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How to Perform a Microsoft Security Essentials Upgrade Properly

written by: •edited by: Lamar Stonecypher•updated: 2/8/2011

The term Microsoft Security Essentials upgrade is slightly ambiguous. The term refers to upgrading the antimalware and it refers to upgrading the malware definitions as well. This article helps you upgrade Microsoft Security Essentials while dealing with errors related to definitions' upgrade.

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    Microsoft Security Essentials Upgrade – Upgrading the AntiMalware

    Speaking of Microsoft Security Essentials Upgrade, you have two options: 1) download the latest version installer from the Microsoft website, remove the current one and install the one you downloaded; and 2) upgrade to latest version smoothly using the current, installed MSE version. If you still have the beta version of the MSE, I would recommend you to use the first method for Microsoft Security Essentials Upgrade as people reported many problems while upgrading to MSE latest version using the in-place upgrade.

    As of March 22 of 2010, the latest version of MSE stands 1961. Though plenty of third party websites also offer the latest version, I strongly urge that you use the Microsoft website to download and install Microsoft Security Essentials. This is because some rogue software, a lookalike of MSE is doing rounds on the Internet, which if installed by accident or ignorance, creates much problem. It is hard to uninstall Security Essentials 2010, the lookalike rogue software. While researching MSE for any purpose, make sure you type "Microsoft Security Essentials" and not just "Security Essentials" else you get the malware instead of Microsoft's antimalware.

    Coming back to Microsoft Security Essentials Upgrade, if you still have the beta version, use the Add/Remove Programs (in Control Panel) to remove the antimalware. Thereafter, download the latest version of MSE from Microsoft only. Make sure you remove all other antivirus and antispyware before installing the MSE. If you face any problems installing MSE, please read our article on MSE Installation Error.

    If you already have a stable version of MSE and wish to proceed with Microsoft Security Essentials upgrade, you can proceed as follows:

    Double click the MSE icon in the taskbar to open it. On the Home tab, you will find the Help drop down menu towards right corner below tabs. Click on the black triangle below Help and select Upgrade Microsoft Security Essentials.

    Fig 1 How to Upgrade Microsoft Security Essentials 

    The Microsoft Security Essentials Wizard appears as shown below. Click Upgrade.

    Fig 2 MSE Upgrade Wizard 

    The Wizard searches for the latest version of the MSE and installs it. This may take few minutes.

    Fig 3 Upgrading Microsoft Security Essentials 

    To check if you have the latest version, click on the Help menu again and click on About Microsoft Security Essentials. You will get an information window as shown below. It indicates the version of MSE that is currently installed on your computer.

    Fig 4 Latest Version of MSE - 1961 

    Using this method, you can always have a smooth Microsoft Security Essentials Upgrade. This method is also the safest method to upgrade MSE as the Wizard won't download any kind of lookalike software such as the Security Essentials 2010 mentioned above.

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    Microsoft Security Essentials Upgrade – Problems in Updating Malware Definitions

    If you were looking for Microsoft Security Essentials Upgrade to fix problems with updating the malware definitions, this section helps.

    Fig 5 - How to Start Automatic Updates Service The MSE employs Microsoft Automatic Updates service to update virus and spyware definitions. If you are facing problems with updating these definitions, you need to make sure that you have not turned off the Automatic Updates. To make sure that the MU (Microsoft Updates) service is running, open the Control Panel and click on Administrative Tools. Double click the Services icon to open the Services window. Scroll down to Automatic Updates and double click to open the Window (See Figure). If it is not running, click on the button labeled Start. If the service is running and you are still not able to download updates to virus definitions, you need to contact MSE Customer Support.

    Note: Make sure you are connected to the Internet while performing Microsoft Security Essentials Upgrade. If you can close all other programs while upgrading the antimalware, you will get better speed.

Microsoft Security Essentials Problems - How to Fix MSE Errors?

This article series intends to help you with problems and questions associated with Microsoft Security Essentials, the free antivirus from Microsoft. It covers the most common Microsoft Security Essentials Installation problem while covering other problems as well.
  1. Error 0x80070643 – Microsoft Security Essentials Installation Error
  2. How to Uninstall Microsoft Security Essentials
  3. How to Perform a Microsoft Security Essentials Upgrade Properly
  4. MSE Slows Down Computer – How to Fix the Issue
  5. Microsoft Security Essentials Download – Beware of Security Essentials 2010