When Windows Live OneCare first came out and was in its early stages, many thought it left a lot to be desired, but it has come a long way in its development, offering better and more useful features. This all-in-one security suite offered from Microsoft includes basic security features and more.

Features included are an improved Firewall, Virus and Spyware protection, Anti-Identity theft, Performance Tune-ups, and easy to configure centralized Backup.  The most notable feature of it all is being able to control 3 PC’s at once.

For this article I am installing it on Windows Vista Ultimate 64.  I would imagine the process is very similar in other versions of Vista and XP.  If you know of any issues with other versions of Windows, or would like to share your experience with Windows Live OneCare definitely leave a comment and let us know!


Immediately upon launching the Live OneCare installation process it checks for updates.  Then the rest of the setup begins.  First you will select the appropriate language, read a brief description of the software suite, then click Next.

Next you are prompted to read and accept the EULA and Terms of use.  After that Windows Live OneCare will download and install.  With my DSL connection it took about 10 minutes to complete.

After everything is loaded up a reboot will be required.

Upon returning you will get a welcome screen of sorts.  Here you can choose to go with step 1 which will require you to purchase a license ($49.95) or go with the limited trial which is what I am going to select.  Since this is my first experience with Windows Live OneCare I want to test everything out during the 90 day trial.

4 - Welcome Screen

Another thing I noticed right away is several balloons and other messages pointing out what OneCare believes to be lacking security on my system.

baloon msg

After selecting that I want to continue with the free trial Microsoft feels the need to make sure I am confident about that by asking again.

Second time is a charm, Windows Live OneCare is ready to roll and is already working.

An improvement I noticed (and need to get used to) when launching AIMP Audio Player which is associated with Last.FM, The OneCare Firewall asked if I wanted to program to access the Internet.  This is definitely an improvement over Windows native firewall which only blocks incoming connections.  This is somewhat annoying at first, but if you allow each known safe program it will be the last time you’re asked.

The next settings to pop up you may recall selecting when first installing Vista.  OneCare wants to choose the type of network connection the PC is connected to.

The Windows Live OneCare control center is where to change settings, run scans, and associate other security tasks.

Windows Live OneCare Settings allow you to configure various aspects of how different protection components work.

One of the schedulable features in a PC tune-up.  This will perform typical maintenance tasks like Defragmenting the Hard Drive, Scan for Viruses, and check for security updates from Microsoft.

You can manage multiple Windows based PC’s (up to three) with a OneCare circle.  Also signing in with a Windows Live ID allows you to get more out of the OneCare trial.

When running a manual scan for Viruses and Spyware, you will get three types of scans to choose from Quick, Complete, or Customized.  With all scans you will be able to keep an archive of scan reports as well.

No matter which type of scan you choose a progress screen will be displayed.  This screen also allows you to pause the scan if needed.

A successful and healthy scan!

Periodically there will be advisories that tell you about Security Updates from Microsoft that have not yet been installed.  These provide a brief detailed description of the update and also allow you to connect to the Microsoft website to get even more information.


Since using Windows Live OneCare overall I think it is a very nice security solution for home computers.  It is not very intrusive and there seems less problems than sometimes experienced with third-party all-in-one security suites.  Security suite utilities such as Norton or McAfee really lock themselves deep into your operating system and can be problematic.  If I were to recommend an all-in-one solution then this would be it as it’s designed to integrate seamlessly.  It would be nice if Microsoft included this in the Windows OS by default, maybe Windows 7?  OneCare works on any PC with Windows XP Home SP2 or or above and all Vista (32 or 64-bit) editions.  *Note XP 64-bit edition is NOT supported.

Download And Install Windows Live OneCare 90 Day Trial