Microsoft has released the final version of its Windows
Defender anti-spyware utility. The program has been in beta for the past two
years and is now available for Windows XP and Windows Server 2003.
Windows Defender is a product of the Microsoft acquisition
of GIANT Software. The December
16, 2004 acquisition resulted in the first iteration of the software, Windows AntiSpyware, which was a thinly veiled copy of GIANT’s
AntiSpyware. Over the past two years, numerous updates have been made to the
utility along with the name change to Windows Defender.
Windows Defender incorporates Real-Time Protection to
monitor systems for spyware activity, automated spyware removal with scheduled
scans, full integration with Internet Explorer 7.0 and automatic spyware definition
updates from Microsoft.
Windows Defender is available
freely to all customers running a genuine copy of Windows. Microsoft has
also announced that customers will each be allowed to report two support
incidents for free with Windows XP and Windows Server 2003.
having already reported Microsoft to the European Union for anti-trust
violations over its Kernel PatchGuard protection in Vista, there's no telling
how Symantec and
McAfee feel about Microsoft offering a free anti-spyware utility.