Microsoft preps beta of free antivirus tool

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.

Comments closed
    • provoko
    • 10 years ago

    I don’t use antivirus software any longer… Haha. I’ve been surfing the internet unprotected for a year now and I’ve gotton zero viruses. I’ve just been practicing safe surfing habits. In fact, the last time I got a virus was 7 years ago.

    If I ever want to check a certain file for a virus I use a website.

    • tocatl
    • 10 years ago

    LOL, “Morro” is a slang that people in mexico streets uses to call a male child, just to let people know,
    They do have a tough battle, cause my Free COMODO ANTIVIRUS is a beast, it was able to detect a virus that the PANDA ANTIVIRUS that i bought could not…

    • WaltC
    • 10 years ago

    I’ve preferred OneCare for some time now, mainly because it includes everything I need in a single program, is far less system intrusive than Norton’s ever was (I used Norton’s for years), and was, I thought, a bargain.

    After all, whether you pay $49.95 for it at MSRP, or you pick it up from a Best Buy/WalMart shelf at $39.95, it provides you with three legitimate licenses so that it can be run on three machines simultaneously. That’s like $13.33 or so per license per year, which doesn’t seem egregious to me.

    I let my subscription lapse in anticipation of Morro, however…an even better deal…;) If you let your subscription lapse the program still functions in all respects–it just doesn’t add new definitions. Almost everyone at work uses it, and I especially like how it keeps tabs with my machine at work and tells me when the machine is shut down–a very easy way to see if anyone is getting on my box when I’m away…;)

    • Dirge
    • 10 years ago

    Why not put all the extra effort of creating and maintaining an AV product into patching vulnerabilities. I think the current AV market is pretty well covered,

      • barich
      • 10 years ago

      In case you haven’t been paying attention lately, Windows actually has relatively few vulnerabilities these days. According to Secunia, Vista has had fewer vulnerabilites reported this year by far than OS X, and Vista and XP combined have fewer reported vulnerabilities (374) in their lifetimes than OS X does (936).

      We could argue the relative severity of the reported vulnerabilities all day long, but I think it’s going to be difficult to explain to me what more Microsoft could do to improve the security of the OS besides what they’re doing right now – addressing the weakest remaining link, the user – by creating free antimalware software.

        • Dirge
        • 10 years ago

        Comparing Vista/XP to another OS doesn’t change the fact Microsoft’s operating systems have and will continue to have pretty serious vulnerabilities.

        My point is there is plenty of AV software out there and I can think of at least three free ones. Microsoft’s efforts are better used securing their systems, developing new features and generally improving their platform.

    • S_D
    • 10 years ago

    Why is everyone always of the opinion that it’s the OS’s fault if a user picks up a virus? You could have the strongest OS in the world, and you would still get a virus because people are silly enough to click on flashing ‘banners’ in websites, click past any security warnings (hey, you’re a ‘power user’, right?) and install malware that came with pirated software on P2P, usenet etc.

    It isn’t always the OS’s fault. Unfortunately the weak link in the chain is the user, and unfortunately that’s something Microsoft can do little about.

      • kvndoom
      • 10 years ago

      I see it as a positive, if people actually install it and it auto-updates by default. It’s better than nothing. I shudder at how many people are out there who think their computer is “protected,” when the pre-installed 60-day trial of Norton or McAfee expired 2 or 3 years ago.

    • Richie_G
    • 10 years ago

    Well it could be argued that if MS take so much flac for having an OS that’s vulnerable to viruses etc, then don’t they have the right to protect it with AV software? If they are making it free I would assume it is to ensure that it encourages _[

    • albundy
    • 10 years ago

    its gonna be really hard to convince me to give up NOD32. it has saved my pathetic computer countless times while no other would.

      • Mystic-G
      • 10 years ago

      NoD32 is like cold medicine that actually works.

        • bittermann
        • 10 years ago

        I’ll include VIPRE Enterprise for the corporate “cold medicine that actually works”!

      • absinthexl
      • 10 years ago

      NOD32 is great, and with two-person two-year licensing, it ends up being something like $20/year.

      • tocatl
      • 10 years ago

      try COMODO ANTIVIRUS, better virus detection…

    • ClickClick5
    • 10 years ago

    A theory I have always had was this:

    Companies write viruses and trojans, then turn around and write the virus protection software to protect you. Thus, you pay for a product (with a subscription) to keep you safe from something they are making. I use to really feel that way about Norton….but they became a virus on their own.

    Hats off to Microsoft here…

      • Konstantine
      • 10 years ago

      My exact thought.
      Cuz why would anyone write viruses and harm people for no reason?

