoft Antimalware\Support

I have only briefly looked through the log. It is long, and as yet I do not know what is represented.


There are some issues with auto updates.

http://social.answers.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/mseupdate/thread/da5f6761-28c2-4541-aefa-1801470b3150

I have found this to be the case with the running of MSE on my XP system. I encountered update irregularities. Firstly, however, I had needed to tidy up my computer before I could accurately assess the running of MSE (as I posted above). I thought initially that auto updates would fall back into an orderly pattern once the computer had been returned to good running. But there has continued to be a few hiccups. Though fair to say, MSE continues to be an integral part of my desktop defence.


I have MSE set to run a scan 9am every day. By default XP will bypass the scan if the computer has been turned off, is not connected, or I think also at times if the operating system is in use. Bypass, however, does not rule as a failure to scan. I did notice one scan commencing at 9.40am and another at 9.20am. Turning on the computer also appears to sometimes start a scan, though I have not looked closely at this as yet (I have only noticed in retrospect - from the log). The scans are all quick scans. Yet I do feel reassured by this roving kind of activity.

I initially set MSE to look for updates prior to the daily scan. I noticed that I missed a few updates, and not only when I missed a scan. So I changed the setting to what I thought would be auto updates, whenever available, the same way that avast does it's updates. But MSE updates differently. Default setting is to search for updates at 8 hour intervals. By searching for updates just prior to scan time, I may have been restricting myself from auto updates that fell outside that setting. And this perhaps until I managed to synchronise a correct scan session. I also became worried that my setting might overrule all other options altogether. So I took off the updates setting, just leaving the daily scan.

Auto updates still do not appear to be stable - the way that avast are  - so I update manually each time that I boot into Windows.

Another issue with updates is that it does make a difference if your computer is turned on and connected 24/7. This is the best condition under which to run MSE on your XP system. You can set the system to look for updates at hourly intervals, so as not to have to wait too long when updates are available. You do this in the registry (find directions in the link above). But this is not absolutely necessary as updates rarely occur as anything more frequent than daily affairs.

But I update manually instead and that seems to do the trick. Because I am unable to leave the computer on and connected 24/7, I have opted for the I hour intervals Just for those times when I forget to update manually.

Despite the above, I dont find the updating to be a worry and I am reasonably happy with the performance of MSE to date. I do feel that I have a resident second opinion. On top of that I find the regularity of the avast updates to be very comnforting, and avast does come across as a bit of a heavyweight for once, when positioned alongside MSE.

Apparently the bugs are going be fixed for the next release of MSE.
Other than that, so far, so good.

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Offline mkis

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Re: Will Microsoft's Free Antivirus App be Worth the Price?
« Reply #76 on: July 09, 2009, 12:05:47 AM »
I turn on and connect the laptop a few times each day.

I powered up today about 8.30am.
MSE ran a scan unprompted at about 8.44am. The daily scan is set for 9am which did not run - logical I guess.
Auto updates had not run in the meantime - since 7/7/09 - so rather than wait, I updated manually and returned midnight 8/7/09 definition 1.61.1232.0

While MSE was scanning, avast engine updated automatically, registering on screen but not interrupting anything or affect / slow down MSE scan (which I deduce from that, MSE scan may run low level using very few resources).

Again, avast engine comes across as first opinion antivirus, but without actual incident or event to support this.
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Offline Lisandro

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Re: Will Microsoft's Free Antivirus App be Worth the Price?
« Reply #77 on: July 09, 2009, 04:47:34 PM »
MSE ran a scan unprompted at about 8.44am.
We can't rely on on-demand scannings...

Auto updates had not run in the meantime - since 7/7/09 - so rather than wait, I updated manually and returned midnight 8/7/09 definition 1.61.1232.0
Autoupdates is absolutely necessary. This is the major problem I've seen until now. I think it is an advantage of avast compared to AVG (less servers available for the free version) and Avira (only one automated update daily).
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Offline mkis

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Re: Will Microsoft's Free Antivirus App be Worth the Price?
« Reply #78 on: July 09, 2009, 05:39:50 PM »
Yes, if there is a weakness in MSE, then firstly it appears to be the updating process.

I'm not sure about the talk that something will be done with the next release. The main problem is that auto update is intermittent, you don't really know if you will get the next update or miss it. I've had an auto update go through since my last post. But I'm going to keep updating manually for now.

I've also noticed that problems unrelated to antivirus and anti-malware have switched my MSE off, where it stays until I restart it. This happened today when I tried out the laptop on a wireless hotspot downtown. Search for network, and reset, and refresh and so on, then shifted position to a different part of the building, and when I powered back on, I found MSE had stopped. The only credit that can be paid to MS over this is that it easy to see that the monitor is off - it has turned from blue to orange in the system tray - and also it takes very little to restart it. But, as you say, not the kind of reliability you would expect from a resident antivirus.

