microsoft offers free virus-removal, anti-spyware

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    Microsoft offers free virus-removal, anti-spyware programs


    Microsoft Corp, whose popular Windows software is a frequent target for internet viruses, is offering a free security program to remove the most dangerous infections from computers.

    The program, with monthly updates, is a step toward plans by Microsoft to sell full-blown antivirus software later this year.

    Microsoft said on Thursday (Jan 6) that consumers can download the new security program from the company's Web site - - and that updated versions will be offered automatically and free each month. It will be available starting Tuesday.

    Also, Microsoft offered on Thursday (Jan 6)a free program to remove "spyware," a category of irritating programs that secretly monitor the activities of Internet users and can cause sluggish computer performance or popup ads.

    Microsoft said the virus-removal program will not prevent computer infections and was never intended to replace the need for traditional antivirus software, such as flagship products from McAfee Inc or Symantec Corp.

    But a senior Microsoft executive confirmed the company's plans to sell its own antivirus software, which would compete against programs from McAfee, Symantec and others.

    Microsoft purchased a Romanian antivirus firm, GeCAD Software Srl, for an undisclosed amount in 2003. Industry rivals expect Microsoft's formal entry into the market as early as the spring.

    "We will have a stand-alone antivirus product that is one of the things you can buy from Microsoft, but we're not announcing anything today," said Rich Kaplan, vice president for Microsoft's security business and technology unit.

    The offers of free virus and spyware-removal tools were intended to convince consumers that Microsoft is working to improve its software's security, Kaplan said.

    Microsoft and other companies occasionally have offered separate programs to disinfect specific viruses. Microsoft promised its new removal tool will target a variety of infections and will be updated each month to recognise new ones.

    Microsoft is sensitive to criticism about the susceptibility of its Windows operating system software to computer viruses. It has responded by tightening security for its popular Outlook e-mail software and improving the protective firewall utility for Windows. But its reputation largely has hinged on consumers' effective use of antivirus products and other security programs outside Microsoft's control.

    Microsoft has proceeded more cautiously in recent years as it moves to compete against its one-time partners. European antitrust regulators last year fined the company $US613 million ($A802.25 million) over charges it abused its software monopoly. Microsoft is operating under restrictions from a US antitrust settlement with the Bush administration until 2007.

    Kaplan encouraged consumers to buy updated antivirus software from vendors such as Symantec and McAfee. He also expressed confidence that an industry organisation formed to share details between Microsoft and leading antivirus companies about virus outbreaks would survive Microsoft's decision to compete directly against those same businesses.

    Antivirus vendors have warned investors about the fallout as Microsoft enters the market. McAfee, for example, said in its most recent annual report that its own products could become "obsolete and unmarketable" if Microsoft were to include antivirus protection in Windows software.


    The anti-spyware software is very good, it found two spyware instances on my computer that my other spyware programs had missed.

    You can download the program from the following Microsoft website.
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