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Microsoft To Offer 'Simpler' Antivirus Service For Windows Vista, And Discounts For Testers

Microsoft said Monday that it will begin offering an enhanced, Windows Vista-ready version of its OneCare online security and maintenance service through major retailers when the consumer version of its new operating system goes on sale Jan. 30.

Microsoft said the newest edition of Windows Live OneCare will offer a simpler user experience than the current version. The service will feature unified virus and spyware scanning, more flexible backup options, and support for Windows Vista. Current OneCare subscribers will be automatically upgraded to the new service, Microsoft said.

In addition to supporting personal computers running Windows Vista, the new version of Windows Live OneCare will support PCs equipped with Windows XP Service Pack 2, Microsoft said.

Microsoft will offer subscriptions to the new version of OneCare for $49.95 for up to three PCs -- the same price as the current version. Consumers who participated in the beta program for the new OneCare release will receive 60% off the annual fee if they enroll between Jan. 23 and Feb. 12, Microsoft said.

Microsoft says OneCare provides "real time" antivirus protection that adapts to meet evolving threats, while automating routine maintenance tasks such as file backup and disk defragmentation. The company plans to offer the service in a number of countries beyond the U.S., including Australia, Canada, Japan, Mexico, and the United Kingdom.