Do I need both Microsoft Security Essentials and another antivirus software program?

A reader recently asked us if they need both Microsoft Security Essentials (free antivirus and antispyware software) and another security suite that requires a paid subscription service.

The short answer? No.

The long answer? Microsoft Security Essentials is free software that helps protect against viruses, spyware, worms, and other malicious or unwanted software. Microsoft Security Essentials has already won awards and gotten great reviews from security experts. And it’s free. If you use Microsoft Security Essentials you don’t need to install any other antivirus or antispyware software.

In fact, if you run more than one antivirus or antispyware program at once it might affect your computer’s performance. If you already have antivirus software and you want to install Microsoft Security Essentials, see Uninstalling existing antivirus or antispyware programs before installing Microsoft Security Essentials.

Note: Windows 7 and Windows Vista both come with antispyware software called Windows Defender. If you install Microsoft Security Essentials it will automatically disable (but not uninstall) Windows Defender. It does this so that you don’t have two programs on your computer that are doing the same thing. For more information, see Microsoft Security Essentials vs. Windows Defender.

 If you want to install another antivirus program, uninstall Microsoft Security Essentials first. 

For more information about Microsoft Security Essentials, see Help protect your PC with Microsoft Security Essentials.

About the Author
Eve Blakemore

Group Manager, Trustworthy Computing

Eve Blakemore is a Group Manager for Trustworthy Computing who delivers consumer guidance around the latest trends in security and privacy. Eve joined Microsoft in 1998 and has worked in corporate and field roles with Microsoft Learning, US Public Sector, Read more »

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  1. Anonymous

    Hello…I m suffering from a virus named trojenspy..Basically it makes an application file with 665 KB (And another makes an application file of 860 KB) with the same name as the folder in my directory..I need Microsoft security essential definition to remove it…Please help me out…!!!

  2. Anonymous

    well, I had security essentials, and I received urgent warnings from HP's/windows network that I had 10 terrible and harmful threats & or viruses on my computer, so I hurried and purchased Trend…I did not have any other files open, and I am a 56 year old single person…I don't understand why I would get such  supposed detrimental warnings if I didn't there was no problem….I was careful to look for the emblem which signified warnings from microsoft (whom I have always trusted)…?  

  3. Anonymous

    I forgot to ask why I need to get updates for outlook, groove, and other programs which I never use?

  4. Anonymous

    Thanks guy i really appreciate  M.S.E i was about to loose my computer

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