[Geeks are Sexy] technology news

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Microsoft Anti-Virus Public Beta : Windows Live Safety Center review

Microsoft came out today with a brand new beta product named Windows Live Safety Center. The application can be installed and executed online, which could cause some problems with the removal of certain viruses.

Here is a Quote from their website:

Windows Live Safety Center is a new, free service designed to help ensure the health of your PC.
  • Check for and remove viruses (Anti-virus)
  • Learn about threats (Information about security threats)
  • Improve your PC's performance (Defragmentation)
  • Get rid of junk on your hard disk (Disk Cleanup)

Basically, they just released a Norton systemworks lookalike. This is nothing new, but it is free! I think most IT people will prefer to keep their original tools to do their work. This application was meant to be used by people who do not know much about computers and who wants to keep maintenance of their operating system as simple as possible.

Here is a few screenshots and explanation about how the application works:

1. Get on http://safety.live.com/ and press on the full service scan yellow button. Browse through the full Beta service agreement before hitting that accept button. You should read it you know ;)
2. Install the scanner: Press the yellow "Install scanner" Button.


3. Select Complete scan, and press Next. This will start the scanning process. It will first download the updated version / definition of each tools, and after, do a complete scan of your computer.

3 4

4. You now have the results. Yes I know, I had 3 viruses on there. But they are actually supposed to be there. My job requires me to do some security audits on my network, and the tools I use fall under a virus-like category. Don't worry, I'll be just fine.

5 6

As you can see, the results are regrouped under 3 categories:

Protection: Viruses and other threat (Ex: Security / Hacking tools)
Performance: Drive fragmentation and useless file eating disk space away
Network safety: Security risk associated with your network (Open ports, etc...)

The viruses will be removed automatically, but for the other categories, you always have the choice to do something about the discovered problems by selecting the appropriate checkbox. When you are finished, press NEXT. Your temporary files will then be deleted, and your hard disk defragmented if you decided to do so.

I do recommend this tool to people who do not have the time to tweak their computers. The application is still in BETA phase, but it is very functional. I do not think this could replace a fully functional, real-time protection anti-virus, at least not until they release a version that loads up and memory and protect your system at all time.

Well, that's all there is to say right now. I'll keep you guys updated about the product when new features comes out.

If this article interested you and you are an IT person working in a corporate environment, I would suggest you to consult my other article about the art of patch management. Patching your computers against vulnerabilities is as important as protecting them against viruses, especially if you have to do it on a large scale where you cannot afford to do this manually.

If this article was of any interest to you, you might like to read some of my other ones:

Update: Ok, this is more a walkthrough then a review. I did post my opinion about the product. I wanted to show people what the product looked like, and how it worked. If people didn't like the walkthrough, they wouldnt have digged it. Thanks to everyone.

Update 2: Micheal, a fellow blogger user sent me this comment, I tought I'd share it with everyone:

"Firefox users should use the IE Tab extesion to use the scanner. It'll open the link in a new Firefox tab using, but using IE. Here's the link. https://addons.mozilla.org/extensions/moreinfo.php?id=1419&application=firefox"


  • great review. I wanted to check this out. Keep us posted on any new observations.

    By Anonymous michael, at 12:12 PM  

  • Is this a new product or have they purchased another company's av engine?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:23 PM  

  • eh, my msn search toolbar popup blocker even when disabled, refuses to let the Scan button work. Maybe they shouldn't rely on web page popups as a mechanism

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:29 AM  

  • personally, I would not use a microsoft anti-virus. i would be afraid of it full of security holes like all other microsoft software.

    By Anonymous miscblogger, at 12:34 AM  

  • me thinks you have another pop-up block besides msn. it works fine on my network, with the msn blocker temporarily disabl

    By Blogger Jon [Flaire], at 12:35 AM  

  • ^at anonymous2

    By Blogger Jon [Flaire], at 12:36 AM  

  • M$ bought GeCAD, Sybari and Giant software in the last couple years.

    There was also a russian firm they bought but I cannot remember the name now and google isn't cooperating :/

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:48 AM  

  • The Russian firm wa RAV

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:49 AM  

  • And it was Rumanian not Russian and the first thing MS did was to kill it's free Linux mailscanner for servers!!!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:02 AM  

  • how is this a "review"? Did you test the anti-virus capabilities? How did it do in catching and removing known virus signatures? etc, etc

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:02 AM  

  • It doesn't work with Firefox so i can't use it.

    I hope they fix that, otherwise this nice site is pretty useless to me :-(

    By Anonymous Jenny, at 9:20 AM  

  • Firefox users should use the IE Tab extesion to use the scanner. It'll open the link in a new Firefox tab using, but using IE. Here's the link. https://addons.mozilla.org/extensions/moreinfo.php?id=1419&application=firefox

    BTW, nice article!

    By Blogger michael, at 9:53 AM  

  • If you hit ALT-PrintScrn, it'll only copy the current window to the clipboard. Therefore no cropping.

    Just FYI.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:52 AM  

  • Check out this review:


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:03 PM  

  • " I do not think this could replace a fully functional, real-time protection anti-virus, at least not until they release a version that loads up and memory and protect your system at all time."

    That would be Windows OneCare Live, the big brother to the Saftey Center version. I've been running the beta for three months now on all of my XP machines, and I'm quite impressed indeed.

    By Blogger Evan, at 2:12 PM  

  • Thanks for the review, the price is definitely right. I've been using Microsoft's antispyware tool for a while and I like its kept my PC very clean. I appreciate that Microsoft is finally taking security a little more seriously.

    Its funny how heavily they are promoting their live.com initiative. I was channel surfing last nite and noticed they were selling a live.com product on the apprentice.

    By Anonymous Matt, at 5:51 PM  

  • Microsoft isn't taking security more seriously by handing out "free" software to cover their arses. It's PR - and I don't think it wise to secure Microsoft with Microsoft, as the big red dot is fixed on M$. For effective "security", use other software packages, such as WinClam or SpywareGuard or Spybot, and so on to secure your PC. I use them far more than the MS equivalents, as I don't want to sweat the probability of those being exploited.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:44 PM  

  • Not impressed ! Did a scan - let it do it's thing - clicked remove , finish . Wiped out about 5 years of genealogy files . No problem , just did a Restore - problem resolved . B-U-T ; this is supposed to be for people who are computer illiterate ! When a user friendly program that messes with the registry is thrown out to the casual home user (I know its Beta - but ? ) ; there could & will be head banging problems .

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:39 AM  

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