Microsoft is readying a beta for the next version of its Security Essentials anti-malware tool, which promises user interface tweaks, performance improvements and automatic virus removal.
The software giant announced in a Technet blog posting that the beta programme for the Security Essentials update is now open for registration.
While the beta will be restricted at first, Microsoft said it expects it to be available to the general public by the end of the year.
Security Essentials is a free download, designed to protect individual users against malware, but last year Microsoft also made it available free of charge to small companies with up to 10 PCs.
Although Security Essentials is designed to impact as little on system performance as possible, Microsoft said the updated version includes many performance improvements to reduce this even further.
Another new feature is automatic malware remediation, meaning that Security Essentials will automatically deal with high-impact malware infections instead of waiting for user confirmation.
Beta testers can also expect to see a new, simplified user interface, and an updated engine with enhanced detection and cleanup capabilities.
The ability to deal with advanced malware risks is particularly pertinent after security specialist McAfee announced that new malware variants are set to surpass 75 million by the end of the year.
Cotton seedling freezes to death as Chang'e-4 shuts down for the Moon's 14-day lunar night
Fortnite easily out-earns PUBG, Assassin's Creed Odyssey and Red Dead Redemption 2 in 2018
Meteor showers as a service will be visible for about 100 kilometres in all directions
Saturn's rings only formed in the past 100 million years, suggests analysis of Cassini space probe data
New findings contradict conventional belief that Saturn's rings were formed along with the planet about 4.5 billion years ago