Explaining the OneCare and Defender relationship - OneCare Team Blog Post 1/12/07 RRS feed

  • General discussion

  • http://windowsonecare.spaces.live.com/Blog/cns!C29701F38A601141!3842.entry

    As most readers of this blog know by now, the OneCare team feels pretty strongly about comprehensive PC care. Our goal is to make it easy for users to "outsource" the management of your PCs. We want to make sure your protection, performance and backup all work smoothly, and don't require a lot of intervention – particularly if you won't want to be managing these things on a regular basis. Because after all, wouldn't you rather be surfing the Web, communicating with friends or being productive, rather than managing applications allowed through your firewall, or manually backing up data on a periodic basis?

    For most of our customers, the answer is yes – they are happy to let us take care of their PC. Which is why we made sure to include spyware protection in our initial release of Windows Live OneCare. In v1 we provided a link to the beta release of Windows Defender. Although it required a separate installation, it was a good interim solution to help provide adequate protection. In preparing for our next major release, v1.5 – due out at the end of this month - we resolved to make the experience between these two technologies better. Indeed, in v1.5 we now have a single "engine," to scan and handle viruses and spyware. This benefits our customers in two distinct ways: first, you no longer need to distinguish between virus and spyware protection, it's all part of the same technology. This is consistent with our mission of keeping it simple – most users have told us they aren't interested in learning the fine distinctions between threat categories. They simply want to be protected, so that's what we are providing.

    Second, having an integrated engine for virus and spyware allows Windows Live OneCare to provide deeper, and therefore better protection than having the two stand-alone applications. Here's what I mean. The engine that works in real time, to scan any file opened or accessed, must operate at a fairly low level in the operating system. Basically, it means that a combined engine (which relies on the same mini-filter driver) can catch BOTH viruses and spyware as early as possible, making an integrated engine more efficient and safer for our users.

    Overall, we're pleased with the progress we've made in this area, and believe it will be better for our customers – that's the ultimate goal. However, we have noticed some comments on the blog and in our forums which suggest there is some confusion regarding the actual integration, and relationship, of the two technologies.

    Let me try and clarify - if Windows Defender is installed on a machine and then OneCare v1.5 is installed afterward, by default the installation will disable Windows Defender. Windows Defender will then display a dialog indicating that it has been disabled, and asking if the user wants to turn it on again. When you are installing OneCare v1.5 you should close this dialog without re-enabling Defender. OneCare intentionally disables Defender because it can cause system instability to have both running at the same time, and since OneCare is a superset of Defender, there is no reason you would need both of them running.

    A number of folks have also asked why OneCare disables Windows Defender rather than simply removing it. Two reasons: First, Windows Defender is part of the Windows Vista operating system and cannot be uninstalled, it can only be disabled. Second, if for any reason a user uninstalls OneCare, we will automatically turn Windows Defender back on to help keep users protected against spyware.

    There is one last issue which some of you may have experienced. If Windows Defender was installed on your machine and now appears to be "missing," it may be due to the fact that the final Beta version of Windows Defender recently expired, on December 31, 2006. If you installed OneCare v1.5 (the beta) on a Windows XP machine with Windows Defender Beta 2 previously installed, OneCare automatically disabled the Beta version of Defender. If you try and install the latest version of Windows Defender, you will see a dialog indicating that you do not need to install both products, "OneCare has been found…"

    I hope that clarifies the main issues – if you have more detailed questions or want to know more technical information, I suggest trying the Forum. And please keep the comments and questions coming. I'll be adding posts on some of the other common questions/issues posted on the blog in the coming weeks.




    Friday, January 12, 2007 10:42 PM