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Microsoft's Windows OneCare Live

OneCare will make sure you update and back up your system.
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Windows OneCare Live, currently in beta, promises not only protection against hackers, viruses and spyware, but also system optimization and backup. I tested the latest version and came away impressed, though there's work still to be done—and questions to be answered.

The three-step, browser-based installation was quick and painless, though it did require a reboot. Thankfully, OneCare updates itself automatically and in the background—I didn't have to deal with seemingly endless manual updates and restarts, as I did upon installing past versions of Norton Internet Security.

The OneCare window is a model of simplicity, with all functions divided into three at-a-glance sections: Protection Plus, Performance Plus, and Backup and Restore. Protection Plus contains antivirus, firewall and auto-update monitors; anti-spyware functionality hadn't been added yet, though it's safe to say it should look and act a lot like Microsoft's current Windows AntiSpyware product.

Get a Tune-Up
Performance Plus is home to OneCare's Tune-up option, which can be run manually or at scheduled intervals. Tune-up removes unnecessary files, defragments your hard drive, checks for viruses, updates your backup (if you've configured one—see below), and looks for missing system updates from Microsoft. Alas, if it discovers any, it merely directs you to Microsoft's Windows Update site instead of downloading and applying them automatically.

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