BusinessWeek: Vista: Slow and Dangerous

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By: switchtoamac at: 12:02 PM on March 19, 2007 | Comments (0)
BusinessWeek, a well respected business centric magazine based in the United States is out with a far from stellar review of Microsoft Windows Vista.  In his article, Stephen H. Wildstrom starts by saying:

"The security program in Microsoft's new version of Windows is so annoying you're likely to turn it off. And that's risky"

Wildstrom explains his frustrations, irritations, and pains as he used Vista.  What I found interesting is that he became more annoyed with Vista the more he used it.  a few key quotes from Wildstrom:

"In the case of Microsoft's Windows Vista, flaws that I thought would grow less annoying with extended use have actually become more troublesome."

"Most of the time I spent testing Vista was with sluggish pre-release versions. I expected things to improve when I ran the finished software on PCs configured for the new Windows version. I now realize that Vista really is slow unless you throw a lot of hardware at it. Microsoft (MSFT) claims it will run with 512 megabytes of memory. I had recommended a minimum of a gigabyte, but 2 GB is more like it if you want snappy performance. This is especially true if you're also running resource-hungry Microsoft Office 2007."

Wildstrom then goes on to discuss the Vista User Account Control (UAC) feature.  UAC is supposed to improve Windows security and protect it from malicious programs.  UAC implements two general user account types:

  • Standard
  • Administrator

Wildstrom was clearly irritated by UAC and made the following comments:

"UAC, satirized in an Apple (AAPL) ad as a security guy who constantly interrupts a conversation, appears as a pop-up asking permission before Windows will do a number of things: change system settings, install programs, or update antivirus software. UAC may well be necessary to block malicious programs from secretly installing themselves or hijacking your browser settings. But Microsoft has designed it to drive you nuts."

"UAC is such a nag that many folks will just turn it off, which Microsoft has made quite easy to do. Disabling UAC is especially tempting if you have set up limited accounts for your children that let you restrict the sort of Web sites they can visit, the programs they can run, and the amount of time they can spend on the computer. With limited accounts, the kids will have to find a parent whenever a UAC window pops up. But if you give them unlimited accounts to deal with UAC requests, they can undo any restrictions."

Vista without UAC and XP comparison.
Wildstrom goes on to cite a study performed by Symantec to demonstrate that when UAC is disabled, Vista is very weak from a security standpoint and then cites Mac OS X security as a counter example:

"Unfortunately, turning off UAC severely weakens Vista's defenses. In a study of Vista security, Symantec researcher Orlando Padilla found that without UAC, Vista's resistance to hostile software was similar to that of Windows XP. Before Vista, Windows promiscuously let programs install new software and make system changes without any notice to the user. UAC goes way too far the other way, requiring intervention for many innocent actions. The version of UAC in Mac OS X works much better, rarely popping up except during a software installation or upgrade."

A highly recommend read that can be found at BusinessWeek.

Switch To A Mac Commentary
If your in the market for a new PC or are looking to free your computing experience from headaches leave Windows and switch to a Mac.  You'll be more productive as you finally enjoy using a computer.  The choice is up to you.

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