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Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) is the free download offered by Microsoft that provides effective protection against virus and malware threats to your computer.  I have been running it on all the computers at my house since it was offered in its first beta and it has been solid across the board.  It is unobtrusive and just sits there and does its thing without any interaction on my part.  That is software I like!

Well how would you like a chance to beta test the next version of MSE and provide feedback to the MSE Team? 

Microsoft has opened up the current MSE 2.0 beta to the public and all you have to do is head over to the MSE Connect page at https://connect.microsoft.com/securityessentials and sign in with your Windows Live ID.  Once you have done that you will be presented with the main MSE Beta page and on the left hand side of the screen you will see a Downloads link.  Click on that and then download either the 32-bit or 64-bit version of MSE based on what version of Windows you have installed on your PC (See KB Article KB827218 for assistance if necessary).

Some of the highlighted new features for this 2.0 version of MSE according to Brandon LeBlanc on the Windows Blog entry Beta for Next Version of Microsoft Security Essentials Now Available:

Windows Firewall integration – During setup, Microsoft Security Essentials will now ask if you would like to turn the Windows Firewall on or off.

Enhanced protection for web-based threats – Microsoft Security Essentials now integrates with Internet Explorer to provide protection against web-based threats.

New protection engine – The updated anti-malware engine offers enhanced detection and cleanup capabilities with better performance.

Network inspection system – Protection against network-based exploits is now built in to Microsoft Security Essentials.

The minimum system requirements for MSE:

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 256 MB 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

So ready to get started with the beta?

I choose to start by uninstalling the current version of MSE just to clean it out of the system.  I then double clicked the installation file I downloaded from the MSE Connect page to get the install started.

MSE 2.0 Beta Install Screens

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 mse2beta7 

There is one other update to this beta that fixes a long standing problem between MSE and Windows Home Server (WHS) installations.  I wrote up a story about a temporary fix to this issue between MSE and WHS back in early January of this year which worked well.

However, with the installation of the MSE 2.0 Beta WHS no longer reports a connected client computer as not having anti-virus software installed! Thanks MSE and WHS Teams for solving that one for us!

Download Microsoft Security Essentials 2.0 Public Beta

Don’t forget that you can provide feedback via the Connect MSE page directly to the team to help identify the bugs that might be present in this new beta.  The more eyes that are looking things over means the better the software will be at release.