    • BiffStroganoffsky
    • 10 years ago

    But this is not bundled with the OS or any particular service pack. If people have to ‘opt-in’ to download, I don’t see a legal issue here.

    • ludi
    • 10 years ago

    MSAV 2009: Now with a ribbon toolbar!

    • bthylafh
    • 10 years ago

    Why would I trust Microsoft, of all companies, to write security software?

      • boing
      • 10 years ago

      If you don’t trust them enough to write security software, you shouldn’t be running their OS in the first place if they are truly that bad.

        • bthylafh
        • 10 years ago

        I certainly don’t do anything critical with it (games, Internet; yay FLOSS), and I make up for Redmond’s security deficiencies with third-party software.

          • MadManOriginal
          • 10 years ago

          Well no one is forcing you to use this. It seems like a good idea for MS to have something that’s more of a real AV program than Defender if only to stave off the ‘MS OS = get viruses!!11’ bs.

            • bthylafh
            • 10 years ago

            …what?

            • moshpit
            • 10 years ago

            Seemed pretty clear to me…

            • MadManOriginal
            • 10 years ago

            I said something else before editing it that probably didn’t make sense.

      • Sargent Duck
      • 10 years ago

      And you’d trust Norton’s (*snort*) more?

      I’m reminded of AVG who had excellent anti-virus software but, they needed to make money and sold out. Microsoft on the other hand is not about making money, they’re about improving their image. The goal of this virus software isn’t to make money like third parities, but rather improve their main product, Windows. So yes, I’d trust Microsoft to write security software.

        • bhtooefr
        • 10 years ago

        Avast is using a slightly different approach with their free version than AVG, though…

        AVG’s free version is rather crippled, Avast’s is 99% of what a home user needs, but not much of what a business user needs. So, it gets popular with geeks at home, and then they recommend it for their company.

        • vikramsbox
        • 10 years ago

        MS not about making money? Well, better remind them so that they offer free upgrade to Win7 and also offer Office 2007 at $50!
        Don’t know about any efficacy, as the threat nowadays is from Spyware and most AV products don’t have a perfect record in that area.
        Maybe because MS made the biggest virus (Windows has ‘wormed’ its way into every PC and netbook, opened up security holes, and burned holes into our pockets; hm? seems awfully lot like spyware and viruses?)
        The windows AV is just a facelift that when MS has the ‘competence’ to make an AV product, then they would have the competence to make more secure products.
        I’ve used AVG, Avira, Avast, Ewido (now AVG anti spyware), Kaspersky, Bitdefender as suites and various free Spyware tools.
        The best I found was KIS 2009. It was well worth the money and very good even in internet security. Firewall is Comodo.

      • barich
      • 10 years ago

      Well, they write the most secure consumer operating system on the market. Why shouldn’t you trust them to write antivirus software?

      • Generic
      • 10 years ago

      Was there /[

        • Kurkotain
        • 10 years ago

        the what?!?! 2nd place?
        i agree on KIS 2009 being the best antivirus on the market, i use it on all my computers and even on my gf laptop although the firewall is a bit of a problem if you are trying to set a up a network… better leave it off

    • porov
    • 10 years ago

    this might be the end of antivirus software

      • khands
      • 10 years ago

      Doubtful, MS has it’s hands busy with all the non-virus related problems in it’s OS already, while they need to (and seemingly have been trying to) make at least a valiant effort lately. It at least means most people will have something on their machine.

      • UberGerbil
      • 10 years ago

      No, but it might be the beginning of lawsuits from the other AV companies.

      • ssidbroadcast
      • 10 years ago

      There’ll be no /[

        • UberGerbil
        • 10 years ago

        I wouldn’t be so sure of that. There’s now a free firewall in Windows, despite the previous existence of non-free offerings from other companies (which haven’t disappeared, it is worth noting). There would be no internal greenlighting of this if MS Legal thought the situation was as clear as you think it to be.

        That won’t stop others from considering, or launching, lawsuits on this point however.

          • ssidbroadcast
          • 10 years ago

          Well yeah. I should’ve said something to the effect of, “anti-trust devs will be filing suit faster than you can say /[

          • FubbHead
          • 10 years ago

          True. But on the other hand, integrated OS firewalls is usually (or should be at least) a last resort where there are no stand-alone router. They have often big problems protecting a computer without affecting the OS negatively. I suspect there is a market outside the OS, if not even greater.

          And I suspect this is much the same.. If they don’t start integrating it into their server/enterprise products, where I suspect the real money is, there should probably not be so much of a problem.

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