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Free antivirus from Microsoft: Windows Security Essentials

Microsoft Security Essentials provides real-time protection for your home PC that guards against viruses, spyware, and other malicious software.

It is a free download (note that your PC must be running genuine Windows) from Microsoft. It’s easy to tell if your PC is secure — when you’re green, you’re good.

The antivirus runs quietly and efficiently in the background without interruptions or long computer wait times.

Minimum system requirements

Operating System: Genuine Windows XP (Service Pack 2 or Service Pack 3); Windows Vista (Gold, Service Pack 1, or Service Pack 2); Windows 7

  • For Windows XP, a PC with a CPU clock speed of 500 MHz or higher, and 1 GB RAM or higher.
  • For Windows Vista and Windows 7, a PC with a CPU clock speed of 1.0 GHz or higher, and 1 GB RAM or higher.
  • VGA display of 800 × 600 or higher.
  • 140 MB of available hard disk space.
  • An Internet connection is required for installation and to download the latest virus and spyware definitions for Microsoft Security Essentials.
  • Internet Browser:
    • Windows Internet Explorer 6.0 or later.
    • Mozilla Firefox 2.0 or later.
  • Microsoft Security Essentials also supports Windows XP Mode in Windows 7. For more information see the system requirements for Windows XP Mode in Windows 7.

Important: the offer is for home users and home-based small businesses only (small biz can install it on up to 10 PCs)

Their end-user license agreement – EULA used to say:

You may install and use any number of copies of the software on your devices in your household for use by people who reside there or for use in your home-based small business.

but it now says instead (especially note the removal of the “home-based” requirement for small business):

  • Home Use. If you are a home user, then you may install and use any number of copies of the software on your personal devices for use by people who reside in your household.  As a home user, you may not use the software in any commercial, non-profit, or revenue generating business activities.

  • Small Business. If you operate a small business, then you may install and use the software on up to ten (10) devices in your business.

  • However, the quote “not use the software in any commercial, non-profit, or revenue generating business activities” leaves me puzzled. Did they mean to say “for-profit” instead? Or do they mean “even non-profit business activitites” (even more puzzling since this part is for home users and cause small biz can also use the s/w, so a home run business can be considered small biz usage). Moreover, when you get the software, I don’t remember it asking what kind of user you are and have you give more info. I guess what they wanted to say is that even if you use it at home, you can’t install more than 10 copies of it if it’s for home business use.

    Btw, it may not be available in all countries (their site used to check your IP address in the past and was available mostly to the USA – however I noticed that for some time now it’s available for Greece too).

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