Microsoft preps beta of free antivirus tool

— 3:41 PM on June 11, 2009

You may soon be able to take Microsoft's free anti-virus app for a spin. According to PC World, Microsoft is readying a public beta of Morro for users of Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP Service Pack 3.

Haven't heard about Morro before? If not, that's probably because Microsoft hasn't exactly been shouting the name from rooftops. Here's what the company said last November when it originally announced the software:

Code-named "Morro," this streamlined solution will be available in the second half of 2009 and will provide comprehensive protection from malware including viruses, spyware, rootkits and trojans. This new solution, to be offered at no charge to consumers, will be architected for a smaller footprint that will use fewer computing resources, making it ideal for low-bandwidth scenarios or less powerful PCs. As part of Microsoft's move to focus on this simplified offering, the company also announced today that it will discontinue retail sales of its Windows Live OneCare subscription service effective June 30, 2009.

PC World claims Morro may be "nothing more than a stripped-down version of OneCare"—an offering that was "considered a flop almost from the moment it debuted." Of course, OneCare does cost almost $50, so perhaps Morro's lack of a price tag will help it generate more buzz.

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