I was suprised to discover I hadn’t blogged this before. So if you’ve renewed an anti-virus subscription for your home computer since last October, when this was launched, then I’m sorry!

We have launched a free anti-virus programme, Microsoft Security Essentials, which is for Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7, and comes with lifetime updates. It’s simple to install and very easy to use. And free.

The “free” bit is restricted to home users, because we don’t believe that this is the right solution for a school-wide anti-virus. For school, you need a centrally managed anti-virus solution, where you can force settings so that all of your machines are updated automatically all the time, and that your users can’t switch off updates. For school use, there’s Microsoft Forefront, which is a cost-effective managed protection system (free trial here)

Here’s the official blurb:

Microsoft Security Essentials provides real-time protection for your home PC that guards against viruses, spyware, and other malicious software.

Microsoft Security Essentials is a free* download from Microsoft that is simple to install, easy to use, and always kept up to date so you can be assured your PC is protected by the latest technology. It’s easy to tell if your PC is secure — when you’re green, you’re good. It’s that simple.

Microsoft Security Essentials runs quietly and efficiently in the background so that you are free to use your Windows-based PC the way you want—without interruptions or long computer wait times.

You can download Microsoft Security Essentials free from http://www.microsoft.com/security_essentials

If you’ve got students in your school who are bringing in files on a memory stick, or uploading things to your Learning Platform, then it’s in your interest to help them get protected, to reduce the risk of virus infections on your school computers.

Here’s a banner and link that you could put onto your school website or learning platform:

And there’s also an image that you could use for your noticeboards in school for staff or students.