Windows Defender is Microsoft’s antispyware program – highly recommended for all computers running Windows XP.

Windows Live OneCare is supposed to take over operation of Windows Defender, but it doesn’t thoroughly integrate it – Windows Defender is still a separate service with a separate presence on the Start menu.

For some reason, an update to Windows Defender is not being reported or installed by Windows Live OneCare. Instead, the Windows Defender icon (a little castle) appears in the lower right corner with an exclamation point, and the Defender program advises that there’s an update available. Even more confusing, the update does not have a new name – it continues to be “Windows Defender Beta 2.” There’s no visible change when the update is installed, and after installation the program gives confusing feedback about the status of system scans and spyware definitions.

Let me clear it up for you.

  • If you see the Windows Defender icon, click on it.
  • If it wants you to download a new version of the program, do it (take all the defaults and do a “complete” installation).
  • After installing the new version, leave it alone even if the little icon persists – it will feel better by the next day.
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