After you install Microsoft Security Essentials on your computer, you can close the main window and let Security Essentials run quietly in the background. Security Essentials will continue running on your computer, monitor it, and help protect it against threats.

Of course, you'll know that Security Essentials is running whenever it displays notification messages in the notification area. These notifications alert you to potential threats that Security Essentials has detected.

You'll also receive other alert notifications, for example, if for some reason real-time protection has been turned off, if you haven't updated your virus and spyware definitions for a number of days, or when upgrades to the program become available. Security Essentials also briefly displays a notification to let you know that it's scanning your computer.

You can also refer to the Security Essentials icon that appears in the notification area:

If you don’t see the Security Essentials icon in the notification area, click the arrow in the notification area to show hidden icons, including the Security Essentials icon.

The icon color depends on your computer's current status:

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