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Windows Defender Goes Gold

Microsoft began shipping the final code for version 1 of its Windows Defender free anti-spyware tool on Monday.

Windows Defender aims to protect users' PCs against pop-ups, slow performance and security threats caused by spyware and other potentially unwanted software, according to company statements.

Previously named Windows AntiSpyware, Microsoft acquired the base technologies for Window Defender in 2004 when it bought out New York-based Giant Software.

The final version released on Monday runs on Windows XP and Windows Server 2003. A version that supports Windows Vista will ship integrated with Vista.

Windows Defender sports a redesigned and simplified user interface, a new spyware engine and enhanced real-time protection. The package can also be run by all users on a computer, whether they have administrative privileges or not.

The final release also supports Windows XP Professional x64 Edition – with a separate download. Microsoft will release localized versions including German and Japanese soon after the availability of the English versions.

Finally, Windows Defender now downloads smaller delta definition updates when possible, aiming to reduce the time required to download and install definition updates, the company said.

PCs must pass Windows Genuine Advantage testing in order to download the software. Windows Defender is available here.

About the Author

Stuart J. Johnston has covered technology, especially Microsoft, since February 1988 for InfoWorld, Computerworld, Information Week, and PC World, as well as for Enterprise Developer, XML & Web Services, and .NET magazines.