Microsoft Security Essentials, the company’s new anti-malware software, will be available Tuesday, according Bob Muglia, the president of Microsoft’s server and tools division.

The release of the software, which was code-named Morro, has been rumoured for days, but Muglia on Monday confirmed that the free software would be available for download Tuesday.

“The combination of Windows Firewall and Security Essentials provides you w ith pretty complete coverage,” Muglia says.

Security Essentials is a malware scanning engine and is targeted at consumers running Windows. It shares technology with Microsoft’s Forefront Client Security, an enterprise desktop tool that can be centrally managed. Essentials provides only detection and removal of malware and lacks central management capabilities, however.

Security Essentials, first announced in November of last year, incorporates technologies gained via the acquisitions of Giant and Sybari. The engine is a replacement for an online service Microsoft operated called Live OneCare.

“We decided to discontinue OneCare and focus instead on something that was much, much broader in its offering,” Muglia says. “We are excited about it. It has received some great reviews.”

Test results published in August by TechWorld sister publication PC World gave the software a middle-of-the-road review saying, “the app's ability to detect and block malware was neither especially good nor particularly bad.”

The review said Security Essentials did well in proactive tests, did not record any false positives, and received a perfect score overall in detecting and cleaning rootkits and malware infection. The review, however, noted a slow scan speed, but qualified the remark by saying it was beta software and that performance could change before release.

The software is supported on Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7.