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Windows Vista and XP Head To Head 364

Posted by kdawson
from the who's-the-fairest-of-them-all dept.
thefickler sends in an article comparing Windows Vista and Windows XP in the areas of security, home entertainment, GUI, parental controls, and networking. The author clearly believes that Vista wins across these categories.
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Windows Vista and XP Head To Head

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  • Well then, (Score:5, Funny)

    by megrims (839585) on Sunday December 03, 2006 @01:47AM (#17086758)
    I guess it's time for a new PC. I don't know that I can live without IE 7's new 'anti-phishing' filter.
    • Re:Well then, (Score:5, Informative)

      by Osty (16825) on Sunday December 03, 2006 @02:03AM (#17086838)

      I guess it's time for a new PC. I don't know that I can live without IE 7's new 'anti-phishing' filter.

      While I'm sure you're being facetious, you do realize that IE7 is available for XP and has the anti-phishing feature, right? If you still want to stick with IE6 (or have to, like if you're running Win2k), you can get the same anti-phishing protection from the Windows Live Toolbar [live.com]. It's all the same technology, backed by the same store of anti-phishing data.

      • by Hal_Porter (817932) on Sunday December 03, 2006 @04:38AM (#17087524)
        You should install the lord_pwnalot toolbar, that protects you against spyware and adware too.
        • Re:Well then, (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Osty (16825) on Sunday December 03, 2006 @04:55AM (#17087600)

          You should install the lord_pwnalot toolbar, that protects you against spyware and adware too.

          I agree with the sentiment -- toolbars are evil. However, there are some toolbars that are trustworthy. Microsoft, Google, and Yahoo are the immediate examples that come to mind, and you only need one of those. I wouldn't install any others unless I was intimately familiar with them (either written by me, or open source so that I can inspect the code and make my own changes if I so desire).

          The thing I don't really get is why toolbars are so pervasive. IE has an extensibility model just like Firefox and you can add quite a few nice features without having to expose a toolbar. For example, I wrote myself a pop-up blocker for IE as a non-toolbar BHO something like 6 years ago. Now you can't get a pop-up blocker without also getting a space-consuming toolbar in the process, and the pop-up blocking functionality on the toolbar is disabled if the toolbar isn't visible -- that's just dumb. Firefox has a rich add-on community that doesn't revolve around toolbars. IE could have the same type of community, but unfortunately everything useful seems to be a toolbar these days even if there's no reason to implement it that way.

          • by The Raven (30575) on Sunday December 03, 2006 @02:10PM (#17090830) Homepage
            First, understand rule 1: If it's not visible, then the user won't even know they have it.

            Rule 2: If it's not a toolbar, the user won't be able to operate it.

            Now, mostly those rules are facetious... but they both hold a grain of truth. Users look at the toolbar at the top when they want to do things. Most don't click menus. Most don't realize that buttons in the status bar can be clickable. The only active part of the screen as far as they're concerned are the buttons in the toolbar.

            And most users really don't know the software they have on their computer unless their computer tells them, very visibly, over and over. I'd say the percentage of adult users that can use an application that's not in the toolbar, without assistance or training, is under 20%. There are a LOT of clueless adult Internet users out there, they're the majority now, and they're a HUGE market.

            That's why software makers do Toolbars, they want that market.

            Raven
  • It better. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Somatic (888514) on Sunday December 03, 2006 @01:49AM (#17086768) Journal
    It better be better. That's what upgrades and new releases are for.

    Of course, why the new system requirements are so ridiculously higher than XP is something I'm still waiting on a good answer for. I'm sticking with XP until I'm absolutely forced to upgrade in 5 years or so because nothing has XP support anymore. I mean, give me a break. There is no earthly reason an OS should bloat so massively in versions that are only a few years apart. It's an OS, not Doom 3.

    • Re: (Score:2, Redundant)

      by The MAZZTer (911996)

      I'm thinking since they moved from CD to DVD they were like "Oh hey, we can fit 4gb more data on here now!" and thus here we are.

      But I totally agree with your main point... it's the SAME PRODUCT, just a newer version, Vista had BETTER be better.

    • Re:It better. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by westyvw (653833) on Sunday December 03, 2006 @03:02AM (#17087126)
      I am really surprised by the requirements too. I have a laptop, about 5 years old, P3 1st gen Nvidia Go, and I have no problem running GLX and Beryl with KDE. So I have all the eye candy of vista (more actually, and more configurable) with more features and functions on the desktop and I am running on 5 year old hardware, why cant vista? Something just isn't right......

