Updating Windows Defender Beta 2 using WSUS

Last year I blogged that Microsoft were pushing updates to their Windows AntiSpyware Beta, to extend the expiry date past the end of July 2005. Since then, there have been a number of updates (including renaming the product to Windows Defender) and even though Windows Defender is included in recent Windows Vista builds, my XP clients have still been running Windows AntiSpyware Beta v1.0.701 (which expires at the end of July 2006).

That started to change tonight, when one of my XP machines updated itself to Windows Defender Beta 2, and although the product is now at v1.1.1347 (engine v1.1.1303.0), the definitions went backwards from update 5841 (5 May 2006) to a new definition numbering scheme (v1.0.0.0), dated 25 January 2006. Strangely, checking for updates reported that there were no updates available for download.

Microsoft knowledge base article 915105 describes an issue with Defender does not download updates but the resolution didn’t work for me; however, I did discover that Windows server update services (WSUS) now supports Windows Defender (Microsoft knowledge base article 915597 has more details of the update delivery mechanism).

After enabling Windows Defender updates in WSUS and synchronising, I found that there were three definition updates waiting for me to approve – v1.14.1408.8 (25 April 2006), v1.14.1410.10 (27 April 2006) and v1.14.1436.4 (3 May 2006). A few minutes later, checking for updates resulted in a successful download from WSUS.

Windows Defender seems to be in an extraordinarily long beta program (considering the original Giant Company product that Microsoft bought was so well regarded), but it seems pretty solid to me. Let’s hope that the US DOJ and the EU don’t force Microsoft to unbundle important security features like this from Windows.

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