Microsoft has released a free beta version of Windows Live OneCare 2.0, its all-in-one security suite for consumers and small businesses.Microsoft's one-stop toolset for PC security and maintenance, the latest version of OneCare delivers a host of enhancements to the software. These include support for multiple PCs on a local-area network (LAN), home network management, and printer-sharing support on LANs.
Now available as free download from Microsoft, OneCare 2.0 also adds options to back up data and protect against malware attacks. In addition, the new beta, which includes firewall, anti-virus (AV), backup, and anti-spyware programs, includes functionality to help secure wireless networks and an automated, self-configuring firewall.
Microsoft said it has added more proactive system fixes and end-user configuration suggestions to the service portion of the package. The new version also generates monthly reports on critical PC events and recommended upgrades.
The centralised backup option allows users to configure and monitor automated storage controls for all of the PCs supported via a single OneCare subscription, which can cover up to three PCs.
The OneCare beta software's tune-up process analyses the configuration of a user's system and corrects problems or recommends modifications to make it perform faster. By removing rarely used applications from the start-up menu, the new version can also improve the PC's boot time.
By adding a host of new features at what a cost-effective level, the new version of OneCare is certain to help Microsoft continue expanding its reach in the PC security market.
In other news on Thursday, Microsoft said at its Worldwide Partner Conference that its Security Software Advisor (SSA) program, which was launched last July, has more than 4,000 participating partners. SSA provides incentives to reseller partners who recommend or deploy Microsoft's Forefront enterprise-focused security products.
The company also said it is expanding its Security Solutions Competency program for resellers' technical professionals with new specialisations, certifications, and program benefits. This will "more closely align the program with how partners sell infrastructure solutions and serve as trusted advisors to their customers," Microsoft said in a prepared statement.