April 22, 2024
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Microsoft is introducing its free PC-scanning service outside the U.S., part of an international push for its security tools.

The Windows Live OneCare safety scanner is now available around the world, Microsoft said in a statement Monday. The online scanner removes viruses and spyware, rids a hard drive of clutter, and runs defragmentation.

The service is similar to Trend Micro’s House Call and McAfee’s FreeScan, though those only remove malicious software.

The international launch is a precursor to a broader release of Windows Live OneCare. Beta versions of the consumer security software are scheduled to be available by year’s end in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland, and the U.K., Microsoft said.

OneCare was launched in the U.S. late May and landed the No. 2 spot in retail sales in June. The product combines antivirus, anti-spyware and firewall software with backup features and several tune-up tools for Windows PCs. Symantec and McAfee have both announced new products to compete with OneCare.

Microsoft has brought more than a dozen new products into its burgeoning Windows Live program, which it plans to continuously expand and update. Through the services, Microsoft hopes to understand better who uses its online services and how they use them, as it faces rising competition from Web-based rivals such as Google.