Microsoft unveils OneCare 2.0 beta

Microsoft has made a beta version of its latest Windows Live OneCare 2.0 desktop security product available for download.

Microsoft unveils OneCare 2.0 beta

The software giant is claiming a number of improvements to the security software, in the hope of closing the gap on rival security suites.

The first version of OneCare performed poorly in PC Pro’s latest test of antivirus software, detecting just two thirds of malware.

The free OneCare 2.0 download comprises a basic package of firewall, antivirus, backup, and anti-spyware features aimed at consumers and businesses. It also includes monthly reporting, additional online backup functionality, network management capabilities and 64-bit system support.

The new beta establishes a foundation to better address the needs of small businesses, according to Gina Narkunas, OneCare’s lead product manager. “Many small businesses need to protect and maintain a number of PCs but may not have the resources for extensive onsite IT support. To help solve this problem, we added centralised back up to OneCare so local back up on a small business network is a simple step instead of a time consuming hassle.”

The beta also aims to help consumers better manage their home environment, according to Narkunas. “Our research has shown that most homes now have approximately 2.5 computers. This means that in addition to securing and maintaining multiple PCs, consumers now need to do the extra work associated with connecting devices and securing networks,” she said.

The release is the third update of the security package. It follows version 1.5 which was introduced six months ago. Microsoft did not say when version 2.0 would go into production, but said it welcomed user feedback during the beta cycle.

“Historically the linkage between the brand names is a big strength for Microsoft, so even in areas where they might have introduced a comparatively weak product, they have the resources to pour money in and bring them up to competitive standards,” says Rob Bamforth, service provision practice director at analyst firm Quocirca.

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