The Grey Chronicles


Goodbye Spybot, Hello MSSE?

SpyBot - Search and DestroyI have been an avid supporter of SpyBot – Search and Destroy, from its beta version to the latest one (v.1.62). I have been using this free software when spywares started to wreck havoc almost daily while I was working which internet surfing was a necessity. I have even endorsed it in an early post being an essential Freeware for Secured Computer.

When SpyBot issued its latest reincarnation, however, the software littered its installation with a number of large files, with file name extensions disguised as .scr, ranging from 1 MB to 3.5 MB. With the software being free, or more correctly offered as a labor of love for some girl, a research on some help on what these .scr files are designed to do proved to be elusive.

Furthermore, when doing update on the core installation or the spybot database, some update files remained on the hard drive and needed to be manually removed. Also, some new added features, particularly the plugins, have to be downloaded for a number of times for it to work. In some instances, although the database updates have already been downloaded months ago, the SpyBot updater offers the same updates as if they have not been already installed or updated.

After the databases were updated, SpyBot usually requires to rescan the system for spyware. More often than not, my home-based computer would freeze then just turn itself off all of the sudden. Believing that my home-based PC was at fault, I tried doing the same in an office computer where the SpyBot was installed but it resulted to the same event. SpyBot would report that the scan was unsuccessful, in both instances! I suspected that maybe it was SpyBot was the one faulty, as freewares were notoriously known for, if one believes the spiel of commercial offerings.

Tired of having to face this same event every SpyBot update, I decided that maybe it was time to use Microsoft’s version of security application. Although I have downloaded the installation software of Microsoft Security Essentials [MSSE] since its introduction to the public, I had postposed installing it in my home-based computer due to time contraints, and I was with the impression that it was yet another version of Windows Defender which I have already deployed.

I have chosen not to let Windows Defender run in real time because it turned out to be a resource hog, with the service executable, MsMPEng.exe, consuming as much as 50% of the memory in my vintage 519-MHz mobile AMD Athlon Compaq Presario notebook with 448 MB of RAM running Windows XP SP3.

Avira AntiVir PersonalAntiVir in real-time scan is installed in my Compaq notebook as my main security software plus SpywareBlaster by Javacool Software, as my spyware-protection while online. Compared to Windows Defender, Avira AntiVir Personal version proved to be much reliable while sitting silently in the background and updates fast! In addition to SpywareBlaster, Malwarebytes‘ Anti-Malware is also installed. These three security applications, namely Avira Antivir, SpywareBlaster and Malwarebytes Anti-Malware are regularly updated and respective scans are run every week.

Microsoft Security EssentialsA cursory research on the capability of MSSE looked promising compared to other antimalwares. Microsoft Security Essentials, originally codename Morro, is the security application offered by Microsoft as a replacement for Windows Defender. I was particularly looking about how much would MSSE cost in terms of hard drive footprint as well as the memory usage during a scan. Reviews on how MSSE updates itself, as well as the possibility of offline upgrades, were also of particular interests to me. According to Microsoft, for a genuine Windows XP, a PC with a CPU clock speed of 500 MHz or higher, and 256 MB RAM or higher.

After visiting several comparative reviews of similar security applications, and finding favorable comments, I decided to uninstall Spybot and proceeded with installing the final version of Microsoft Security Essentials. But I don’t rely on the reviews unless I have tried using the said software.

I am hoping that MSSE would live up to my expectations: right protection (fewer false positives), faster scan (real-time and scheduled), reliable updates (database and executables, offline or online), as well as an easy configuration module and a detailed help site.

So for now, its goodbye, SpyBot; and hello, MSSE, for me!


Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 LicenseDisclaimer: These posts do not necessarily represent any organization’s positions, strategies or opinions; refer to this blog’s self-imposed rules: A New Year; New Rules. Unless otherwise expressly stated, posts are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License. Comments are moderated to keep the discussion/s relevant and civil. Readers are responsible for their own statement/s.

1 Comment »

  1. You made some good points there. I did a search on the topic and found most people will agree with your blog.

    Comment by computer security — 2011.January.29 @ 03:55 | Reply

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