Frequently asked questions about Microsoft Windows AntiSpyware (Beta)

Q. What is spyware?
A. Spyware is software that collects personal information from you without your knowledge or permission. The information spyware collects can range from all the Web sites you visit to sensitive information including user names and passwords. You could become vulnerable to spyware if you download music from file-sharing programs, free games from sites you don't trust, or other software programs from unknown sources.

Read the What is spyware? article to learn more about spyware and how it affects your computer.

Q. How do I know if spyware has infected my computer?
A. If you experience slower Internet connection speeds, unwanted pop-up ads even when you aren't surfing the Web, changes in Web browser settings or home pages, or computer unresponsiveness, your computer may be infected. Because the typical goal of spyware is to steal information, some types of spyware may run quietly and not display any outward signs of infection. The best way to check for infection is to scan your computer using an updated utility, such as Windows AntiSpyware (Beta).

Q. How does Windows AntiSpyware (Beta) work?
A. Windows AntiSpyware (Beta) is a security technology that helps protect Windows users from spyware and other potentially unwanted software. Known spyware on your computer can be detected and removed. This helps reduce negative effects caused by spyware, including slow computer performance, annoying pop-up ads, unwanted changes to Internet settings, and unauthorized use of your private information. Continuous protection improves Internet browsing safety by guarding more than 50 ways spyware can enter your computer. The worldwide SpyNet? community plays a key role in determining which suspicious programs are classified as spyware. Microsoft researchers quickly develop methods to counteract these threats, and updates are automatically downloaded to your computer so you stay up to date.

Q. What does Windows AntiSpyware (Beta) do when it finds spyware on my computer?
A. Windows AntiSpyware (Beta) displays detailed information about every spyware program detected, including a description of the threat, where it is located on your computer, a risk rating, and a recommended action to take. This information enables you to make informed decisions regarding removal. Detected spyware can be either temporarily disabled using Spyware Quarantine or permanently removed from your computer. If you inadvertently remove any programs, you can easily get them back.

Q. What is real-time protection, and how does it protect me?
A. Real-time protection helps improve your Internet browsing safety by guarding more than 50 ways Web sites and programs can put spyware on your computer. Known spyware is automatically blocked while you browse the Internet. Your preferences determine whether you are alerted by all system changes, system changes caused by spyware only or changes where an appropriate response to a detected threat cannot be automatically determined.

Q. What is SpyNet??
A. SpyNet? is a voluntary worldwide community of Windows AntiSpyware users that plays a key role in determining which suspicious programs are classified as spyware. Any user can choose to join SpyNet? and report potential spyware to Microsoft. Users participating in the global SpyNet? network help to discover new threats quickly so everyone is better protected. Signatures are created for programs that are identified as spyware and made available to all users.

Q. Which operating systems does Windows AntiSpyware (Beta) support?
A. Windows AntiSpyware (Beta) supports Windows 2000, Windows XP, and Windows Server? 2003.

Q. How much does Windows AntiSpyware (Beta) cost?
A. You can download the beta version of the anti-spyware software at no charge.

Q. Can I order Windows AntiSpyware (Beta) on CD-ROM?
A. The beta version of the software will not be available on CD-ROM.

Q. Do I need to register Windows AntiSpyware (Beta)?
A. No. The beta release of this software will not require registration.

Q. Will the Windows AntiSpyware (Beta) software require customers to participate in the Windows Genuine Advantage program?
A. Customers will be invited to participate in the program, but they will be able to get the beta software even if they choose not to participate. Get more information about the Windows Genuine Advantage program.

Q. What should I do if I have a technical question about Windows AntiSpyware (Beta)?
A. Although formal support is not offered for this beta, we have set up this forum to help get your questions answered.