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  Category: Articles » Technology » Computer Software » Article

Microsoft's Windows Vista

By Vinay Choubey

Windows Vista is the next version of Windows for clients and servers. With the client version expected in 2006 for businesses and 2007 for consumers and the server version in 2007, Vista adds numerous features, including improved security and advanced multimedia capabilities. Vista also includes Trustworthy Computing (Palladium) and greater support for digital rights management. PCs running Vista require more memory than Windows XP. At least 1GB is recommended, with 2GB being a safer bet.

Security and safety features of Windows Vista
There are a number of security and safety settings of Windows Vista. Internally, Microsoft adopted a "Security Development Lifecycle" with the underlying ethos of, "Secure by design, secure by default, secure in deployment". New code for Windows Vista was developed with the SDL methodology, and all existing code was reviewed and refactored to improve security. A number of specific improvements have been made:

• Windows Resource Protection prevents "potentially damaging system configuration changes", by preventing change to system files and settings by any process other than Windows Installer. Also changes to registry by unauthorized software are blocked.

• Protected-Mode IE: Internet Explorer runs in a separate, low-privilege process, protecting the user from malicious content and security vulnerabilities, even in ActiveX controls.

• Windows Firewall has been upgraded to support outbound packet filtering and full IPv6 support. A new MMC-based interface has been introduced which offers much more advanced control over the firewall.

• Session 0 Isolation: Previous versions of Windows ran System services in the same login session as the locally logged-in user (Session 0). In Windows Vista, Session 0 is now reserved for these services, and all interactive logins are done in other sessions. This is intended to help mitigate a class of exploits of the Windows message-passing system, known as Shatter attacks.

• BitLocker Drive Encryption. Formerly known as "Secure Startup", this software utilizes a Trusted Platform Module to improve PC security. It ensures that the PC running Windows Vista starts in a known-good state, and it also protects data from unauthorized access through full volume encryption. Data on the volume is encrypted with a Full Volume Encryption Key (FVEK), which is further encrypted with a Volume Master Key (VMK) and stored on the disk itself.

• Windows Vista can use Smart Cards or Smart Card/Password combo for user authentication.

• Windows Vista can use smart cards to store Encrypting File System (EFS) keys. This makes sure that encrypted files are accessible only as long as the smart card is physically available.

Drawbacks of Windows Vista:

• If you install Windows Vista and any other operating system on a computer, you must install Windows Vista on a separate partition. Installing Windows Vista on a separate partition ensures that it will not overwrite files used by the other operating system.

• The drawback is that Windows Vista comes with two OpenType Khmer fonts, Daunpenh and Moolboran. Those fonts have small characters, which makes it hard to view Khmer text. This problem can be fixed by installing Khmer OS fonts. After Khmer OS fonts are installed, Khmer text will display nicely on Firefox.

• Another problem would be the Keyboard layout. Khmer Keyboard layout on Windows Vista (layout attached) is not the same as Keyboard Driver from, which I think many people are used to.

Find and Use Information
The success of a business depends on the success of its people. Making your employees more productive and facilitating communication is the main reason you invest in Information Technology. Yet, with most tools today, it is difficult for employees to quickly find the information they need and leverage information technology to its full potential. Windows Vista is designed as a People-Ready solution so they can easily find and use information.

• The fast, integrated desktop search in Windows Vista helps make it easier for users to find the information they need, even if it is on a shared drive or other network resource. Windows Vista Desktop Search is integrated throughout the operating system—in the start menu, control panel, and their document folders making it easy to find the information they are looking for. Users can also tag a file with "metadata" to indicate that it belongs to a certain project or other category, making it easier to search, filter and organize their files.

• Once the user has entered the search information, Windows Vista helps make it easier to identify the right data by displaying high-resolution thumbnails of the content. Users can dynamically adjust the size of these thumbnails to make them large enough for users to know whether they've found the right document without opening it. The user can then store the search results in a "search folder" to be recalled for later use.

• Windows Vista helps make users more productive managing online information as well. With tabbed browsing in Internet Explorer 7, users can visually scroll to the right page. Web page printing is also improved so you can capture all of the information, without cutting off part of the page.

For more details on Windows Vista visit and
About the Author
Vinay Choubey
Content Writer

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