Microsoft has just released the latest version of its excellent Security Essentials software — version 4.0.
Even though it is not yet available through Windows Update, anyone looking to install it or upgrade their existing version to it can do so now from the download page: http://www.microsoft.com/download/en/details.aspx?id=5201
You would select the "amd64" version if you run 64-bit Windows, and the "x86" version if you have 32-bit Windows.
I don't see any significant difference on the surface, other than the interface looks a little simpler. But according to Microsoft it is quicker and has some bug fixes. The last version was already fast, so it's amazing they were able to make it even faster. Not bad!
To be honest, when it comes to security software, I would much rather use software that does not "make a big deal of itself" by having splashy graphics and popup messages. I want security software to be very unobtrusive and quiet. And Microsoft Security Essentials is exactly that.
If you are unfamiliar with it, Microsoft Security Essentials is anti-virus/anti-malware software that replaces all the useless, overblown "security" software on the market, like Norton, McAfee, Kaspersky, Sophos, AVG, Avast, Avira, Bitdefender, F-Secure, Panda, G-Data, Bullguard, NOD32, and the thousand other "Internet Security" software packages on the market. And did I mention it is FREE?
Unlike all those other packages that try to up-sell "premium" versions and get you to buy security subscriptions every year, Microsoft Security Essentials installs in a very quiet and unassuming way, silently updates itself all the time with new virus definitions, and keeps absolutely quiet unless there is a problem.
It is always very highly-ranked when it comes to virus and malware detection, because it uses exactly the same definition files that are used by Microsoft's security software that protects millions of business servers around the world.
And unlike typical "Internet Security Software", Security Essentials does not stupidly warn you about "evil cookies" and other nonsense. The only reason other software makes you think cookies are "evil" is because they want you to think their software is worth upgrading. Cookies are with us all in just about every web site we visit, so there will always be an endless supply of "evil cookies" to stupidly eliminate. The only thing you are doing by deleting "evil cookies" is making your web browsing much more difficult and troublesome. But making it any safer? Not in a million years. The concept is just dumb, dumb, dumb, and it's 100% designed to make you BUY SOMETHING.
I actually didn't intend to take this direction with this blog entry, but once I got into it I realized that there are many people reading this who still use overblown, overhyped security software that they PAY for. Those people are paying for a worse experience. That's a horrible thought.
I hope this helps such people — in addition to helping existing MS SE users find the latest version.