“Addresses the growing need of largest U.S. consumers’ now owning more than one computer who wishes they could manage the security and performance of all their home computers from a single PC…”
Redmond, Wash., -- Microsoft on Thursday officially released version 2.0 of their “Windows Live OneCare” security and PC performance suite, enhancing a number of current features and adding a few brand-new twists, simplify the way consumers secure and care for all their PCs.
“Consumers understand they need to take care of their PCs and home network, but they have limited awareness of the required tasks.”
Windows Live OneCare is an online service that provides all-in-one, self-updating PC care designed for managed maintenance and security for consumers and small businesses to maintain the security and performance of their PCs.
“According to a recent survey conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of Microsoft, 50 percent of adults who have a home computer and wireless network are concerned about the security of their home wireless network, and only 24 percent of adults who have a home computer have backed up the digital photos stored on their computer within the past month,” (See note*).
OneCare offers protection against viruses and spyware for PCs running XP or Vista. Its two-way firewall blocks hack attacks from outside and limits Internet access to authorized programs. The suite also includes a backup system to protect essential files and a set of performance tuning tools. Version 2.0 of OneCare enhances most of these.
Windows Live OneCare answers the increased need for a simple PC care solution that makes it easy to improve security and management of multiple PCs and provide new options for important data backup for the home or small office.
A central focus of version 2.0 is automating tasks that most Windows users know they should do, but do not. A new firewall automatically adjusts its settings depending on the security of a wireless network; while an automated online photo backup feature stores digital pictures on Microsoft’s Windows Live Folders site for an added cost.
“It is not a question of being lazy, but rather having the right tool for the job,” remarked Windows Vista product manager Nick White. “A lot of these customers run PCs without basic anti-virus and anti-spyware protection, and even fewer perform performance-enhancing tasks such as disk defragmentation and regular system back-ups.”
“The service’s main new feature is the “OneCare Circle,” which links PCs together over a wireless connection to make them manageable from a single place.”
OneCare Circle allows, for example, a parent to see that a child has disabled the firewall on his or her PC and to turn it back on. It also helps centralize data backup by allowing a hard drive connected to any linked machine to serve the whole home network.
“Customers have told us they want an all-in-one solution for PC care that is simple and easy to use across all the PCs in their home,” said Amy Barzdukas, senior director of Windows Live OneCare at Microsoft, in a statement. “Windows Live OneCare helps address this need by providing a comprehensive set of security and performance tools while adding new features, including multi-PC management, printer sharing support and centralized backup options.”
The service also includes the new “Start Time Optimizer,” which helps users load only the programs they require at startup, thus accelerating the startup process. In addition, it includes a “Proactive Fixes and Recommendations” feature to help optimize PC performance, and it helps maintain wireless networking security.
Simplicity and ease of use, however, do not necessarily make for maximum security. According to an August 2007 test published on AV-Comparatives.org, Microsoft Live OneCare version 1.6, ranked 14th out of 17 products tested, with a virus catch-rate of 90.37%. The top performing product in the test, AEC’s TrustPort Antivirus, caught 99.64% of the virus samples.
“I have been using the beta of the most recent OneCare offering for some time now and am impressed with the combination of protection, centralized control, and the lack of aggravation normally associated with many AV products,” said Rob Enderle, president and principal analyst of the Enderle Group. “It is a solid improvement and probably the best family solution currently on the market.”
“Windows Live OneCare works with the built-in security enhancements to Windows Vista such as Parental Controls to optimize the Windows experience.”
OneCare 2.0 can also perform PC maintenance, including clearing a jammed print job and listing what applications are causing a system to be slow to boot up. 64-bit compatibility has been added as well, along with tighter integration with Windows Vista.
Installation from the Windows Live OneCare site requires signing with a Windows Live account. Microsoft says you can use your current Live ID or create a new one for OneCare and, if you wish, use one Live ID for Windows Live OneCare and another Live ID for Windows Live Messenger on the same machine. The Live ID you use with Windows Live OneCare will be good on two additional machines. When installing on the addition PCs in your home network, just use the Live ID; there is no need to re-enter the registration key.
Presumably, OneCare version 2.0 will perform better. “We are deeply committed to investing in our ongoing anti-malware efforts,” said Barzdukas in an interview conducted by Microsoft’s public relations department and posted on the company’s site. “For example, we recently opened new research centers in Europe and Australia, and to staff our labs we have built a world-class anti-malware team that is composed of established industry experts.”
“When it launched OneCare in May 2006, Microsoft risked alienating its close security partners such as Symantec and McAfee by entering a market it previously avoided. Now, the Redmond Company is upping the ante by going after families with multiple PCs in their homes.”
Windows Live OneCare is available at local computer stores as well as via the Internet for $49.95 (U.S. ERP), with each license covering up to three computers. Windows Live OneCare is available in 17 countries and in seven languages. Additional information and a free 90-day trial of Windows Live OneCare are available at http://onecare.live.com.
Note:* This study was conducted online by Harris Interactive on behalf of Microsoft between Oct. 30 and Nov. 1, 2007, among 2,351 U.S. adults ages 18 and older, of whom 2,281 have a home computer and 899 have a wireless network at home to connect their computer to the Internet. No estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. A full methodology can be obtained by contacting Microsoft.