Free anti-virus solutions are inferior to commercial ones I can't justify recommending a free anti-virus. Here is some additional information from organizations purported to be independent: AV-TEST - The Independent IT-Security Institute: Nov/Dec 2011 In this summary for December 2011, MSE v2 got the lowest rating of 2 for Protection. While the top winners were: 6.0 BitDefender Internet Security 2012 6.0 BullGuard Internet Security 12.0 6.0 G Data: Internet Security 2012 6.0 Kaspersky Internet Security 2012 How the protection test worked: AV-TEST - The Independent IT-Security Institute: Protection In 2011, AV-Comparatives, an organization which conducts numerous independent lab-based anti-virus and anti-malware test. released its end of year summary. This data is in an encrypted PDF and can be found here: AV-Comparatives: Summary 2011 (PDF) It requires Adobe Reader. The winner for best product of the year was Kaspersky. Top rated products for 2011 were AVIRA, BitDefender, ESET, F-Secure, and Kaspersky. So, no, I don't agree that freeware anti-malware software really competes with the commercial solution at all. Putting a freeware anti-virus on an enterprise network of systems would be crazy. I'll tell you one thing, I dislike Symantec products with a passion, but their corporate products like Endpoint 12 do let you perform an enormous amount of centralized management of all clients on a Windows domain controller. It can function as a virus detection center for branch offices. So can most commercial anti-virus business deployment and management tools. When it comes to real results, and not the stuff you read about as hype, these are the programs that stop the malware and the viruses when your computer security is compromised. This compromise happens, primarily, through the exploitation of the user while they are browsing the web, or, when systems do not retain the latest Windows updates. Looking at it honestly, no matter how much I want to say that Microsoft Security Essentials is the best solution - it is not. It works and runs fast and is designed to look nice. It plays great with the OS and HAL because it is Microsoft. It is the same reason Office runs super fast. But when you look at the real results, from the testing labs that don't have a vested interest in giving you a result that was paid for, you're going to keep seeing a trend. And that trend is that free anti-virus solutions don't compete at all with commercial solutions. If they did, no one would buy commercial AV or security suites. Look, I can't in good conscience, say to a client, you know what's a lot better than Kaspersky? You know what is ten times better than ESET or BitDefender? Microsoft Security Essentials. I would be lying to them, to my knowledge. I couldn't even justify the cost differential - because when that inexperienced office user who knows how to do their job, but not necessarily use a computer that well, goes ahead and downloads a real virus, that ravages with real consequence -- I am putting an untold amount of data at risk. At one of my best clients, I would have been putting scanned images of multi-million dollar historic documents at risk, financial data at risk, bid sheets at risk, trade secrets at risk, and more. So if you want to save a business a couple hundred dollars, and not even consider calling a sales rep. and requesting a bulk licensing discount, and go with MSE or AVG, you can do that. They could save thousands of dollars in software fees that they could probably write-off at the end of the year any way. But their network will not be safer whatsoever, and support incidents are going to increase tremendously. That is the plain truth. Whether in the public or private sector, I could never condone MSE as a solution, but in the smallest of offices. MSE is a blessing, because finally millions of computer users will have a good reason to install an anti-virus package. Microsoft made one for free. The world may be that much safer from botnets, arbitrary code execution, worms, trojans, and viruses by a few percentage points. Microsoft deserves credit for that. But their products, just like AVG or the other free utilities that are mainstream, do not compete. McAfee isn't even on the list for these tests, so that tells me they are accurate. It's so bad it's not rated. Thank you for reading.