Microsoft takes PC safety scan, OneCare international

Microsoft launched an international versions of its free PC security and tune-up application and promised worldwide beta versions of Windows Live OneCare.

Microsoft launched an international version of its free Web-based PC security and tune-up application on Monday and promised worldwide beta versions of Windows Live OneCare, the company's new consumer security product.

The security and tune-up application, called Windows Live OneCare Safety Scanner, runs from a Microsoft Web site. It doesn't have to be installed onto a PC.

The scanner removes viruses and other malicious software and can perform basic maintenance, such as defragmenting the hard disk, so programs run faster.

Microsoft rolled out its OneCare consumer security product in May, its first major move into the computer security area.

Microsoft said international beta versions of OneCare will be available by the end of the year in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland, and the U.K.

OneCare, priced at US$49.95 per year, can be used on up to three PCs, an aggressive licensing strategy intended to compete with major antivirus software vendors such as Symantec and McAfee. The software contains antivirus, backup, firewall, antispyware and PC tuning features.

The two applications fall into Microsoft's Live services, a range of Web-based and desktop applications the company is developing to keep its edge over competing ones from companies such as Google.

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