Microsoft Security Essentials Updater

Martin Brinkmann
Nov 16, 2009
Updated • Mar 25, 2017
Windows, Windows software, Windows Updates

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.

Microsoft Security Essentials Updater

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.

Microsoft Security Essentials Updater
Article Name
Microsoft Security Essentials Updater
The guide explains how to update Microsoft Security Updates manually. This can be done from the command line or by running a lightweight program.
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  1. sahil said on June 25, 2011 at 4:47 pm

    @sahil: So that the realtime protection isn’t dependent on you remembering to click the Update Button. It’s a good option if you have Windows Update disabled (eg. in a corporate environment).

  2. sahil said on June 25, 2011 at 4:44 pm

    this is very good antivirus

  3. Dan said on March 18, 2010 at 5:57 pm

    @Ram: So that the realtime protection isn’t dependent on you remembering to click the Update Button. It’s a good option if you have Windows Update disabled (eg. in a corporate environment).

  4. Ram said on November 17, 2009 at 8:50 pm

    MSE has a built in Updater on the Second Tab with an Update Button, why is this utility even necessary?

  5. Craig Kensek said on November 17, 2009 at 8:24 pm

    I’d have to look, but one of AV-comparatives tests involves a sample size of 10, which they do discuss. I would also look at what CRN (channel web) said about AVG vs. Microsoft.

  6. Sérgio Dias said on November 17, 2009 at 5:23 pm

    That poll is based on popularity, not effectiveness. In AV Comparatives’ latest tests Microsoft Security Essentials gets a rank of Advanced+, the best classification. I also got a little surprised by this, but it seems that Microsoft finally created a great security program.

    See the test for yourselves:

    I’m not saying that MSE is better than AVG’s offer, but if I had to recommend a good anti-virus, I would definitely recommend MSE.

  7. Craig Kensek said on November 17, 2009 at 3:58 pm

    AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition 9.0 received a highly positive review in late October in PC Magazine online. It was preferred to MSE

    Also, AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition 9.0 topped MSE in a poll recently. It also came out ahead of Eset, Avast! and Avira. 24k people participated. This product contains LinkScanner which is free separately for home use for real-time safe surfing

  8. Yatti420 said on November 17, 2009 at 7:35 am


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