Microsoft Security Essentials vs AVG: Review of the Best Free Antivirus Software

The antivirus software installed in your computer is paramount in determining the security and safety of your data and privacy. The antivirus programs are designed to help curb threats such as viruses, phishing and Trojans, which can cause data loss or even computer crash. There are many antivirus programs available for free download but not all are worth using.

The top of the list free antivirus options are Microsoft Security Essentials and AVG. Despite being free and the best available options Microsoft Security Essentials vs AVG have several differences, which make them suitable to different users.

The differences on Microsoft Security Essentials vs AVG features can be explained by the objectives of the designers. AVG free version is designed to help market and create more awareness to the paid version among other security software. Microsoft Security Essentials is developed to offer all window users with a readily available and effective antivirus.

However, before Microsoft Security Essentials can be installed on a computer, it undertakes a validation test and thus, it can only be used in genuine Window’s Operating Systems.


Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) has a smaller installer file size while AVG comes with a big setup file. For example, Microsoft Security Essentials installer pack for version 4.4.304.0 for 64 bit has a 12.0MB while the AVG free installer for 2015 free edition is of 152.35MB. The AVG uses more resources during installation than MSE. The installation process for both is straightforward but MSE undertakes a validation test before the installation, which limits its use to only valid windows operating systems.

Features and Options

Both AVG and Microsoft Security Essentials are developed to offer real-time protection and on-demand protection. Free updates are readily available. You can schedule for automatic updates or manual updates on AVG but MSE updates automatically. You can also schedule automatic scans on both AVG and MSE or manually undertake a full or custom scan.

However, it is important to note that AVG does not support a quick scan. You can also manage quarantine files on both programs. Other things that you can do on both programs include excluding files, processes and folders for any real-time monitoring or scan.

Additional features available in AVG include:

  • AVG LinkScanner: Checks for threats by scanning pages
  • E-mail Scanner: Checks for threats in messages and attachments
  • Rootkit scan: Offers rootkit scans although not as effective as advanced rootkit scanner available in paid version
  • Optimization: Detects trusted files for future exclusions from scans for quick scans
  • Update scheduler: Determines how your program updates
  • Viewing of available updates: lets you know whether you are using the latest version

Using Microsoft Security Essentials is straightforward. It has a simple, neat user interface that is straightforward unlike AVG, which offers an advanced menu and interface. To customize AVG, you must use the settings menu, which might be a little complicated for user with little knowledge on software.

Both programs also offer support and help services through email and online forums. In terms of performance, AVG is a bit faster than MSE. Both programs are quality antivirus software but AVG is the best for those users who need the additional security features it offers.

Related ItemsAntivirusAVGMicrosof Security Essentials

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