Yes, Free! Free as in beer!
If you are an enterprise admin, it means that every relative and neighbor you have knows (thinks) that you are an expert in all things computerish.
It means you get questions about everyone's computer problems, tied to an expectation that you may be able to fix issues...for nothing or pretty darn close to it.
Be warned, this post is not about work, it's about anti-work. This is not even about hobbies, it's about the no-fun part of being a geek - the unpaid family/friend support call.
While looking at someone's computer, I just about always get questions related to anti-virus / anti-malware / firewall software bundles that come with new systems.
"Should I keep paying every year for <insert name of security bundle>? It came with the system when I bought it...Here, have another cookie while you fix my computer for free..."
Some of these tools are really fantastic, but others interfere with the basic operations of a PC. Why would my aunt (for example) need a 3rd party firewall on her PC when she already has Vista or Windows XP SP3 (they have a great firewall built in) - what sort of network security death match must ensue when there should really "be only one" firewall in control, not to mention all the other "value added" functions a security suite might inflict on an unsuspecting user. Who had the bright idea of spackling on all that extra "stuff" before a consumer even touches the PC?!?!
More often than not, I try to get at a new PC I'll have to support BEFORE too much work goes on with it. I'll remove all the "extras" - perhaps even go with a vanilla OS install (scorched earth rebuild), and some antivirus and anti-spyware that I trust with the operating system in question. OneCare and Defender had been my route to high performance / low hassle nirvanna.
What is my NEW recommendation for my family, friends, and neighbors to make their lives (and mine as their personal support network)?
It is to use the recently released Microsoft Security Essentials! Why is it so great for me as an informal support resource?
IT'S FREE! I KNOW THE COMPANY THAT SUPPORTS IT! IT RUNS REALLY GREAT WITH XP, VISTA, AND WINDOWS 7!
All those things mean I get less support calls from my friends and family. The free part means I can remind them (just before my birthday, perhaps) that I've saved them a bunch of money every year, and their computer runs as fast as a crazed gazelle. Where can you get this free (as in beer) software that will make your anti-work life better?
Go here: Microsoft Security Essentials
Should you use this in your enterprise? Certainly not, you can't manage it easily (push out updates on your schedule, wire in mutiple engines / patterns, monitor status, other).
It will make your anti-enterprise (anti-work...or is it auntie work?) much less of a hassle, and you can't beat the price!
Security Essentials Hits 1.5 Million Downloads in First Week
Ars Technica - October 16, 2009
There were more than 1.5 million downloads of Microsoft Security Essentials in its first week of release, and it made more than 4 million detections of malware.