Windows Live OneCare 2.0 beta – A more detailed look

With the launch of Windows Live OneCare 2.0 beta this week, we thought it was worth going through the program in some more detail to do it justice. It is more than a simple anti-virus program, providing both backup and home network support as well. Here’s a quick review showing why you should give it a try. (Click to enlarge screenshots)

Multi PC support

A Windows Live OneCare license allows you to run the software on 3 pcs, and version 2.0 takes this a step further by providing multi-pc support within the application. After designating your main PC as a “hub” you can add a further two PCs to create your own OneCare network, otherwise known as your OneCare circle. This then allows you to monitor the status of all 3 PCs from one central location and if necesary perform remote tasks such as activating the firewall or anti-virus protection, turning on automatic updates or initiating a backup. Multi-PC support also allows printers to be shared within the circle.

Centralised backup

OneCare 2.0 uses its multi-pc support to allow centralised backups to be performed, both to a networked drive or a USB drive attached to just one of the PCs. After configuring a backup device for your circle, any new PCs added to the circle will also backup to that location. As with most of OneCare, backup is a “set and forget” feature designed with the non-technical user in mind, though backups to CD and DVDs can also be performed if you so wish.

Online Photo backup

With digital photos being some of the most precious and irreplacable files on a modern PC, OneCare 2.0 beta also features an online photo backup service. Although this feature appears somewhat limited (photos only) it is worth remembering again that OneCare is being aimed at the non-technical market. These users want convienence and simplicity, which is what OneCare looks to provide.

The OneCare 2.0 beta reviewers guide sent out to the press confirmed what we had heard previously, that this premium backup feature will provide 10GB of secure storage, though at an additional cost. What was interesting is that this storage will be provided by Windows Live Folders, though presumably with none of the online sharing or access functionality. With client access to Folders being included in OneCare, perhaps this is a test of things to come?


OneCare has many other small but useful features, for example managing Microsoft Updates, securing wireless networks and defragmenting hard drives. Version 2.0 also features x64 support, though for Windows Vista only (not XP).


The best part about OneCare 2.0 beta is by far the multi-pc support. If you have multiple users and machines in your household and think Windows Home Server could be overkill, OneCare 2.0 could be the program you are looking for. Alternatively if you are looking for an easy to use stand-alone security program, OneCare does that very well too. Just click the link below and let us know what you think

OneCare 2.0 beta

(Ignore the activation requests, you can run it in trial mode for the duration of the beta.)