Microsoft Security Essentials Rated Highly In AV-Comparatives Test

Martin Brinkmann
Oct 31, 2009
Updated • Dec 10, 2014
Security, Windows software

Most tech savvy users have their personal favorite when it comes to antivirus software. Be it security software from Kaspersky, Symantec, Trend Micro, AVG, Avira or Avast: everyone seems to have a favorite that they recommend to other userswhen asked about the best antivirus solution.

Lately, Microsoft has joined the ranks of recommended antivirus solutions with its security software Microsoft Security Essentials.

The latest test by independent security researchers AV-Comparatives confirms that Microsoft has developed a solid security software for the Windows operating system. The latest test concentrated on virus and malware removal capabilities of selected free and commercial antivirus products.

The test itself pitted sixteen different security products against ten malware samples. Six of the sixteen security software programs received an advanced plus rating. Among them Microsoft's Security Essential product which was also the only free product to score the highest rating and one of three that scored a good rating in the two tested fields removal of malware and removal of leftovers.

While the test certainly does not make Microsoft Security Essentials the best free antivirus software that is currently available as Lee described it over at the Download Squad, it certainly can be seen as an indicator that Microsoft has delivered a quality software program for the Windows operating system.

The test results are available as a pdf report on the AV Comparatives website.

It needs to be noted that the test looked at the removal of malware and leftovers more than it tested program capabilities against a large set of malicious programs. While it is great if a program can remove malware and leftovers properly on the system, it does not help you a lot if its detection engine is not overly good.

Update: Microsoft Security Essentials / Windows Defender did not do as well in the most recent test. It scored 75 out of 100 possible points which puts it in the lower half of tested programs. The program that did the best was from Bitdefender followed by products from AVG, BullGuard, Kasperky and eScan.


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  1. dk said on November 1, 2009 at 3:24 am

    To the extend a software product can protect your safe computing yes ;) As good as any other AV of course, difference is not that big if you disregard the best and the worst. You might not have need for anything. Activate between ears shield and nothing bad will happen… If you have much illegal incoming from p2p, cant help clicking in general, perhaps have other than your self using computer – then MSE is not enough. MS count on you to compute wisely, from strong passwords, UAC, no unnecessary use of Admin account to updates of browser plugins. May be even system backup making this “security” less of an issue. Is now in all 7 versions right? Use it. But you and usage of computer decide needs, problems don’t fall from the sky.

    Some just like to have a cool program and if money is not object NIS2010 and friends are nice :) You can’t get such things for free. Just don’t think it is a great demand. Can easily “value” your data and family without investing. Avast, AVG, Avira have just as good AVs but MS name on a box make a big difference. Most of those potential customers trying out MSE will most likely not return = they are no longer targets. Lost in MS. Don’t forget Forefront, MS also go after business side. They need to build up trust in name now we are going cloudy right? ;) They think ahead.

    If you look at how the not so aware users get into trouble it has not really much to do with AV, definitely not which brand. More like installing crappy programs, not understanding basic Windows, getting fooled at Google searches or navigating internet else where, simply being lazy/naive/click happy. Such people are hard to help with software. A no pain no gain situation I think, all have to learn. If really hopeless I would suggest trying to tame internet with WOT, perhaps even paid Malwarebytes which includes a mini-WOT. Have to make a risk evaluation and security policy for each setup to find out details. Doing that wont be good to caring industry ;) Being secure is more knowledge than shape of icon in task tray. But I said lazy = easy solutions are welcomed. Install whatever paid product and that is it. There will always be such customers.

    MS is greedy bastards but I don’ t care. Think at least basic AV should be build-in Windows so MS is just starting to deliver – don’t take something away from anyone. Should have made MSE when XP was released.

  2. JCR said on November 1, 2009 at 1:05 am

    So, dk, if I follow you well, that means that when I’ll install 7 on the machine I’m building, I can rely on MS security tools to protect my PC. If I get you right, I would be at least as well protected as with any other software ( home computer)??

  3. dk said on November 1, 2009 at 12:39 am

    No not really. MSE is not welcomed by all and interests will typically show in just magazines. Also in forums btw, may be even in these comments – eager resellers, fan boys who already paid. Same thing all over. Interests also show them self in “test” of course. You will find it hard to find any security product which is not “widely acclaimed”, by someone somewhere. “tech savvy users” label should be used carefully, like how many left after excluding idea security is about a brand?, preferably investing in one. At least half is gone. Few know much, or really care, but somehow all understand concept and importance of “security” = loads of BS and marketing playing the “scare card”. Now with Windows Vista/7 MSE is not welcomed at all. Old stories will eventually die out, where to get new ones from?

    Test is pretty silly though. Removal/repair is not a priority among the old companies. You don’t get infected so why bother ;) And so we end up with Malwarebytes, SuperAntiSpyware and much more. That site usually focus on prevention. If you look at details none performed well but at least they have that feature in common.

    MSE has some obvious faults but they are already testing a new beta – which indicates they have no plan of stopping this “attack” :)

  4. JCR said on October 31, 2009 at 10:16 pm

    This is real funny…only testing removal abilities…The main purpose of an AV is to BLOCK viruses and other malware.
    What is also strange is that living now in Europe, I read a lot of french IT reviews,magazines etc and I can tell you that MS security suite is widely considered here as a pile of you know what…even in tests.
    The most widely acclaimed AV here are Kaspersky, Avira, G Data, BitDefender and Nod32 with extensive tests backing this up. Not quite the results shown here….Bizarre…

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