Installing Microsoft Security Essentials

The first thing the program does is shows progress copying and extracting files. That should generally be very fast.

MSE Install: Early Extracting
(The above screen may not be easily visible. The window was taken when the install file was called mssefullinstall-amd64fre-en-us-vista-win7.exe.)
MSE Install: Early Extracting

Then the Welcome screen shows up.

MSE Install: Welcome screen

The hyperlink goes to: Microsoft Security Essentials Privacy Statement ( )

MSE Install: License Agreement (initial view)

MSE Install: About to Validate

About to validate. Privacy statement ( )

Validation may go very quick.

MSE Install: Validated

The screen will show validation was successful for a short time, and then proceeds to the next screen.

MSE Install: Ready to install

The “How do I remove other antivirus or antispyware programs?” hyperlink opens up

MSE Install

MSE Install

It may be beneficial to uncheck this box, so that a scan isn't likely to happen before there is a reasonable amount of time to be able to choose the selectable behaviors of automatic actions. (Otherwise, if the scan starts before that occurs, some automatic actions may be performed before they are configured.) It is recommended to simply uncheck this, and to start a scan later. That may be done manually.

Once the “Finish” button is pressed, the initial installation phase is complete. The program will then attempt to run the main “Microsoft Security Essentials” program (msseces.exe) with either a command(-line parameter) of “ /UpdateAndQuickScan” (if the checkbox wasn't unchecked) or else “ /Update”. (There is no complaint/error message if that file was renamed before “Finish” was pressed.)

Once the main “Microsoft Security Essentials” program ((msseces.exe) is started, an icon that looks like a building with a flag over it will appear in the “system tray”/“message notification area” near the clock in the (usually lower-right) corner of the screen.. It will briefly be red when the main program starts up.

Because of the information provided by the installation process, once the main “Microsoft Security Essentials” program ((msseces.exe) is started by the installer, an update process begins immediately. The red tray icon will turn into a blue icon with a green arrow moving down.

Initial update attempt

MSE Install

For advanced users/researchers, here are some details of the unexpected:

Although it is visible, the screen shown above may not show long enough for things to be easily readable or identified before MSE automatically advances to showing the updating.

MSE Install: Initial
screen showing Virus & spyware definitions status - Updating

MSE Install: Initial
screen showing Virus & spyware definitions status - Updating

MSE Install: Initial
screen showing Virus & spyware definitions status - Updating (Further

MSE Install: Screen shows

MSE Install: Nearly done
with the download and install process

After the initial update, if msseces.exe was started with the -UpdateAndQuickScan parameter, which is what happens if the checkbox to start a scan was not unchecked, then “Microsoft Security Essentials” will start a scan. (This is unusual, because after the program has been updated, the -UpdateAndQuickScan parameter updates but, contrary to what would be expected, does not follow through by performing a scan.) The tray icon turns into a blue building with a circle, which indicates that a scan is taking place.

After the initial update is performed (even if the initial scan isn't completed), the program may be considered fully installed. All of the settings of the program are fully operational and automatic actions should be able to function as expected. See the Configuring Microsoft Security Essentials section.

If a scan was performed, the program completes the installation by being on the “Home” tab with a message showing how many items were scanned”. Switching away from the “Home” tab and back will cause a different message to appear, instead of the sentences mentioning how many items and threats were scanned. Instead, the message will be “Microsoft Security Essentials is monitoring your computer and helping” “to protect it.”

If a scan wasn't performed, the program ends up on the “Update” tab.

MSE Install: Update tab

At this point (if not earlier), the green building logo should be visible. This Update screen can easily be reached again by accessing the shortcut/context/“right-click” menu of that building icon and choosing Open, and then clicking on the Update tab.

When the computer is restarted, the Microsoft Security Essentials executable (msseces.exe) file may be started with the -hide parameter so that it starts without showing the main window (although the building icon will appear).