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Windows OneCare Beta First Impressions

Today, I got into the beta for Windows OneCare, Microsoft’s security suite. Thus far, it seems like a good program, but I have no way of knowing how secure I am unless something bad happens.

OneCare is made up of several programs, all of which run seamlessly in a single simple interface. I’ve been using Norton’s suite lately, and OneCare’s central controls are far simpler. In Norton, I’d have buttons that were unclear as to their functionality, while other critical functions were buried deep within the program. OneCare does a much better job organizing things, and there are “What does this do?” links all over the place.

OneCare has antivirus, firewall, antispyware (not present in Beta 1), backup and restore, tune-up, defragmenter and clean-up functions. Doing anything with one portion of the suite typically runs more than one process, which makes the whole thing work together excellently. For example, running Tune-up triggers an antivirus scan, a backup scan (to determine what files need backing up), defragments the drive and removes unnecessary files (like temp files).

OneCare’s status bar logo, a silly “1″ written in an askew oval, changes color based on your level of protection. If you haven’t backed up lately or scanned, or aren’t running active protection, it changes from green to yellow to red, (although I haven’t gotten that bad). It describes Green status as “Good”, yellow as “Fair” and red as “At Risk”.

Speed is not great, but it never is with these programs. A full Tune-up ran well over an hour. Tune-Up can delete unnecessary files, like temporary files, program installation files, ActiveX controls and Java applets, Microsoft Error Reporting files and Office setup files.

The Backup scan is quite cool. It scans your hard disk and tries to determine which files need backing up. In my case it found 1.8 gigabytes, consisting of music, pictures, Microsoft and Adobe documents (those from popular document programs get their own category), Outlook files, the remaining contents of My Computer and My Documents and IE favorites.

Following the scan, you can add any files (like saved games) that were missed. Then, you insert your blank CD or DVD and enjoy the knowledge that, after a compression and burn process, your data is safe.

All in all, as long as my system remains safe, I’ll be happy. If OneCare lets something get through that Norton detects, I’ll let you know.

August 24th, 2005 Posted by | AntiSpyware, General, Security | no comments



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