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Take a minute to make sure your security software is running. If you’ve switched to Microsoft Security Essentials, look for the reassuring checkmark down by the clock.

Two people reported problems with MSE in the last couple of days – no icon visible and an error message when they tried to launch the program from the Start menu. It has to be related to the upgrade released a couple of days ago but I can’t find any other reports and my own experiences installing the upgrade on 10 or 15 computers so far have all been straightforward – click the “Upgrade” button, install the upgrade, go back to work.

The solution in each case was to uninstall Microsoft Security Essentials from Control Panel, then install it again from the web site. It was back in business right away. I want you to double-check your own protection because there was no warning of a problem, just an icon that was missing.

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Incidentally, if you are still using Windows Live OneCare, it’s time to switch. Although OneCare is still getting virus definition updates, it’s being left behind as MSE and competitors are rebuilt in other ways for better performance and security. Uninstall Windows Live OneCare, then install MSE. (Contact me if you have any trouble uninstalling OneCare.) If you’ve been using OneCare for backups, step up to a better backup plan right away.

If you are a current or former OneCare subscriber, you’ve probably been getting email reminders to renew your subscription. You can ignore the messages. Microsoft will not charge your credit card and the subscription will lapse with no action required on your part.

Be careful out there!