Microsoft has launched a beta version for the public to test of its new anti-virus software package that when launched will challenge market leaders Symantec and McAfee.

Called OneCare Live, promises to be built specifically for people who don't have the time or technical expertise necessary to secure and manage a computer on a daily basis. It is a comprehensive PC health service that goes beyond security to take an integrated approach to help protect and care for your computer.

"Windows OneCare is the next major advance in our ongoing efforts to help keep consumers' Windows-based PCs 'healthy' in a way that's simple and as worry-free as possible for them", said Ryan Hamlin, general manager of the Technology Care and Safety Group at Microsoft.

Microsoft is now accepting nominations for the beta program in the United States.

Microsoft warned that if demand for the service is too high, it may still restrict entry so as to maintain the quality of the service.

The service, which will eventually be a paid for subscription service will be free to begin with according to one post on the company's blog.