Microsoft First Free AV Release

Microsoft releases free anti-virus software

By Suzanne Choney

Complete posting.

Microsoft Tuesday released its first free anti-virus software called Microsoft Security Essentials for computers running its Windows operating system.

The company said it is not looking to compete with commercial makers of software, such as Symantec and McAfee, but rather to "encourage broader adoption of anti-virus protection across the consumer audience," said Amy Barzdukas, general manager for consumer security at Microsoft, in a statement. ( is a joint venture of Microsoft and NBC Universal.)

The software has been available for testing since June, and its release comes about three weeks before the company's newest version of Windows, Windows 7, goes on sale Oct. 22. Security Essentials works with Windows XP (Service Packs 2 or 3), Windows Vista and Windows 7.