Posted 05 June 2007 - 10:43 PM
It has become a very controversial issue, discussed on several forums. First, of course, you understandd that it is not antivirus or anti spyware. The concept is that it advises you of any files which are about to be run on your computer. These would be mainly *.exe files and, in isolated cases, could come from the internet without your approval..
It is not an Einstein level problem for mischievous persons, including advertisers and spammers, to circumvent this. Because of the way it has been implemented, it has become almost a reflex action for Vista installers to immediately turn this function of after insallation of the OS. This is mainly because of its nuisance value.Ways to do this, which is really simple, abound on most help pages on the web. Being able to Do this, as you realise, obviates any value it may have had.
Anti virus and spyware programs perform very much the same function, but go into the depth of actually removing or stopping these possible attacks, and are unobtrusive.
So the answer to your question would be that, within its limitations, if left in situu, it does exactly what it is supposed to do. If you are a person who, having setup you computer to your own satisfaction, will from then on rarely install new material, then it would do no harm to leave it running.