New Windows Defender beta, crazy CES 2013 rumors and more Microsoft news bits

New Windows Defender beta, crazy CES 2013 rumors and more Microsoft news bits

Summary: Microsoft news of the week roundup: Microsoft is beta testing an offline version of its Defender security product, offering users a new tech support service and rumored to be backing away from using CES as a major launch pad.


Here are a few Microsoft-centric news bits from this week about which I didn't have a chance to blog earlier: Windows Defender Offline goes to beta: Windows Defender -- Microsoft's antispyware software that is built into Windows 7 and Vista and downloadable for other older Windows versions -- is getting a new complement. Microsoft delivered a beta this week of "Windows Defender Offline," a version of Defender that can be installed to a CD, DVD, or USB flash drive. It can run offline, making it potentially useful in removing exploits like rootkits, which can be hard to get rid of while Windows is running.

I asked Microsoft officials as to when they expect the final version of the Defender Offline product and was told no comment. The same officials also declined to comment on Microsoft's plans for supporting Defender Offline with Windows 8. Microsoft officials already have shared quite a bit about plans to bundle a new, souped-up version of Defender in Windows 8 via a post to the "Building Windows 8" blog. Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE), a superset of Defender, disables Defender when downloaded and installed by users. Microsoft also is currently beta testing a new version of MSE.

Microsoft takes its Answer Desk online: Microsoft rolled out this week an online version of its Answer Desk support service that it has been offering at its brick-and-mortar Microsoft Stores. The new service covers problems with Microsoft Office, Windows connectivity, printing/scanning, PC performance optimization and virus removal, among other products/issues, according to Users also can talk to live "Answer Techs" -- for free (initially), but for pay once actual tech-assistance time begins. Premium Software support costs $99 an hour; PC tune-up and virus removal each cost $99 for two hours.

Speaking of Microsoft Stores, 2011 is coming to a close and there's still no New York City store. I had heard from one of my tipsters Microsoft's first New York City store was in the works for this year. Nope. Instead, there's another Apple Store opening in Grand Central Terminal today. I guess there's always next year....

Next week: First Nokia Windows Phone for the U.S.: It's looking all but certain that the December 14 announcement by Nokia and T-Mobile will be the unveiling of the Nokia Lumia 710 on T-Mobile. The 710 is the less-expensive, lower-end sibling of the Lumia 800. The 710 began shipping outside the U.S. on December 9. Nokia officials have said they are talking to all four U.S. carriers about possibly carrying Nokia Windows Phones in the coming year. Verizon seems to be playing hardball and requiring Microsoft and partners to deliver an LTE-enabled phone, according to Microsoft officials have said Windows Phones with LTE support are coming, but not until battery-drain issues plaguing LTE are solved.

Might CES 2012 be Microsoft's last? Microsoft isn't going to be launching its Windows 8 beta at the Consumer Electronics Show, officials confirmed this week. There will still be various Microsoft announcements saved up for CEO Steve Ballmer's CES 2012 keynote, no doubt. (I'm thinking the coming Kinect for Windows hardware, more Xbox Live TV partners/channels and specifics on more Nokia Windows Phones will be among the tidbits shared.) But CES 2013? I've heard -- albeit from a single decent source -- that Microsoft may not be keynoting a year from now. I've heard it's yet another move by Microsoft to be more Apple-like and to save its big announcements for Microsoft-specific/orchestrated events.

I first shared this CES 2013 rumor on the Windows Weekly webcast that I'm co-hosting with Windows SuperSite's Paul Thurrott this week. Electronista did a good write-up of what I said. Remember: I consider this to be a rumor at this point, and not something I've attempted to run past any other of my contacts to attempt to corroborate.

Topics: Nokia, Microsoft, Operating Systems, Software, Windows


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • Is this tool replacing Microsoft Standalone System Sweeper?

    Microsoft already offers a bootable USB and CD tool called Microsoft Standalone System Sweeper. Basically it is a bootable scanning and removal tool, so able to avoid problems when Windows is infected. It can be updated by pointing it to a USB drive with new definitions. Is this Offline Defender replacing System Sweeper?
    • Maybe it will replace System Sweeper. Not sure

      When I asked MS for more, they didn't mention System Sweeper at all. However, one MS consumer security MVP says:

      "Windows Defender Offline Beta is Microsoft Standalone System Sweeper Beta renamed (the same program as (DaRT) for Enterprise)." Link:!/SecurityGarden/status/145213564083376129

      Mary Jo Foley
  • Is the battery-drain issues plaguing LTE

    a product of the technology, or the hardware (handsets) itself
    Tim Cook
  • RE: New Windows Defender beta, crazy CES 2013 rumors and more Microsoft news bits

    Surely it's time to kill of Defender and concentrate on MSE?

    Two very similar products is confusing. Especially as Defender in Win8 is MSE, renamed Defender and not Defender as downloadable/in Vista/Win7.
  • RE: New Windows Defender beta, crazy CES 2013 rumors and more Microsoft news bits

    it was hacked this year it is crap and all will be it is unsafe it let things in that you need stopped and it will not stop all thing at all
  • Role of Windows 8 in Lumia 800

    The question I have is whether the Nokia lumia 800 will be upgradable or not to Windows 8? Or will it stay with Windows 7.5 for it's lifespan? I run a blog at and how Windows 8 fits into Microsoft's phone and tablet strategy is still fuzzy.
  • RE: New Windows Defender beta, crazy CES 2013 rumors and more Microsoft news bits

    But the things is, computers are upgrading for a fast Pc experience but also the third party application so, it's like were going in circles here.<a href="">virus removal service</a>