    • Re:It better. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by techno-vampire (666512) on Sunday December 03, 2006 @03:18AM (#17087188) Homepage
      There is no earthly reason an OS should bloat so massively in versions that are only a few years apart.


      It wasn't that many years ago people were saying the same thing about XP as compared to Win98. Every new version of Windows is considered bloated compared to the previous one.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Antiocheian (859870)
        > Every new version of Windows is considered bloated compared to the previous one

        With one exception: MS DOS 5 (which was leaner than DOS 4) and Windows 2000 Server. Win2k, with the exception of Internet Explorer, was quite lean.

        In fact, ~is~ quite lean. You can still use it for every application that runs on XP. The only deficiencies (from my point of view) is the slower boot and hibernation, lack of Cleartype no software network bridges.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      "why the new system requirements are so ridiculously higher than XP is something I'm still waiting on a good answer for"

      Actually the minimum sytem requirements are pretty low, and I could run it on my over 6 year old laptop. It's just the Aero interface that requires all the extra hardware. Minimum requirements [microsoft.com] 800MHz CPU, 512 MB RAM, SVGA, 20GB HD with 15 GB free, CD-rom drive.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by arose (644256)
        You trust Microsoft's minimum requirements? Ever run Windows 95 on a 386?
    • Re:It better. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Antique Geekmeister (740220) on Sunday December 03, 2006 @03:54AM (#17087362)
      Stapling security on after product release always means a lot less efficient code, and a lot of hand-written checks to fix what should never have been done without breaking advertised features. Couple this with the corporate desire for integral DRM, to authorize software and hardware access against Microsoft's Trusted Computing initiative, and you need considerably faster hardware to support streaming access to video and audio media with the computationally expensive DRMware in the way.

      All other feature reasons aside, that's a compelling reason for Microsoft to demand more CPU and bandwidth in your hardware to run Vista.
    • Re:It better. (Score:5, Informative)

      by Nightspirit (846159) on Sunday December 03, 2006 @04:49AM (#17087572)
      You can still change the windows theme to classic and it will run as fast as 2000 or xp. Only in aero mode does it require for some reason tons of ram and cpu power. Turning off the widgets helps too. Basically anything from the past 4 years should be able to run vista at least classic mode.

      The one benefit of Vista will be to stop manufacturers from putting crappy integrated graphics into laptops (even apple does this on the non-pro line).
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by lukas84 (912874)
        Nope. Intel will release DX10 compatible integrated graphic chipsets soon.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Mwongozi (176765)

        The one benefit of Vista will be to stop manufacturers from putting crappy integrated graphics into laptops (even apple does this on the non-pro line).

        I installed Vista on my non-pro MacBook and Glass works just fine. So the graphics may be "crappy" but they're not crappy enough. Personally, I'm glad the MacBook has integrated graphics - it improves the battery life signifcantly. If I wanted proper 3D hardware I would have bought a MacBook Pro - that's what they're for.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by cyber-vandal (148830)
        Which is a tad bizarre for a GUI that's supposed to be offloading a lot of the work to the graphics card.
  • by reporter (666905) on Sunday December 03, 2006 @01:52AM (#17086778) Homepage
    All the comparisons that I have seen involve installing Windows Vista and XP on a hardware configuration that is recommended for Vista.

    I wish to see a comparison for the benefit of millions of users who do not want to (or who cannot afford to) upgrade to new hardware. This comparison would involve installing Vista and XP on a hardware configuration that is the minimum configuration recommended for XP (yes, XP). To enhance the comparison, we should include RedHat Linux.

    • by redi99 (1034888) on Sunday December 03, 2006 @02:02AM (#17086830)
      keep in mind, at the end of installation, vista runs a performance benchmark against the hardware, and adjusts appearance settings accordingly... one can always turn off the aero interface. it's a brand new o/s, so it's not surprising that it requires fairly current hardware to run well. i mean even your average amd system nowadays runs a 3500+ 64 with a gig of ram and a graphics card more than adequate for vista's directx desktop. back when xp was released everyone was saying the same thing about it's requirements.
      • Not surprising?! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) on Sunday December 03, 2006 @02:28AM (#17086960)

        it's a brand new o/s, so it's not surprising that it requires fairly current hardware to run well.

        Erm... Yes, it is.

        An operating system is supposed to provide the low-level core of functionality necessary to run (and if necessary co-ordinate) other programs. Such functionality can be and has been written to run on systems with 1/1000th the processing power of today's multicore monsters.

