“Windows Defender surprise: This beta a good bet”

Today on the Seattle Times personal technology page, there’s a good review of Windows Defender, the free program that helps protect your computer against an assortment of what is thrown at us today: pop-ups, malware, spyware and other assorted bits. (The title of this post is courtesy of the Times.) From the Seattle Times:

“By policing how new programs try to modify Windows, Defender has swatted away much of the spyware I’ve thrown at it while staying out of the way otherwise. (The unwanted programs it couldn’t evict defied the efforts of competing spyware removers, too.) And it provides something horribly overdue in Windows: a simple way to inspect all the software active on a computer, including those programs normally hidden from view.”

More info on Windows Defender, and a link to the download, is available here available here.

As Stephen Wildstrom of BusinessWeek said in his column last month, “steps to make security software simpler and to integrate it more effectively are welcome, but the industry has to improve its products so that the nontechnical consumer won’t be required to make highly technical decisions.”

Totally agree with that statement, and one of the reasons I’m pleased to see that the interface of Defender (as well as Windows OneCare) is easy-to-understand and provides a good experience for the customer. The teams on these products have close connections to the customers using and testing the products, and are able to implement updates and changes in direction much more nimbly than packaged software. (Here’s a link to the Windows OneCare team blog.)

A friend (she’s at a web success in the Valley) commented to me recently on the number of online products and momentum she was seeing in the press: “it’s all about the internet, and it looks like this Windows Live, software-as-a-service thing has some major frickin’ traction (at Microsoft).” (She’s quite colourful in her descriptions.)

IMHO, that’s why it’s ‘Windows Live’ not ‘Static.’ ; )

Last, I recommend the video of Bill Gates and Mike Nash discussing the vision for security from the RSA Conference 2006 in February. You can even chat online with the erudite Mr. Nash next week in his monthly chat on Security on March 16 at 10:30 AM Pacific. (Click here to add the chat to your calendar.)

More info…

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11 replies on ““Windows Defender surprise: This beta a good bet””

Vielen Danke. Ich schicke dem Defender Team und post eine Update auf meinem blog.

For those reading the post, I did find on the download install page for Defender that "The current beta is in the English language although we will deliver German and Japanese localized versions. All versions can be installed on any locale but the user interface will only be delivered in these three languages for testing purposes." Checking with the team to see if there is any install issue with a non-English OS.

Also, make sure you have one of the supported Operating Systems installed: Windows 2000 Service Pack 4; Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1; Windows XP Service Pack 2

An update: I found out from the product team that the reported issue was fixed on 2/17, just a few days after the initial release of Windows Defender. If you ran into this issue before, please go to the download center and try to install Windows Defender again…

I found that Surf Sidekick’s web site includes details on uninstalling the software via the Add/Remove Programs in the Control Panel in your Windows’ Settings. See for more details.

If this doesn’t work, check out Spyware Doctor, PC Magazine Editor’s Choice Winner in 2005 and 2006. Also voted by PC Magazine the Best Anti-Spyware of 2005. Available at

There are also a few sites I found on MSN Search with more info:

I have just been running a full system scan with Windows Defender Beta 2. As usual it took more than two hours to run, and as usual it failed to find the spyware I know for a fact is on there. Spy Sweeper can find it, Adaware can find it, and even a freeware program like Spybot can find it. But not Windows Defender.

And Microsoft wants to shut third party security programs out of Vista? If they want to sell me Vista they had better think again about that.

Their attempt to give themselves a monopoly probably won’t work anyway, because it will only be time before third party developers uncover the undocumented functions Microsoft’s own programmers are using.

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