The Grey Chronicles

2010.October.2

Goodbye Spybot, Hello MSSE? Part II



After uninstalling SpyBot, I have recently installed Microsoft Security Essentials [MSSE] in lieu of the latter. The installation was a breeze but the database update took a little while longer. Meanwhile, while waiting for the MSSE update to complete, I visited other well-known PC security sites in search of more third-party information about Microsoft Security Essentials.

MsMPEng.exe in Task ManagerViewing the Task Manager, I noticed that the service executables MsMPEng.exe [61,348 K] and MpCmdRun.exe [7,224 K] are running. I remember that Windows Defender also used these service executables. I totally forgot that Windows Defender is still installed in my Compaq notebook, but configured MsMPEng.exe to run manually. Microsoft did not offer advice whether to uninstall Windows Defender prior to installing MSSE. Even during the installation of MSSE, it did not offer to uninstall Windows Defender, either. The websites I have visited recommended otherwise.

After the MSSE database was updated, I found out that MsMPEng.exe and MpCmdRun.exe were contained in its installed folder. Comparing these files to the Windows Defender folder, which also contained MsMPEng.exe and MpCmdRun.exe, both were somewhat older versions of the same service executables used by MSSE. Thus, Windows Defender is a redundant application when MSSE is installed.

Oh, well … Microsoft is doing it again. Microsoft applications frequently apportion hard drive space as if it is limitless. Remember the Windows folder: C:\WINDOWS\$hf_mig$ or C:\WINDOWS\SoftwareDistribution\Download or C:\MSOCache, among other system folders? Microsoft’s usual reply: install a high-capacity hard drive! Phew! Why not make the uninstallatation of Windows Defender automatic when users choose to migrate to MSSE? Or at least specifically announce it in the MSSE web that installing the latter would make Windows Defender obsolete? Or maybe, because MSSE is free to use, genuine Windows users will be able to find it out for themselves?

MSSE vs Avira in Task ManagerI tried simultaneously updating Avira and MSSE. Avira updates its definition database using update.exe [5,992 K]. With MSSE, database updates trigger the Windows Update Autoupdate Client executable, wuauclt.exe [56,124 K], while the other service executables, MsMPEng.exe [17,548 K] and MpCmdRun.exe [828 K] msseces.exe [1,408 K] lower their memory usage. At times, though, MsMPEng.exe and wuauclt.exe could use up to more than 100,000 K that surfing the Web halts because Firefox stops responding! [I have not tried updating both MSSE and Avira while surfing using Internet Explorer] In retrospect, SpyBot uses as little memory during updates. Compared to MSSE, Avira do not use as much as memory, either!

While Avira employs the .tmp format to update both the executable and definition files, MSSE creates two to three folders in C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Microsoft\Microsoft Antimalware\Definition Updates. I wondered why it needs two to three folders such as two folders named with bracketed alphanumeric, and two other folders named Backup and Updates to do so?

MSSE Update

Fortunately, after the update completes, only one of the bracketed alphanumeric folders is left plus the Backup and Updates folders. Viewing the contents of the remaining bracketed alphanumeric folder, one would be surprised to find that it contains the same files found in the Backup and Updates folders.

MSSE Update Folders

If this is not overkill, I don’t know whatyamacallit!

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