The Grey Chronicles

2010.October.10

Goodbye Spybot, Hello MSSE? Part X



This post concludes the analyses of Microsoft Security Essentials installation in lieu of SpyBot – Search and Destroy. The good thing about Microsoft Security Essentials [MSSE] is that it updates itself daily compared to SpyBot’s weekly updates.

The first post hoped that MSSE would live up to my expectations: right protection (fewer false positives), faster scan (real-time and scheduled), reliable updates (database and executables, off-line or on-line), as well as an easy configuration module and a detailed help site. The succeeding post proved that MSSE offers more than what my former favorite freeware, SpyBot – Search and Destroy, had. Although installing MSSE claimed as much hard drive footprint from SpyBot’s 76.4 MB, MSSE’s total installed files used about 195 MB, it might be a good payoff.

Task Manager Snapshot: MSSE Update and Windows Update Autoupdate ClientOne issue with MSSE is obviously during updates when it activates the Windows Update Autoupdate Client executable [wuauclt.exe] and uses most of the available memory, thereby if an Internet browser is also active, most browser clicks will have to wait till Windows Update Autoupdate Client releases some of the memory. This instances of memory-hogging was prevalent even when memory tweaks and exclusion list for MSSE’s Real-Time Protection had already been activated. There was even some instances when Windows Update Autoupdate Client [wuauclt.exe] took more than 200,000K of the available memory of my vintage 519-MHz mobile AMD Athlon Compaq Presario notebook with 448 MB of RAM running Windows XP SP3! Unfortunately, the image grabber only took a snapshot when the peak ebbed. Thus, even with the recent MSSE’s update, MSSE v.2.1.6805.0, clients’ clamor for Microsoft to address Excessive CPU utilization was still ignored!

Microsoft Security Essentials' Scan Snapshot: Name InvalidAnother thing is the MSSE had been programmed to scan. Using the Process Monitor from SysInternals, some obvious programming errors, e.g., C:\c:\windows\system32\… or C:\windowsc:\windows\system32\… were discovered. This blog, «The Grey Chronicles», wonders: Why include such obvious items which any professional Microsoft programmer knew would eventually result to NAME INVALID? Anyway, «The Grey Chronicles» has yet to encounter a false positive indication from MSSE. Aside from the regular notification that the definitions need updates, MSSE’s Real-Time Protection have not given notice that it detected anything out of the ordinary. It is active in the background . . . but, on the second thought, is it really working as designed and doing its job, however silently, as it is programmed to do?

The good thing about Microsoft Security Essentials [MSSE] for my vintage 519-MHz mobile AMD Athlon Compaq Presario notebook with 448 MB of RAM running Windows XP SP3, MSSE offers protection from notorious malwares which was also addressed, but vacated, by SpyBot – Search and Destroy. This blog, «The Grey Chronicles», again wonders: Why do Windows Updates still offer users, even computer system with updated MSSE installed and running, Microsoft Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool [MRT.exe] updates?. MSSE also scans for most items included in MRT! Moreover, respective updates for these applications, MSSE and MRT, ARE both offered and available through Automatic Updates from Microsoft Updates and Windows Updates. Is it not the usual process whereby these Updates’ servers scans available Windows updates already applied in a computer system before offering and/or downloading the same? Maybe for Microsoft, overkill is key to security? More so, it’s better secure than sorry. Hey! Users can opt NOT to install MRT if MSSE is installed and IGNORE MRT’s future updates.

Furthermore, in comparison to SpyBot, MSSE does not offer skins for its interface, yet. It would be nice if users could really change the way the interface looks. It might tire color-blinded persons from the different shades of BLUE of the current interface. Moreover, there is no Context Menu which facilitates using MSSE to scan particular directories/files ON DEMAND. Maybe, somewhere in the vast resource of the interconnected world, there is some registry tweak for this one. Fortunately, MSSE is available in 33 languages for three (3) operating systems: Windows XP 32-bit, Windows Vista/7 32-bit, and Windows Vista/7 64-bit, but no MSSE for Windows XP 64-bit? And the kicker, it is FREE for genuine Windows user! At least, for now? Maybe in future versions of Microsoft Windows OS, it could fully integrate MSSE, not as an add-on, with the operating system similar to what Microsoft did with Internet Explorer.

No turning back now . . .. In retrospect, SpyBot – Search and Destroy is no longer missed, and decided to keep Microsoft Security Essentials for good . . ., and colloquially, flaws, warts and all!


Notes:

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.

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