Security, Safety and Search
Top of the list is "unrivalled" security and safety, with the Longhorn development team focused on doing the best possible job in that space. "I think it will be appreciated," he said, pointing out the firewall and other changes that were visible in Windows XP Service Pack 2. According to Allchin, Microsoft is doing a "significant, significant" amount of work on security in Longhorn as well, which includes an outward-bound firewall in addition to an inbound one, and the ability to have a filter on it."If you have a laptop and you lose it or leave it in a taxicab, no one will be able to boot something else and sneak around and try to find out what was on your machine. So its basically whole-volume encryption and the ability to lock the hardware to the software," he said. Click here to read more about NGSCB, originally code-named Palladium, the built-in Windows security system that will appear in Microsofts upcoming Longhorn OS. On the safety front, most users today run as administrators. "We are changing thatusers will be running as standard users, and in particular, with Internet Explorer, they can run that even in a lower privilege, so they can contain when they are browsing on the Internet versus on the intranet and can have more assurances they are not going to have bad things leak over," he said. On the mobility front there are also many new features, from Secure Startup to auxiliary displaysin which users can see calendars and other items when the machine is "pseudo-shut off"to the reworked client-side caching, about which Allchin said, "We have done a very good job in that regard." Longhorn will also move the concept of "search" forward, toward something Allchin calls "Visualize and Organize."
Microsoft is also working on reducing the operational cost of the system. While the onus for this will be on Microsoft to prove, Allchin said he felt this release of Longhorn included enough features that Microsoft will be able to show where these cost savings would come from.
Corporate and enterprise users will benefit from features like the massive reduction of images needing maintenance, as well as from being able to manipulate those images offline. A new event system will let users track what is going on in the system, Allchin said, while there will be a dramatic reduction in the number of reboots required when systems are updated. Add hot patching into the mix and these features, and many others, when taken together "will be consequential," Allchin said.
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Also included will be the first part of its NGSCB (Next-Generation Secure Computing Base) vision, which it is calling Secure Startup.