Windows Live Safety Center

Microsoft Live now offers a Safety Center that cleans out malware, unwanted software, and inspects performance characteristics. The Safety Center, currently in beta, works with Windows XP, Windows 2000, Windows Server 2003, and requires the use of Internet Explorer 6.0 or MSN 9.0.

People who want to use the site click a Full Service Scan button which launches the three-part process that consists of Protection, Cleanup, and Tuneup. The protection phase scans the system for vulnerabilities along with malware and can remediate them upon detection. Cleanup helps people locate unwanted software that might impede performance. Tuneup looks at the system's disks to see if they need to be defragmented.

In May Microsoft announced its new Windows OneCare managed security subscription service, also in beta testing. Windows OneCare offers similar features to the Safety Center and works in conjunction with an applet that a person installs on their computer. An indicator in the task bar changes color from green to yellow to red indicating overall system health. Automated tasks, such as backing up files to CD-ROM or DVD and disk defragmentation take place on a scheduled basis, typically late at night. The service also performs virus scans and includes a firewall that manages both inbound and outbound network traffic.

The Live Safety Center beta is open to the public while Windows OneCare requires that people apply to take part in the beta.

TAGS: Security
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