Microsoft's Security Essentials available to download

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Microsoft has officially released its free security software package Security Essentials, making it available as a download from today.

The company claimed that it was built on the same core technology found in its security solutions for businesses, and required no registration, trial or renewal. Beta testers had already received word confirming the upcoming release a week ago through email.

Security Essentials will replace the previous subscription-based service Live OneCare, and will sit in the space currently occupied by vendors like Symantec, McAfee and AVG which all offer free security services.

Microsoft said that it aimed to make Security Essentials easy to download so that there would be broad adoption of anti-virus with the consumer audience, which would then increase security across the "entire Windows ecosystem."

It said that business customers should go for its paid-for Forefront Client Security option, though it is possible that some cash-strapped smaller businesses would go for the free version, even though it doesn't have Forefront's management capabilities.