Are those “Get a Mac” ads that always talk about how your PC is always infested with horrible viruses and spyware annoying you yet? Well, they’re certainly annoying Microsoft.

Ever since XP Service Pack 2, the company has always strongly suggested that users should install anti-virus virus protection software, displaying one of those nagging yellow bubbles in the taskbar. Before, the only tool Microsoft offered was its Windows Defender software, a free download which protects users from spyware related assaults. Now, largely in response to the never ending onslaught of new security threats, Microsoft is getting ready to release its first full blown anti-malware software, Microsoft Security Essentials.

Originally codenamed Morro, the software will offer a full range of virus and malware removal as well as real time protection. While Windows Defender offered spyware protection, this addition of protection from viruses will make this a solid, complete solution, especially considering it will be available free.

Of course, to avoid even more anti-trust issues, the software can’t be bundled directly with Windows, so exactly how Microsoft intends to “strongly suggest” that users download the software, free it may be, is yet to be seen. Also of note is that installation of the software will require users to use the Genuine Advantage program.

Leaked yesterday, the program itself is very lightweight and has very low system requirements”"all good things for a program you’ll have to keep running 24/7. ‚ As we said, this new offering will be a free downloadable addition to all Windows versions, XP through 7, when it’s released this fall. Before then though, Microsoft is opening the product (link not yet live) to 75,000 beta testers on June 23, if you want to test putting your security in Microsoft’s control.

About The Author

Michael Kaufmann, lover of all things science and gadget, is a contributing editor at Blast. He can be reached at [email protected]

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