Microsoft's free antivirus now available

Microsoft's free antivirus package, "Microsoft Security Essentials", is now available to anyone, just over three months after it went into a beta test period in June that was limited to US users.

But now everyone can grab the bare-bones security package from Microsoft's website. It's a replacement from the company's paid-for OneCare package that never met with great success, being trumped by McAfee, Symantec and other companies whose products are preloaded on new computers.

Other companies, like AVG and Avast!, provide free antivirus software, and it's these that will likely be most hurt by Microsoft's move. Although some have accused McAfee, Symantec and Trend Micro of producing bloated software that consumes system resources, it's difficult to fault them on the strength of their protection.

Security Essentials is free, available now, and works on XP, Vista and Windows 7. There's a link to download it below.