Microsoft Releases Public Beta Of Windows Defender Antispyware

Windows Defender supports Windows XP, Windows 2000, and Windows Server 2003. Microsoft's Windows Defender product manager Mike Chan says the anti-spyware utility, which was originally acquired when Microsoft bought Giant Software, will continue to be offered freely for download to all users whose computers are running authorized (non-pirated) versions of the supported Windows versions.

Notable new features and functionalities of Windows Defender Beta 2 include, according to Microsoft, an improved detection and removal anti-spyware engine, deeper monitoring points for the real-time malware protection functionality, fewer pop-ups from the real-time protection, a much simpler interface, protection for all Windows user accounts with or without Administrator privileges, signature updates delivered by Microsoft's Automatic Updates, integration with IE6 or IE7 that lets it scan downloads, and the ability to scan Outlook Express attachments.

The new anti-spyware utility also uses the Windows system tray notification area more efficiently. The Windows Defender icon only appears when spyware is detected or when a scan or update is in progress.

The default settings for Windows Defender take an automatic approach. The utility will automatically clean up any spyware or malware that's a known part of its signature files. Chan stresses that the strategy behind Windows Defender is to protect PCs with a minimal amount of interruption for the user.

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Windows Defender Beta 2 is available for free download. The English version is available today for 32-bit and 64-bit Windows. Globalized and language versions will be available in the weeks to come. The download size of the English version ranges between 6.4MB (7.9MB for 64-bit) and 14.3MB, depending upon the options selected during installation. All previous versions of Giant AntiSpyware, Microsoft AntiSpyware, Windows AntiSpyware, and Windows Defenders must be uninstalled prior to running the online installation.

Microsoft offers these additional resources for Windows Defender Beta 2: