Microsoft is looking for better traction with Windows Live OneCare, its automatic self-updating PC care service that runs when a user's PC is on.
Windows Live OneCare v2 is now available as a beta from Microsoft and is an update to Microsoft's popular antivirus/anti-spyware consumer desktop security solution.
A Microsoft spokesperson admitted to internetnews.com that OneCare v2 is essentially the same core engine as the current 1.x product with additional features bolted on.
Among the new features that Microsoft is baking into the new version of one care is Multi-PC and home network management. OneCare which has been available at retail since May of 2006. It includes support for up to three PC's as part of the product cost. The new feature in version 2 will provide a single dashboard for managing the security of networked PCs and for resolving issues across the network, as well.
The current version of OneCare includes a backup feature which will be expanded in version 2 with a centralized backup feature that would allow a user to control and manage backups for all networked PC's that are part of the same OneCare subscription.
Reporting will also be added to OneCare providing users with a summary of what the program has done and recommended across the users network.
Other improvements that Microsoft is expecting to include in OneCare v2 are improved WiFi connection security, start time optimizer and an online photo backup service.
For now, Microsoft is focusing its effort on development. A Microsoft spokesperson was unable to provide specifics on ship dates for the final version of OneCare v2.
Microsoft first announced OneCare in 2005. It marked Microsoft's first foray into desktop antivirus support, and more than caught the attention of computer and software security vendors Symantec and McAfee, who claimed they weren't too worried about Microsoft's move on their turf.
In March of this year, OneCare bombed out in a critical antivirus test. Microsoft has since rebounded with a re-certification of its antivirus capabilities from both West Coast Labs and ICSA Labs.
"Since Microsoft first launched Windows Live OneCare in 2006, millions of customers have signed on to the service," the Microsoft spokesperson said. "Windows Live OneCare is currently #2 at retail and we have our sights set on #1.