Microsoft Security Essentials beta to be capped at 75,000, kicks off today

Summary:Just a quick reminder: Microsoft plans to allow the public to download a beta version of "Morro," now known as Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) on June 23, starting around 9 a.m. PT. Here are the particulars for those interested in testing the free antivirus/anti-malware offering.

Just a quick reminder: Microsoft plans to allow the public to download a beta version of "Morro," now known as Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) on June 23, starting around 9 a.m. PT.

Update (8 a.m. PT): The beta download is now live. Or maybe not. It was for a minute, there....

MSE is the free antivirus/anti-malware product that is replacing Microsoft's paid Windows Live OneCare subscription service. It is aimed primarily at users who can't or won't pay for security software.

Here are the details about today's beta kick-off:

Who is eligible: Anyone in the U.S., Israel or Brazil who wants to try MSE on XP SP2, Vista or Windows 7 (Beta or Release Candidate) can grab the beta. Last week, Microsoft officials told me there was no cap planned for the beta, but  shortly thereafter a spokesperson said the beta will be capped at 75,000. "This could change though depending on what the download scenario is," he added.

Download site: Testers will be able to download MSE beta from Microsoft Connect by going to this page: http://www.microsoft.com/security_essentials/

Versions: The MSE beta will be available in 32- and 64-bit flavors. It will be available in English and Brazilian Portuguese on June 23 and simplified Chinese some time later this year. Update: The beta is restricted by country. The beta site says: "This beta is available only to customers in the United States, Israel (English only), People's Republic of China (Simplified Chinese only) and Brazil (Brazilian Portuguese only)."

How long will the beta be available: Microsoft plans to keep the beta open until the cap is reached or the final product is available, whichever comes first.

When is the final MSE release due: Official word is before the end of calendar 2009. I've seen several bloggers saying this fall.

If you're among the testers who grab a copy of today's beta of MSE, I'd be interested in hearing what you think. How does MSE compare to other free and paid third-party security offerings and Windows Live OneCare?

Topics: Microsoft, Security

About

Mary Jo Foley has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications, including ZDNet, eWeek and Baseline. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008). She also is the cohost of the "Windows Weekly" podcast on the TWiT network. Got a tip? Se... Full Bio

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