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RealTime IT News

Microsoft to Offer Subscription Security Service

Microsoft plans to offer a security and maintenance service designed to tend to the health of PCs -- and improve the user's experience.

Called Windows OneCare, the subscription-based service would provide automated performance tuning, maintenance, anti-spyware and anti-virus protection.

On the maintenance side, OneCare is designed to automatically deal with routine tasks such as disk defragging and cleanup as well as enabling automated backup capabilities for user-defined categories. It will also provide automatic updates for anti-virus, anti-spyware and two-way firewall protection.

Windows OneCare is being developed for PCs running Windows XP SP2. The first testers for the OneCare system will be Microsoft employees in a testing period that begins this week. A broadly available public beta is set to be made available later this year.

The annual-fee service would put Microsoft in competition with PC security and maintenance solutions long offered by security software vendors such as Symantec and its Norton System Works (and earlier versions of Norton Disk Doctor) application.

Microsoft neither confirmed nor denied that it is targeting any one specific vendor's share. "Overall, our research shows that customers want a simpler, more comprehensive solution to protect and maintain their PC," a Microsoft spokesperson told internetnews.com.

"Microsoft is committed to developing an automated, all-in one PC Health service for greater PC protection and optimal performance."

OneCare's anti-spyware capabilities are built upon some of the assets Microsoft acquired when it purchased Giant Company Software last December. It subsequently launched Microsoft Anti-Spyware (which is still in public beta). In February of this year, Microsoft acquired anti-virus vendor Sybari.

A Microsoft spokesperson said Windows OneCare Live builds on the value of Windows AntiSpyware with a broad complement of PC Health features.