Several readers pointed me to a download link on the Microsoft Web site last night for Windows Defender Beta 2, Microsoft's long-awaited follow-up to Microsoft AntiSpyware Beta 1, which the company released more than a year ago. Since the initial public beta, Microsoft has worked to turn Defender into a hands-off service that features a better spyware detection and removal engine, a more user-friendly interface, and compatibility with Windows 2000 (Service Pack 4 and later) Windows XP (SP2 and later and x64), and Windows Server 2003 (SP1 and later).

Microsoft will officially announce Defender Beta 2 at the RSA Conference 2005 on Tuesday in San Jose, California. If you're interested in downloading and testing Defender Beta 2, there are two versions available on the Microsoft Web site, one for 32-bit systems and one for Windows XP Professional x64 Edition.

   http://www.microsoft.com/athome/security/spyware/software/default.mspx

I've been working with the Defender Beta 2 code for some time. My exhaustive review of this release will be available on the SuperSite for Windows later today.


   http://www.winsupersite.com