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Need info on update schedule and frequency RRS feed

  • Question

  • Can someone tell me how often OneCare updates its anti-virus and spyware defintions?  Is it once an hour, every two hours, etc., or is it some sort of random schedule with an offset?  Is there any way to increase or decrease the frequency via a registry key or config file?  Thanks.
    Sunday, January 11, 2009 3:56 AM

Answers

  • OneCare checks for updates several times per day, typically shortly after startup if the PC has been off-line and then every few hours thereafter. There is no way to modify when OneCare will check for udpates.
    -steve
    Microsoft MVP Windows Live / Windows Live OneCare Forum Moderator
    Monday, January 12, 2009 2:35 PM
    Moderator
  • You seem to be asking about the frequency of the updates themselves, rather than the frequency of the checks. There is no set number of updates per time period, and thus the only frequency that could be specified would be a statistical measure such as an average. If you want to see when the updates are actually occurring, and count them for the purpose of obtaining a statistical "sample", this information is available in the support log under “Virus and spyware protection”.

     

    GreginMich

    Wednesday, January 14, 2009 1:05 AM

All replies

  • OneCare checks for updates several times per day, typically shortly after startup if the PC has been off-line and then every few hours thereafter. There is no way to modify when OneCare will check for udpates.
    -steve
    Microsoft MVP Windows Live / Windows Live OneCare Forum Moderator
    Monday, January 12, 2009 2:35 PM
    Moderator
  • Stephen, thanks but I was really looking for hard numbers.  You mentioned "several" and "few" but I need more specifics than that.
    Monday, January 12, 2009 8:12 PM
  • Those are the hardest numbers that you'll get. :-)
    If you want to see some details on the checks, disconnect the PC from the network for a few hours. Then you can go to Control Panel, Administrative Tools, Event Viewer. You'll see entries for a failure to reach the broadcast messaging server, which is the action for OneCare updates. It will be happening hourly. If your network is connected, nothing is logged. In my experience, it will check for updates randomly, but probably every 4 to 8 hours of uptime after it establishes the initial connection.
    Note that I am not a programmer, just a fellow customer, and you are not likely to get any more detailed information that this in the forum.
    I can tell you that the program is designed for you to *not* worry about udpate checks. It is perfectly happy with not updating for 10 days and then it will turn red and tell you to check for updates. Updates are designed to happen transparently, with no notification at all, hence the reason you won't find any other details on it.
    -steve

    Microsoft MVP Windows Live / Windows Live OneCare Forum Moderator
    Tuesday, January 13, 2009 1:56 PM
    Moderator
  • You seem to be asking about the frequency of the updates themselves, rather than the frequency of the checks. There is no set number of updates per time period, and thus the only frequency that could be specified would be a statistical measure such as an average. If you want to see when the updates are actually occurring, and count them for the purpose of obtaining a statistical "sample", this information is available in the support log under “Virus and spyware protection”.

     

    GreginMich

    Wednesday, January 14, 2009 1:05 AM
  • Hey GreginMich,

    Correct answer except for one little glitch, this statistic would only be accurate if the PC is left on 24 hours a day, since otherwise an update might be missed while the PC is off. In general though updates don't occur more than daily, so if the PC is turned on for at least an hour each day the results should be fairly accurate.

    What might be more helpful is if Rasmus indicated the real reason behind the question, since we're all trying to guess what he really wants to hear. Typically the update frequency is of little value, since most infections occur days or even years after a detection is available. The only potentially useful statistic might be how quickly a detection is provided for an entirely new piece of malware that has very widespread distribution and no other form of available protection for the associated exploit, such as a newly identified OS vulnerability with no current patch.

    OneCareBear


    Windows OneCare Forum Moderator
    Thursday, January 15, 2009 5:21 PM
    Moderator
  • Good point, OneCareBear. This count only reflects the number of times that the update process actually takes place on the particular PC, not the number of signature updates that were published within that time period. The question was ambiguous and I simply wanted to point out that the information on the frequency of the actual update process is available in the support log, since this was being overlooked here. I should have included a disclaimer in order to avoid perpetuating this logical confusion with the meaning of “update”.

     

    I think the question was most likely asked for purposes of comparison with other antimalware, since the frequency of updates is now a popular consideration in evaluating security applications. I did attempt to find the documentation for the actual frequency of signature releases for OneCare, but could only find this statistic for the Online Scanner:

    http://anti-malware.net/index.php?menue=7&lang=0

     

    I also noticed that the monthly report seems to indicate a much higher frequency of updates (62 in my case), and this statistic might reflect the total number of signature releases that were applied, but I was once again unable to verify this. Perhaps you can help with pinning down the actual frequency of definition updates. Thanks and regards,

     

    GreginMich

    Thursday, January 15, 2009 9:03 PM