Users interested in trying out the beta can officially register at the sign-up page
. A Microsoft Live account is required, and the company promises to send out e-mails when the beta is available to download.
The number of initial beta testers required will be limited, according to a recent Microsoft blog
. But the company expects to release the beta to the general public by year's end.
Microsoft is touting several new features in Security Essential's next release, including a simpler interface, better performance, and savvier detection and cleanup features. The new version will also be able to automatically remove severe malware infections without bothering the user.