Channel Insider content and product recommendations are editorially independent. We may make money when you click on links to our partners. Learn More.

Microsoft has tweaked its Windows Live OneCare self-updating PC care service to better meet the needs of small user group environments.

Windows Live OneCare consists of a set of security and performance tools, all managed by a central console. Security features include anti-virus, anti-spyware and firewall feature with automatic updates. Performance tools include backup and restore and a tune-up feature that handles routine maintenance of all PCs on the small network. A “health meter”—essentially a dashboard—monitors each computer’s protection level and health, along with how to fix problems.

“Small business owners know they need to protect and maintain PCs that help them run their businesses, but they typically have no IT resources and very little time to spare,” said Larry Brennan, lead product manager for Windows Live.

Although the software was useful before (Version 1 was released in May of 2006), a host of new features make it much more useful for small multi-PC environments. For example, many of the PC performance tuning and optimization features, such as proactive fixes and recommendations for PC help, are new. Also new is centralized backup for multiple local networked PCs, multi-PC management and monitoring, an automatic printer-sharing configuration, one-click issue reporting and resolution across the network, and Wi-Fi connection security.

These solutions have long been available for enterprises of about 50 employees or more and single users; this is the first time a vendor has seriously addressed the needs of groups of about 10 PCs or less, said Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group of San Jose, Calif.

“One issue of particular concern to small businesses is data backup,” Brennan said. “With business-critical information stored on virtually every PC, Windows Live OneCare makes it much easier to do regular backups.”

Read the full story on Microsoft Monitoring and Management for the Middle