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Microsoft tweaks Windows anti-spyware beta

Changes to Windows Defender Beta 2 should help detect new threats better, Microsoft says.

Microsoft has made changes to the latest test version of Windows Defender, an always-on spyware detection tool that will be part of its Vista update. The new Beta 2 includes the ability to display the program icon in the taskbar; improvements in data collection from its SpyNet spyware-reporting network; and revisions to how signature updates are tracked. These changes, posted last week, should help detect new threats better, the software maker said.

Windows Defender, a follow-on to Windows AntiSpyware, is available for download in the Beta 2 version. It is expected to go through a series of revamps before its release with the Vista operating system update, set to arrive in January 2007. In addition to fighting spyware, the tool will be designed to combat rootkits, keystroke loggers and other malicious software, Microsoft has said. Defender and SpyNet are both based on technologies acquired in the purchase of Giant Software.