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Windows Live OneCare 2.5 Beta Released

Microsoft's automated security suite for home users and small businesses is available for testing from the Microsoft Connect Web site.

A beta release of Windows Live OneCare 2.5, Microsoft's automated security suite for home users and small businesses, is available for testing from the Microsoft Connect Web site. Microsoft stated through its blog that there is little apparent difference between the beta and standard versions.

Windows Live OneCare delivers a service that includes overall security, antivirus and firewall protection, roughly priced at $49.95 per year. It can run on as many as three computers per license, according to Microsoft's FAQ. It's not meant for the enterprise as Microsoft has a whole suite of security solutions under its Forefront brand for that, including the recently released Stirling beta.

Servers, including Microsoft Small Business Server, currently aren't protected by Window Live OneCare, Microsoft's FAQ explained. However, server protection capability appears to be on the horizon. Blogger Paul Thurrott described a trial in which a small group of private beta testers have been invited to test a combination of Windows Live OneCare for Server and Microsoft Small Business Server 2008.

Microsoft may eventually bundle Windows Live OneCare for the small business market, combining it with Windows Small Business Server 2008 and Windows Essential Business Server 2008, according to an interview of a Microsoft official. Both of those servers are scheduled to become available in the second half of this year, according to Microsoft's timeline.

Windows Live OneCare attempts to simplify security for users by showing color-coded alerts when there is a detected security problem. It automatically updates antivirus and antispyware solutions and supports PC performance tune-ups, as well as providing backup and restore capabilities.

As with previous releases of the product, OneCare finishes near last place in detecting malware, according to a February 2008 analysis by AV-Comparatives. Malware detection seems to be a problem that Microsoft is yet to solve.

Those wanting to try out the beta of Windows Live OneCare 2.5 beta need to register at Microsoft Connect and fill out a survey here. You have to first remove your firewall and antivirus protection software in order to use the service.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.

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