Microsoft Security Essentials Vs. AVG

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Microsoft Security Essentials Vs. AVG

Microsoft Security Essentials is a new player in the free antivirus program arena, that has been dominated by other programs. This article compares it with AVG, for all those of you, who are mulling over choosing between the two.

With the launch of Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE), AVG and other free antivirus programs like AntiVir have a formidable competitor. If you have been using AVG and thinking about a crossover to Microsoft Security Essentials, then this article is just what you need. The head-to-head comparison presented here might help you decide which antivirus software to go for. We compare the AVG 9.0 free edition here.


I have been an AVG user for a long time but when I upgraded to Windows 7, I decided to try Microsoft Security Essentials for a change. As it turned out, I did not regret my decision. In the comparison presented further, though there was no clear winner, I found MSE to be quite useful. The least expectations that you can have from a free antivirus program, are adequately satisfied by it. Here is how the two compared.


Both MSE and AVG are antivirus and antispyware programs. When you compare the installation file size of both programs, the former is quite bulky with a 76.6 MB setup file, while the latter comes with a 6.97 MB setup. Installation of both software programs is quite breezy. AVG comes up with a lot of bundled software, in the form of a Yahoo toolbar and other such items. You can choose not to install the toolbar or other bundled goods, through a custom install.

Microsoft Security Essentials only works with a genuine Windows copy and the installation progresses only after a check for a genuine copy is made. It does not install any third-party applications, but it turns automatic updates on.

System Requirements

AVG works on Windows, Macintosh, and even Linux platforms, while Microsoft Security Essentials is essentially designed to exclusively work with Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7. While AVG works with 32-bit and 64-bit architectures, MSE works only on a 32-bit version of Windows XP.


AVG is the all-rounder with a wide range of features, while MSE is good in certain areas. Both the antivirus programs offer on-demand protection. While MSE provides a quick scan facility, AVG does not. Both offer custom and full-scan facility.

Anti-malware protection is another common feature in both programs. MSE scores high, when it comes to malware detection, but AVG was found to be quite weak in this area. MSE also offers a scanning facility of email attachments and other file downloads. It creates system restore points, before deleting any detected malware.

You can schedule periodic scans and exclude certain folders from being scanned by both programs. The MSE interface is simpler and easier to use, as compared to that of AVG.

AVG comes with loads of other features like a link scanner, advanced root-kit detector, and phishing protection. Both work well, when it comes to detecting viruses and trojans.


Dynamic signature service is an inbuilt feature in MSE, that immediately checks for suspicious files and scans for updates. The updates are also quite frequent with this program (thrice a day, at times), compared to those of AVG.

Memory Usage and Scanning Time

AVG is slightly faster, when it comes to running a full system scan, while MSE is a bit slower but thorough. The memory usage of the latter is slightly higher than the former. Overall, both antivirus programs are quite light on the system.

User reports about MSE are quite positive and I would personally recommend it for use due to its excellent overall features. It may not be packed with all the varied features that AVG provides, but it is the best in the business, among the free antivirus programs, when it comes to malware detection and on-demand live scanning.

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