The upcoming update to Windows Live OneCare version 1.5 is going to have one unexpected wrinkle – the kind that makes people feel confused and overwhelmed.

It starts with a wonderful advance in OneCare. In the new version, OneCare completely integrates protection against viruses, adware and spyware, all covered by the same program, with a consistent presentation onscreen. There’s no more need for Windows Defender to be installed as a separate program. Frankly it always should have been that way but let’s give them credit for getting it right at long last.

Now I was completely unaware of that until today when I saw it buried in the blog of a OneCare designer – I’ve been haunting the OneCare-related web sites and forums and hadn’t seen any mention of this. But: Okay! Great! Kudos all around!

The maddening part is the description of your experience when OneCare is updated to the new version later this month.

“If Windows Defender is installed on a machine and then OneCare v1.5 is installed afterward, by default the installation will disable Windows Defender. Windows Defender will then display a dialog indicating that it has been disabled, and asking if the user wants to turn it on again. When you are installing OneCare v1.5 you should close this dialog without re-enabling Defender.”

Can you see it coming? You sit down at your computer one morning and the first thing you see is a notice that Windows Defender has been disabled – do you want to turn it on? Your instinctive response is, hell, yes, that’s your adware/spyware program, of course you want to turn it on!

Which would be wrong.

“OneCare intentionally disables Defender because it can cause system instability to have both running at the same time, and since OneCare is a superset of Defender, there is no reason you would need both of them running.”

Maybe the OneCare team will find some way to make this incredibly obvious by January 30, because otherwise I’m going to be wearily answering too many calls from people who can’t figure out why Windows Defender is turned off.

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