It is better than nothing
It is better than nothing, and as Grif mentioned, it's still largely the responsibility of the user to not do anything foolish like open strange attachments, use pirated software, that sort of thing. MSE is certainly not the best out there, but it's better than nothing, and it's basically about the only nag-free AV product on the market if you don't count WGA checks.
AVG Free has all kinds of things internally designed to push its paid product, Avast does too and requires you register annually, Avira is also in that camp. I don't begrudge these companies trying to upsell people and make money, but some of them get downright aggressive and even deceptive about it. I haven't checked in a while, but once upon a time, it was next to impossible to find the free version of AVG from the Grisoft website. The link was buried at the bottom of the page, in tiny text, normally where you have things like legal disclaimers and copyright notices that people are largely trained to ignore. And with Avast, sometimes you almost can't avoid clicking on some internal advertisement for their paid product. Again, I don't begrudge them the ability to try and make money, but I think they'd probably have a lot more luck if they just asked people to donate a couple dollars if they like the free version. If those humble bundle game deals have shown anything, it's that there's a lot of people out there who will throw a few dollars your way if you just ask and then let them set a donation level. If every person who used the free version of an AV program contributed even $5, that'd be a huge windfall for the company compared to trying to guilt/trick a few hapless souls into coughing up $50 for their paid version. Investors won't be as pleased with it, but as far as operational funds go...
But I digress. MSE is better than nothing, though there are definitely better alternatives.
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