A test version of the subscription security product adds MSN Messenger scanning and better "help" features.
The Redmond, Wash., software maker updated the beta product on Tuesday. OneCare now scans files received in MSN Messenger and enables users to scan files and folders for viruses by clicking the right mouse button, according to an e-mail Microsoft sent to testers.
Also, the software now enables users to make backups to external hard drives and it is integrated with Microsoft Update for software fixes and feature updates, the company said in the e-mail. Additionally, it has improved the "help" feature; OneCare now assists users in the removal of products that conflict with it, Microsoft's e-mail said.
OneCare marks the company's long-anticipated entry into the consumer antivirus space, which until now had been the domain of specialized vendors such as Symantec, McAfee and Trend Micro. Two years ago, Microsoft announced its intent to offer antivirus products when it bought Romanian antivirus software developer GeCad Software.
Microsoft is also eying the enterprise security market. By year's end, it plans to release an initial test version of a new "Microsoft Client Protection" product to protect business desktops, laptops and file servers against malicious code attacks.
For consumers, OneCare combines anti-spyware software, which Microsoft is already publicly testing, with antivirus software, firewall software and several tune-up tools for Windows PCs. Microsoft has not announced pricing for OneCare but has said the final package will be offered as a subscription service.
Microsoft announced its plans for OneCare in May. Beta testers have been invited to use it since July. A public beta test is planned by year's end, and final release is due in 2006, Microsoft has said.
Current testers automatically will receive the latest OneCare beta update, but will lose personal firewall policies and antivirus exclusions and have to enter those selections again, Microsoft said. This is a "one-time event," Microsoft assured testers.