10 Ways Windows 7 Will Be More Secure than Vista

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2009-10-21 Print this article Print

News Analysis: With Windows 7's Oct. 22 release just one day away, the focus in the debate over whether the new OS is better than its predecessor is turning to security. Will it be more secure than Windows Vista? If the sheer number of security features is any indication, you bet.

Windows 7's Oct. 22 launch is just a day away. But whether or not it will be more secure than Windows Vista is still up for debate. Will it be as secure as Vista? Will it be more secure? At this point, the opinions are flying.

I believe that Windows 7 will be more secure than its predecessor. In some cases, Microsoft simply updated previous security features. In other cases, it added new features. But either way, Windows 7 stands to set a new benchmark for Windows security.

Here's why:

1. User Account Control

When Vista launched, User Account Control was annoying and, based on most estimates, not all that helpful. It certainly helped limit spyware applications from launching, but "click fatigue"-users clicking on warnings without reading them because they popped up so often-caused more security problems than Microsoft bargained for. In Windows 7, User Account Control isn't so annoying. It's also more intelligent. That can only mean one thing: better security.

2. Backup focus

In previous versions of Windows, Microsoft didn't spend nearly enough time reminding users to back up data. It also failed to point out how important backing up data is when security issues do arise. In Windows 7, a backup tool is placed prominently in the Action Center, making it a nice reminder to folks that backing up a computer really is part of keeping data secure.

3. BitLocker

Although it's only available in high-end versions of the software, Windows 7 now features a significantly improved drive-encryption tool called BitLocker. The feature encrypts the user's hard drive, making it inaccessible without proper credentials. It's a feature that's available from free, third-party tools, but having it running natively in Windows is an added bonus.

4. Let's see your fingerprint

Although some computers running Vista featured biometric technology, all of the drivers and support applications were delivered by the third-party developer. In Windows 7, Microsoft has added biometric support, allowing computers with biometric support to work without the need for third-party software. It's a major security advancement. A Windows PC is typically more secure with biometrics. At the same time, Windows 7's biometrics feature means there will be fewer third-party applications running in the environment. The fewer the third-party apps, the greater the chance of improving security. Security is still very much a numbers game.

Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Gearlog.com. Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for CNET.com, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at http://twitter.com/donreisinger.

Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters

Rocket Fuel