[Update for people finding this post through web searches: the anti-virus tool has been released as the Microsoft Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool (KB890830). You can use that link to download it directly, but really you should be using Windows Update so that you get an automatic update to the tool every month!]

In case you were hiding under a rock today, Microsoft released a beta of an anti-spyware tool based on the GIANT AntiSpyware codebase*. What seems to have been lost in all the general noise** is the other announcement, the one about our promise of regularly updated virus-removal tools. Rod Trent is the only guy I read who’s noticed the press release:

The new Microsoft Windows malicious software removal tool consolidates [our existing removal tools for Blaster, MyDoom, and Download.Ject] into a single solution. The tool will be updated on the second Tuesday of each month as part of Microsoft's monthly software security update process to respond to new viruses, worms and variants.

The Microsoft Windows malicious software removal tool will be offered in the following ways:

  • As a high-priority update through Windows Update and Auto Update.
  • Through a simple, online interface.
  • For larger corporate customers, a download through the Microsoft Download Center.

Summarizing the rest of the press release:

  • It’s free
  • The first release will be next Tuesday

Oh, and the anti-spyware beta is well worth checking out – I’ve been running it for a couple of weeks. There are still plenty of fit-and-finish issues (I’ve submitted half a dozen bugs, mostly related to non-standard Windows controls and some bits that weren’t rebranded), but the core functionality is all there. Grab it from the official Microsoft Windows AntiSpyware page, where you can also find a FAQ, a list of Known Issues with the beta, and pointers to (shock horror!) newsgroups where you can get support.

*Well, technically it hit the servers last night, and several enterprising folks found the bits before the “official” news release at 9 a.m. this morning. Ahhh, what would we do without rabid fanboys? :-)

**I believe Michael Swanson was the first on blogs.msdn.com to post about it, and gives an excellent summary of the anti-spyware tool.