Users shying from OneCare firewall

Microsoft officials have been trying to figure out what OneCare users' beef is with the beta's firewall, company technicians said this week.

The Windows OneCare team said on its weblog that they have "noticed a slight increase in the number of people turning off their firewalls, with a corresponding decrease in the number of green (safe) machines." After noticing the trend, team members came up with four reasons PC users might be disabling the firewall.

Software engineers believe that users either do not think a software firewall is necessary or do not like the program's pop-up notifications. One of the program's applications could also have failed to install with the firewall turned on or failed to work with the firewall turned on, the OneCare team said in a Tuesday entry on its weblog.

The team encouraged PC users to endure the pop-ups until they become less frequent.

"For most applications, the pop-ups will either go away or diminish over time, as we validate the health or authenticity of the application," said the One Care team. "For the other problems, you may continue to see pop-ups; we'll keep working to minimize these, but we strongly encourage you to keep your firewall on in the meantime, since the cost-benefit should be well worth it."

The blog entry also informed readers that Microsoft is continuing to improve the firewall.

"We are constantly updating our firewall policy, and continue to make improvements to the Windows OneCare experience as it relates to application compatibility, so if you had a problem at one point that couldn't be solved, it may be fixed already," the blog read.

Microsoft announced OneCare to the public last spring, promising real-time antivirus and managed firewall security, back-up and restore capabilities and PC maintenance tools.

Some antivirus companies disparaged the release, saying Microsoft should work on providing safe software before issuing OneCare.

At the time of its release, a Microsoft spokesperson described OneCare as "a comprehensive, automatic and self-updating PC care/health service that continually manages vital computer tasks so consumers don't have to worry about protecting and maintaining their computers."

More than two years ago, Microsoft bought its first antivirus technology from Romanian developer GeCad Software. The company has since acquired Giant and Sybari.

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