Windows Defender Leaves Beta

Windows Defender, Microsoft’s anti-spyware utility, has been updated, left beta and had it’s production release. It remains free. The Windows Defender beta software running on my PC notified me of the updated version. When I clicked on the link to download it just brought me to Microsoft’s Windows Defender web page. When clicking on the download link there I first had to install the “Windows Genuine Advantage” plug-in and validate my copy of Windows. Then I was able to download 4.9MB installer.

The install was straight-forward but the Windows Defender installer again wanted to validate my copy of Windows. The license agreement is pretty short (as it’s a supplement to the XP license). It says you can only run on a licensed copy on Windows and that if the software breaks something or fails to remove spyware Microsoft isn’t liable. I chose the option to install definition updates only and not to join SpyNet. I let it scan my PC after installation. No reboot was needed.

Here’s the Windows Defender page on Microsoft’s Website.
http://www.microsoft.com/athome/security/spyware/software/default.mspx

The website promotes two free support incidents but I couldn’t find any information on what the incidents cover. Does it only cover issues with the program, would it cover spyware removal if Defender fails and would it cover repair if Defender breaks something? I would assume it covers the first and doesn’t cover the last. The one in the middle is a toss-up but I’d bet it doesn’t.

I’m glad to see Defender is still free now that it’s out of beta. The “Windows Genuine Advantage” really bugs me in general and really, really bugs me that it had to do it twice for one installation. I’ve never had Defender (or any other anti-spyware utility) find anything on my Windows PC so I can’t say how well it works. Maybe after the holidays I’ll go hunting for spyware to test it out. But I suspect the fact that Firefox is my browser and I don’t use Outlook Express or other Microsoft apps has more to do with the lack of spyware than anything else.