Back in May, Microsoft announced to work on a solution for Windows PCs which address the need for a more comprehensive PC health solution. This was the first time we've heard about Windows OneCare, a comprehensive and "simple-to-use" consumer subscription service that was planned to provide automated protection, maintenance and performance tuning as an all-in-one package for Windows-based PCs. Windows OneCare was initially being distributed to Microsoft employees this week as part of an extensive testing and development process before broad public beta availability scheduled for later this year.
This public availability started today as "Windows OneCare Live Beta" which became part of Microsoft's new Live strategy now.
"Windows OneCare is the next major advance in our ongoing efforts to help keep consumers' Windows-based PCs 'healthy' in a way that's simple and as worry-free as possible for them," said Ryan Hamlin, general manager of the Technology Care and Safety Group at Microsoft. "We're designing the service so it will continually update and evolve over time, helping to ensure that our customers will have the most complete and effective protection and safety services in place every time they turn on their PC."
Windows OneCare is being designed to address core safety concerns such as worms, viruses and spyware, but also to span broader PC health issues: helping protect electronic assets such as digital photos, music, financial data and software; and guarding against performance degradation and system clutter that can result from heavy use. Key capabilities and features of Windows OneCare includes the following:
- Defense against evolving threats. Windows OneCare will provide automatically updated anti-virus, anti-spyware and two-way firewall protection.
- Performance and reliability tools. PC owners will be able to choose to have Windows OneCare automatically carry out periodic maintenance tasks such as disk cleanup, hard-drive defragmentation and file repair. The service also will offer boot-time information and proactive support tools to help improve the customer experience.
- Backup and restore capabilities. Windows OneCare will enable automated backup of files by category on CD and DVD, along with the option to back up all files on the system or only those that have changed since the last time the action was performed. If files are accidentally deleted or corrupted on the PC hard drive, the service is designed to restore saved versions or map them on a new PC.
- Simple, integrated service experience. PC users will have one simple point of reference for checking the overall health of their system. Windows OneCare will automatically notify users of available updates or other recommended actions and enable users to easily act as needed. Otherwise, the service stays quiet and in the background.
Windows OneCare Live Beta is now available for public Beta and open to all U.S. residents (only). However, by nature of such a product, it requires to uninstall other anti-virus software and firewalls first before you can install Windows OneCare Live Beta; something you shouldn't do on a production system but better use a test system only. Also it requires Windows XP with Service Pack 2, no other version of Windows is supported yet.
To sign-in into the public Beta, all you need is a Microsoft Passport account.
Cheers ~ Arne