What I think Microsoft is getting at now is that computers should run 24/7 with a Windows operating system (Windows 7) and be on constant drip feed from Microsoft download center, as a means to locking users into the Microsoft network. They've done this before with Microsoft Network, trying to tie people in to membership as part of owning or running a Windows license. It didn't work then, and I don't think it will work now. Problem is people still don't trust Microsoft enough to make unreserved or exclusive commitments to the MS product range, especially when third party products keep setting a tough pace with better quality product time and time again.
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Offline Lisandro

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Re: Will Microsoft's Free Antivirus App be Worth the Price?
« Reply #79 on: July 09, 2009, 05:51:54 PM »
The main problem is that auto update is intermittent, you don't really know if you will get the next update or miss it. I've had an auto update go through since my last post. But I'm going to keep updating manually for now.
This is not acceptable.

I've also noticed that problems unrelated to antivirus and anti-malware have switched my MSE off, where it stays until I restart it.
There are room for self protection improvement then.
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Offline mkis

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Re: Will Microsoft's Free Antivirus App be Worth the Price?
« Reply #80 on: July 10, 2009, 12:29:26 AM »
Yes there is room for improvement and I think MSE will be improved with next release.

I waited for daily scan to run this morning before posting a reply. Scan run okay so I have now reset scan to run weekly - 9am Saturday morning.

As I said before, best running condition for MSE is to leave computer on and connected 24/7. I think this will also be the case with Windows 7, with full commitment to MS through their download center.

As for auto updates, this is how Stephen Boots, MVP, moderator on MSE forum  puts the problem --

"...the current beta build is missing an important function - a check that occurs at startup or wake if the last scheduled update check was unsucessful or missed. Once we see that added, your issue *should* be resolved."


I run XP and I would not want to take avast off my computer. But I'm still optimistic about MSE.
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Offline Lisandro

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Re: Will Microsoft's Free Antivirus App be Worth the Price?
« Reply #81 on: July 10, 2009, 12:52:09 AM »
"...the current beta build is missing an important function - a check that occurs at startup or wake if the last scheduled update check was unsucessful or missed. Once we see that added, your issue *should* be resolved."
Does that mean that MSE will be updated just once per day?
What happens if the user disable the on demand scanning? When it will check for a new update?
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Re: Will Microsoft's Free Antivirus App be Worth the Price?
« Reply #82 on: July 10, 2009, 01:34:15 AM »
Quote
Does that mean that MSE will be updated just once per day?

MSE is based on Windows Defender and its definitions are updated once or twice and even 3 times a day if necessary:
http://www.calendarofupdates.com/updates/index.php?act=calendar

Quote
What happens if the user disable the on demand scanning? When it will check for a new update?
When the user re-enables Run a sheduled scan on my computer (recommended) and has selected Check for the latest virus & spyware definitions before running a sheduled scan then the update check will occur.

Offline mkis

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Re: Will Microsoft's Free Antivirus App be Worth the Price?
« Reply #83 on: July 10, 2009, 02:02:26 AM »
Quote
Does that mean that MSE will be updated just once per day?

As YoKenny says, there is no set rule per day, updates are intermittent. The only rule is the default 8 hours interval to check for updates, but not sure how the interval resets if you turn your computer off. I've fallen behind at times, and some users have ended up more than 2 days behind. Pays to be turned on and connected to Microsoft on 24/7 basis.

Quote
What happens if the user disable the on demand scanning? When it will check for a new update?


Same applies I have found. And as YoKenny says below. My scheduled scan went through this morning but I have since turned off the update check because I found that it did not always go through. However, I do not run this computer 24/7 but use it off and on and also make changes as I might carry the laptop to a different environment.

I think most important that will come out of this, you need be to be turned on and connected 24/7 to run MSE.


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Offline bob3160

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Re: Will Microsoft's Free Antivirus App be Worth the Price?
« Reply #84 on: July 10, 2009, 03:25:41 AM »
Quote
you need be to be turned on and connected 24/7 to run MSE.
Sorry but I have to disagree with that statement.
My Dell Vostro which is running Win 7 - MSE and avast! updates usually 2x per day.
It is only on as long as I am using this laptop.
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Offline mkis

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Re: Will Microsoft's Free Antivirus App be Worth the Price?
« Reply #85 on: July 10, 2009, 03:56:20 AM »
I'm running XP, Bob. And I'm not getting regular updates without manual updating. I really think that my only option is to run the computer 24/7 to enable a regular pattern to my auto updates, which is something I cannot do.

