Dogfooding: Windows Live OneCare 2.0 beta

One of the 'perks' at Microsoft is the ability to dogfood things - i.e. installing every piece of alpha, beta, gamma and whatnot version of software that interests you. And then observing if your laptop still boots, or not.

I was asked recently "What's a good antivirus/antispyware software for a small company?". My obvious answer, which came out in 2 seconds, was of course "Forefront products!", but remembering this company had mostly laptops, I chose to recommend/insinuate that Windows Live OneCare 2.0 (http://get.live.com/) might be worth looking at. I've had the habit of skipping most of Microsoft's consumer products because I don't have the need for them personally.

Installation of OneCare 2.0 beta is fairly straightforward - setup -> next -> next -> restart. Since I already had another antivirus on my laptop I disabled that before restarting - just to avoid any additional problems.

After reboot OneCare shows a panel with a risk-factor of "good". Great!

Next, one needs to set up subscription - pay something to get updates. Long story short, I'm not only $49,95 poorer but my subscription doesn't work. It's good that the billing process works, yet I didn't receive the key to actually activate my subscription.

Bypassing this slight annoyance, next I need to connect my OneCare to other PC's in my circle. Obviously since I'm running a beta software I don't need to connect this anywhere - and I couldn't find a way to disable the nagging about connecting this machine URGENTLY to my OneCare circle. No thanks.

Finally, I've got the third urgent (!) message of backing up my PC. Since my subscription is not valid (yet, anyway) I can't use online backup. I do however have a 2 GB memory stick (with a fancy Vista-sticker, which makes it faster) that I tried to use as a backup media. After carefully selecting which files to backup, I get "Unknown error" when trying to schedule or initiate the backup.

I do have protection now, but with 3 red warnings throughout the OneCare console, and "YOU ARE AT RISK" everywhere. I guess I'm still not ready for consumer products.