Windows Defender Goes Gold
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Without any fanfare, Microsoft's free anti-spyware tool has emerged from its beta status and is now final.
Ben Fathi, corporate vice president of Microsoft's security technology unit, officially announced the availability of Windows Defender final at the RSA's Conference Europe 2006 in Nice, France, today.
The final Windows Defender release come after nearly two years of the product being in beta. Defender is not an entirely home grown Microsoft technology.
The original core of Windows Defender comes from Giant Anti-Spyware which Microsoft acquired in December of 2004.
The first release from Microsoft came in January 2005.
Eleven months later in November 2005, Microsoft renamed the anti-spyware product Windows Defender.
Though the product until today was still in beta, it is considered to be part of Microsoft's Windows Live One Care solution, which became available to retail earlier this year.
According to Microsoft's release notes for the final version of Defender, the new version (labeled build 1592) includes enhanced performance through a new scanning engine.
It also now includes a new option to display the Windows Defender system tray icon even when there are no pending actions needed.
As with its predecessor, the final Windows Defender will require users to be Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) validated.
Earlier this year, Rebecca Norlander, general manager of the Security Technology Unit at Microsoft, told attendees of the Infosecurity Canada conference that in her view Windows Defender should be made available to all Windows users, genuine or not.
Apparently, her opinion didn't get approved by Microsoft's brass.
Current Windows Defender (Beta 2) are being encouraged to download and install the final version as soon as possible since Beta 2 support will be discontinued on Dec. 31, 2006.