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No More Morro: Meet Microsoft Security Essentials

In the wake of numerous leaks about the upcoming product, Paul Thurrot was finally allowed to go public on June 18 about the replacement product for Windows Live OneCare. Formerly code-named “Morro” (for the famous beach in Rio de Janeiro), the product is almost into public beta, and will be called Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE). His story about the product and its checkered history makes fascinating reading: check it out on his SuperSite for Windows. It looks like current plans are for general availability when Windows 7 goes into GA (on or about 10/22/2009). This offering will be free of charge, and will work with 32- and 64-bit versions of Vista and Windows 7 (32-bit Windows XP versions only).

In describing the product, Thurrot starts by listing what’s been rumored or reported about the product that isn’t true. Here goes my summary/recap:

  • it’s not a “cloud computing AV solution” though it does support near-real-time updates
  • There’s no managed firewall
  • There’s no management facility for multiple computers on a home network
  • There’s no application controls nor GPO capability

According to Thurrot, what MSE does have to offer essentially boils down to “OneCare minus the stuff that’s not related to fighting malware.” He also goes on to describe MSE as “small, fast, light, and effective.” Right after that he starts to elicit some incredulity when he says “…and since it’s built on the same award-winning underpinnings as Microsoft’s other security products you know you can trust it.” Wait a minute: is this for real. Yep! When I go off to look at the latest Virus Bulletin 100 (aka vb100) there it is with a vb100 sticker (but it appears that Thurrot is really talking about ForeFront which has also earned vb100s consistently starting as far back as June 2007 ).

I have to say that MSE appears to be a real boon, especially for users in need of low-cost/no-cost protection for virtual machines as well as real ones. According to Thurrot the public beta will commence next Tuesday on June 23. I think we’re going to have to check this out!

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