Tools for small schools: Microsoft Security Essentials

Anti-virus – it’s a given that you need it, but the market is swamped with options. So  many computers come pre-installed with heavy versions that take up a lot of space and need to be renewed for lots of money in a few months or a year. Then there’s a variety of open-source versions like Avast or AVG. But it’s the newest kid to the playground that I’ve started using on all my school’s computers: Microsoft Security Essentials


It’s lightweight. It’s free. It’s a trustworthy name. It updates and scans automatically. Most importantly – it works. I use a combination of MSE and Malwarebytes for the occasional stubborn infection. 

What makes this particularly good for small schools? It works on most versions of Windows, from XP on up  – nice when you have a wide range of operating systems on various ages of machines, like we do. It also doesn’t require registration. That means I can install it on every computer and don’t need to worry about registering or updating licenses the way I did when I used Avast! on all our machines. 

Try it out! And remember, you never need more than one real-time anti-virus program running at the same time – it doesn’t give you extra protection and it slows down your machine. Click here to go download MSE.

Tools for small schools:

If you’re working at a larger school, chances are your computers are networked and it’s a little easier for you to install and update your machines. At my small school, anything I want to install has to be done manually, sitting in front of each computer. is a huge time saver and makes my life so much easier.

Ninite gives you a great list of programs to choose from.

Head on over to ninite and get started. You just choose the programs you want (including many open-source options) and then download an installer. The installer skips all those annoying toolbar downloads and saves you a ton of time. I’ve been using ninite for about a year to set up school and personal computers, and I’ve been happy with every experience.

If you’re curious, the blend of programs I usually download from ninite for school machines:

  • Chrome
  • GIMP
  • LibreOffice
  • Foxit Reader
  • Microsoft Security Essentials
  • Google Earth
  • 7-Zip
  • MalwareBytes

Anyone else have good tools they like to use when setting up a new computer?