Skip to main content

Microsoft Security Essentials vs. Norton

When it comes to Microsoft Security Essentials vs Norton, many users have polarized opinions as to which big-name company provides better antivirus software. Independent labs rank Microsoft Security Essentials  malware protection abilities as good, but not the best available. However, Microsoft Security Essentials is a free service and comes attached to the Microsoft brand name, which has won over many people.

Norton Antivirus  manufacturing company, Symantec, was not going to take Microsoft s entrance into the antivirus software market lying down. Shortly after Microsoft Security Essentials was released, Symantec published a study called "Norton Antivirus 2009 Versus Microsoft Security Essentials: A Comparative Anti-Malware Test." While Symantec did of course sponsor the test, the company contracted the prominent UK independent testing lab, Dennis Technology Lab, to run the tests. The study claims that each antivirus software product was installed on computers and exposed to all sorts of malware that average users could encounter in real life.

The Microsoft Security Essentials vs Norton study tested both applications for accuracy and protection. In both circumstances, Norton performed significantly better than Microsoft Security Essentials. Other reputable independent labs also find that Norton is the better product for optimal malware security. The question that then remains is whether or not an antivirus program as apt as Norton is really necessary.

Many users feel that Microsoft Security Essentials is completely complementary with the Microsoft operating system and trust in the brand name, so they feel that Microsoft Security Essentials will be the only malware protection they need. However, Microsoft has never made the claim that Microsoft Security Essentials is the best and the only antivirus software their customers should use with their PCs. In fact, the name Microsoft Security Essentials suggests the app provides the bare,  essential  minimums in malware security. Symantec marketing director, Con Mallon, goes so far to say that,  Unique malware and social engineering fly under the radar of the traditional signature-based technology employed by free security tools such as Microsoft s. 

Mallon is somewhat correct in this statement to the press; malware creation continues to grow rapidly and hackers are getting trickier and trickier with new scams and more malicious malware. Additionally, the Microsoft operating system is, to a large degree, vulnerable to hackers. And while Windows security updates help prevent malware, hackers are still able to route their way into the operating system. More antivirus companies than just Norton condemn Microsoft Security Essentials. Almost every big brand antivirus software manufacturer claims that Microsoft Security Essentials  average malware detection rate is just too risky to count on.

However, some very prominent and independent computer experts beg to differ with the antivirus software companies. These experts claim that Microsoft Security Essentials is refreshingly basic, lightweight and created by the very people who know Windows inside and out. They believe that the Microsoft Security Essentials free software is the only protection most internet users will need, as long as they are minimally savvy about not visiting suspicious sites or downloading files from unknown sources.

Ultimately, when it comes to Microsoft Security Essentials vs Norton, the better choice is somewhat personal. Microsoft Security Essentials offers solid protection against malware, but it will not catch everything. That said, if you re even just a little bit cautious and knowledgeable about internet security, Microsoft Security Essentials should work just fine for you. If the internet is brand new to you or you just need the peace of mind of a more thorough application, then Norton is your best bet as its protection is as close to full proof as you can get.

At TopTenREVIEWS We Do the Research So You Don't Have To.