Windows Defender Beta 2 Released

Microsoft late Monday released the long awaited second beta of Windows Defender, formerly known as Windows AntiSpyware. Beta 2 incorporates a redesigned user interface and new threat level system for informing users of malware. Microsoft says the release is less intrusive and easier to use.

Windows Defender was officially named in November, and was designed to emphasize the product wasn't just about spyware. The tool came from Microsoft's acquisition of GIANT Software. The Redmond company has bulked up Defender Beta 2 with an improved detection engine and is integrating the technology directly into Windows Vista - much to the ire of some partners.

"Our solution has really been about more than just the standard definition of 'spyware'," explained Jason Garms, Architect and Group Product Manager for Microsoft's anti-malware team. "We've always said we will provide visibility and control, as well as protection, detection and removal from other potentially unwanted software, including rootkits, keystroke loggers and more."

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Windows Defender Beta 2 boasts improved "Real Time Protection" that monitors critical areas of the operating system for any changes. Accessibility improvements have also been made, along with support added for 64-bit systems. German and Japanese versions of the software are forthcoming, Microsoft said.

Alongside the branding change, Microsoft's anti-malware engine has been moved to a Windows service and signatures will be delivered through Windows Update. Starting with Beta 2, "Definition Updates" will be listed as available downloads on the site.

Windows Defender Beta 2 is available for download from FileForum.

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