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Microsoft Updates Anti-Spyware Defender

Microsoft on Thursday unveiled a minor refresh of its anti-spyware Microsoft Defender software with improvements to the user interface and signature updating.

Other changes include a tweak that modifies alerts according to the severity of a threat to make them less, improvements in the real-time protection to better watch key parts of the OS for potential infection, and support for 64-bit systems.

Still officially in beta, Windows Defender Beta 2 is an add-on to Windows XP, 2000, and Server 2003, but will be integrated into Windows Vista when it releases to consumers in January 2007 and businesses in November of this year.

"We have added a checkbox option to continually display the system tray icon," wrote a member of Microsoft's Anti-Malware Engineering Team on the group's blog. "We have also improved Windows Defender's ability to report more accurate data about potentially unwanted software through SpyNet so that we can help create better definition updates."

SpyNet is an option for Defender users, who can use it to report suspicious software to the Redmond, Wash. developer.

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