Microsoft's new and free security software Microsoft Security Essentials received some great reviews since its first release as a beta version earlier this year.
The final version of the antivirus program was released alongside Microsoft's new operating system Windows 7.
Microsoft Security Essentials is using Windows Update to update the virus definition files which can be problematic in situations where Windows Update is not activated by default. This may for example be the case in company networks where updates are tested before they are applied to computer systems, or environments where home owners do the same.
It can also be an issue in situations where Windows Update is not working properly (either because of a computer virus or other form of attack or because of other reasons).
Update: The program discussed below has been abandoned and is no longer working. You can use a program like WSUS Offline Update to download the latest version of Microsoft Security Essentials and/or Windows Defender definitions to the computer.
Nakodari over at Addictive Tips has created a small software program called MSE Update Utility which can be used to update Microsoft Security Essentials even if Windows Update is disabled.
The update intervals of the software can be selected in the main interface after startup. The choices are daily, weekly, monthly or on startup with the additional option to add the program to Windows startup.
The program can be an interesting option for users who cannot use Windows Update to update Microsoft Security Essential, and users who want update checks to run more frequently.
It seems though that the update tool needs to be running in the background to update the virus definitions. A better solution would be to either run and quit after updating the definition files or use the Windows Task Scheduler to schedule the updates.
It is possible to run an update check using Microsoft Security Essentials directly. All you need to do is run the command MpCmdRun.exe SignatureUpdate. You find MpCmdRun.exe in the Microsoft Security Essentials directory on your system.
When you run the command a check for updates is performed. Updates are downloaded automatically to the local system and applied if they are found.
You can add a new scheduled task for that to automate it further. Just open the Windows Task Scheduler with a tap on the Windows-key, typing Task Scheduler, and hitting Enter to get started with that.
You can run the command on every start or shutdown for instance, or whenever the computer is idle.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.