But I do seem to be getting a more regular pattern lately. I think I did get two updates in a day, but my current definitions are still 9th July and today is the 10th, so how can I get an extra update today from the 9th and honestly call it an update - which is all I can see that I will get before the 11th July - my updates always seem to be one day behind. Is there a reason for this? Why can I not get updates today which are dated on the 10th?

As far as needing to be turned on and connected, I have been reading the MSE forum --
 - mainly this thread, so I will go back have a look if there has been any developments in the other threads - if I can find the spare time.

Quote
http://social.answers.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/mseupdate/thread/da5f6761-28c2-4541-aefa-1801470b3150


 
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Negeltu

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Re: Will Microsoft's Free Antivirus App be Worth the Price?
« Reply #86 on: July 10, 2009, 05:19:30 AM »
I noticed MSE realtime being turned off every once in awhile.  When I added quotes around it's startup reg entry... it didn't happen anymore.  Not sure if that had anything to do with it or not, but I noticed on an XP machine I have that the Microsoft folder under Program files was coming up at startup instead of MSE due to the lack of quotes around it's entry that had spaces.  I'm really liking MSE so far.  Much lighter feeling on my systems and faster boot time.
« Last Edit: July 10, 2009, 05:21:17 AM by Negeltu »

Offline mkis

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Re: Will Microsoft's Free Antivirus App be Worth the Price?
« Reply #87 on: July 10, 2009, 01:38:21 PM »
I know where to get an update reading for today. I get it from my log. I've just been reading through 10th July events in Microsoft Antimalware. I guess I got put off by the dates in the MSE monitor on my desktop (the Interphase window I think some are calling it). I'm using this laptop a lot more and I have noticed the updates coming through over the last day or so. I've changed the interval for check for updates back to 8 so as not to have the log cluttered. I'm getting a clear reading of the scans now. If worthwhile, I'll put a bit more time in following them updates over the next week.

I've also reset to check for updates prior to tomorrow morning's scan and I'll try to remember to be there. ;D
I guess I'll have to live wirh occasional turn off and on if it happens again, at least until I find out what causes it each time. I had almost forgotten, but then it happened again today after I had uninstalled some excess programs to free up my system a bit. From now on, if I see MSE has turned off, I'll go straight to the event logs.

@Negeltu - I see what you mean about the commas, but in msconfig. where some of the other entries are enclosed within commas. I cannot see where to find to edit in the registry. But interesting for sure, not something I know much about, Sounds like there could be something to it, a more stable footing perhaps. Someone else may be able to add something.

When I say 24/7 I probably really mean a system totally dedicated to Microsoft, the download center, and the most likely Windows 7. This is the environment that MSE will excel in, and operating systems will synchronise to that formula running a stripped down Windows platform if wanted, or adding / removing layers of third party probably more easier than ever. Yet more dedicated Windows than ever and running the computer perpetually would be ideal for having that kind of system at optimum. But I guess you wouldn't do that, even though it has been part of performance practice for yonks, in the technical manuals anyway.

I think the worry with relying too much on Windows is that it wouldn't be out of character for Microsoft to one day tell us after the fact that they had discovered there had been an underlying vulnerability in Internet Explorer, and that this had meant....
« Last Edit: July 10, 2009, 01:42:02 PM by mkis »
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Offline Lisandro

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Re: Will Microsoft's Free Antivirus App be Worth the Price?
« Reply #88 on: July 10, 2009, 02:01:08 PM »
Quote
Does that mean that MSE will be updated just once per day?

MSE is based on Windows Defender and its definitions are updated once or twice and even 3 times a day if necessary
Will the update reach the user? Be available is one thing, appyed is another...

Quote
What happens if the user disable the on demand scanning? When it will check for a new update?
When the user re-enables Run a sheduled scan on my computer (recommended) and has selected Check for the latest virus & spyware definitions before running a sheduled scan then the update check will occur.
The user has to manual act... I'm worried about automatic updates...
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Offline bob3160

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Re: Will Microsoft's Free Antivirus App be Worth the Price?
« Reply #89 on: July 10, 2009, 03:08:52 PM »
Quote
The user has to manual act... I'm worried about automatic updates...
I don't do manual updates for MSE any more than I do manual updates for avast!
Both are updated automatically.
If you want to do a manual update, that option is available for both AV programs.

Quote
I think the worry with relying too much on Windows is that it wouldn't be out of character for Microsoft to one day tell us after the fact that they had discovered there had been an underlying vulnerability in Internet Explorer, and that this had meant....
And I thought this was going to be an unbiased review?  :'(
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