Security of home computers is a huge business with lots of competition. I’ve run almost every version of anti-virus, anti-spyware and firewall combination there is. My annoyance thus far is exactly that; to get a good secure windows system you have to combine various titles. There are a few â€œall in oneâ€ suites that offer at least moderate protection in all categories. Most, however, I would not suggest.
I downloaded Windows OneCare Live (the current retail version) and installed it. I quickly found a few quirks about it that I did not like. Before I discuss those, let me list a few of my personal expectations of a security suite:
- Fully Integrated Anti-Virus, Anti-Spyware and Firewall
- Ease of scheduling full sweeps
- Integrated automatic updates for both definitions and program
- User friendly firewall interface
- As few pop-up dialog boxes as possible
- A single system tray icon with one glance status
- One easy-to-use and understand user interface for all functions and settings
While Windows OneCare Live has some cool features beyond the requirements, I chose to stick to the basics for my initial review. The current version fails several of the basic requirements, namely, the anti-virus and anti-spyware weren’t both integrated. Windows defender seemed like a last-minute add on. While the firewall is â€œmanaged,â€ the system seemed proud of itself every time it made a decision without your input. System notification popups would let you know when a process was allowed outgoing internet access. Everything else seemed to meet what it said it would do.
Then I perused the extra features which include automated backups, disk defragmenting and disk cleanups run in the monthly â€œtune-up.â€ I love that it schedules the tune-up with the defrag running monthlyâ€”the tuneup is one of its strong points. When I tried to do a backup, I was annoyed to see that only external hard drives could be used for the scheduled backup. It did also offer the option of scheduling a backup reminder and wizard to use a CD/DVD writer as well. But no option for a second internal hard drive or network share.
So, disappointed, I decided to remove that version and sign up for the beta version.
Most of my gripes with the current version were, I’m happy to say, corrected in the beta. Windows defender was brought in as an integrated part of the program, you can now backup files to other drives and network shares, more options for the firewall, fewer notifications and a single icon on the system tray. Green is good, yellow is fair, red requires immediate attention: Simple.
The interface is just that, simple. For the average home computer and user, I have fairly high confidence that Windows OneCare Live will keep your computer running and safe. I would recommend it above all but PC-cillin’s Internet Security Suite for features, function and ease of use.
I wouldn’t recommend the version that is on the shelf right now, but when the beta is shipped, I would. The current price point in OneCare Live is much cheaper than the other suites on the market and comes in multi-license packages for your budding home network.
If you’re interested in Windows OneCare Live, download the beta version and give it a try. Being a resident Linux geek, it’s not often I suggest software made my Microsoft, but if you’re going to run Windows… OneCare Live is a good add-on.
Before you start asking about other options.. if you’re looking for free (hey, we all like free), I do suggest AVG by grisoft for anti-virus. There are countless free anti-spyware programs, I suggest you use ad-aware AND spybot S&D. I have yet to find one free anti-spyware title that has a large enough database. If you’re looking to step up into paid versions anti-virus, I still like the full version of AVG or PC-cillin. The only standalone anti-spyware I’ll suggest it SpySweeper by Webroot.
And, as previously suggested, for all-in-one suites, I like the PC-cillin Internet Security Suite. But Windows OneCare Live is growing on me, and it’s much cheaper than PC-cillin.