        Of course, today the term "operating system" refers, at least in common usage, to some sort of bundle that includes a kernel, various support libraries for networking, GUI, and other such stuff, some sort of shell, a whole bunch of tools of varying degrees of usefulness, and a whole bunch of mostly half-baked and sub-standard applications. (This description applies, to my knowledge, to pretty much every major desktop "OS" currently available, from Windows to Linux distros via MacOS and various other UNIX platforms.)

        My current PC is now about four years old, but was a pretty high spec at that time. On this system, I can happily run full-blown applications for everything from editing high-res photos to playing games that do real-time 3D graphics pretty reasonably. Given this information, there is absolutely no reason whatsoever that any operating system should not run very comfortably using a tiny fraction of my system's resources, no matter how many bells and whistles it has.

        Now, according to Microsoft, my system just about meets the minimum standards to run the low-end versions of Vista, and isn't qualified to run the high-end versions for several reasons. I can only conclude from this that either Vista's code is poorly written and/or poorly organised, or that those higher-end versions of Vista are trying to do yet more things that are not really part of an operating system, and are probably better done by specialist standalone applications anyway. Either way, Vista is suffering from some serious bloat, and bloat means bugs, security flaws, performance problems and all the rest.

        So yes, even if it's a brand new OS, it's still of concern that it requires such impressive hardware specs to run well. In fact, it's a pretty damning indictment of the product, and doesn't so much imply as outright prove that it's going in the wrong direction.

        • by shmlco (594907)
          One could also look at it as the new OS's current hardware requirements are a "base" for future systems, since, if past performance is any guide, it will be another five years before MS releases Vista's successor.
        • by kjart (941720) on Sunday December 03, 2006 @03:40AM (#17087284)

          Given this information, there is absolutely no reason whatsoever that any operating system should not run very comfortably using a tiny fraction of my system's resources, no matter how many bells and whistles it has.

          That doesn't make any sense. The more bells and whistles you throw in, the more power you will need to run the OS - by definition. Look at games for example. Modern games look a hell of a lot better than games that were made 5-10 years ago. Do they require the same minimum hardware? Hell no. Should they? Of course not.

          Of course, it's another argument entirely if all the bells and whistles are worth it. The graphical improvements made in games have still resulted in some pretty terrible games. So, it's not a question of whether Vista should run with all the bells and whistles on 10 year old hardware (I'm not arguing that Vista is optimized by the way) - it's whether the hardware to run Vista with all the bells and whistles is worth it.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by bobcat7677 (561727)
            I'm still waiting to see these promised new bells and whistles in action. I have heard alot of talk about all the magical things that Vista is going to do for us, but so far have not seen one thing that XP wasn't capable of (though some features may have required 3rd party add-ons, but that is beside the point). And yes, I have installed RC2 and played with it and Aero. So far it appears to be nothing more then bloat for the sake of bloat and no real innovation. Maybe somebody will come up with somethin
          • by PopeRatzo (965947) on Sunday December 03, 2006 @08:34AM (#17088468) Homepage Journal
            What's amazing to me is that I've read many articles about Vista in the past weeks and I still haven't figured out if I want any of the "bells and whistles" it offers.

            I'm gonna lay out that kind of dough for translucent screens? I don't give a fig about translucent screens.

            The bottom line for me is that head to head on a given bit of hardware, it sounds like Vista performs WORSE than XP overall.

            For the first time in memory, I won't be upgrading my OS for a good long while. I know the University I work for won't be upgrading either.
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by CadetUmfer (858057)
          Microsoft's just doing their part to keep the PC hardware industry from stagnating.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by oddfox (685475)

          Given this information, there is absolutely no reason whatsoever that any operating system should not run very comfortably using a tiny fraction of my system's resources, no matter how many bells and whistles it has.

          When was the last time you ran the KDE Desktop Settings Wizard, by chance? Bells and whistles take computing power, it says so right in there and gives you a slider to illustrate the point, though it should be common sense that the more you have your OS doing at any given time, the more it's g

      • And I personally still say the same thing about XP's requirements. And ESPECIALLY about Vista's. Note that "minimum" requirements mean, in my experience, that sure, you could run it, but could you possibly want to? Sure, any computer less than about four years old probably CAN run Vista (though it may require a memory upgrade - many computers still only came with 256 until maybe a year or two ago). But would you want to? I personally have run Windows 2000 on relatively ancient machines - 400 or so MHz processors, I think 64M of RAM, and so on - and I think they're still running, somehow - but don't wish to repeat the experience. However they could run, was the primary point. Why can't Vista come even close to that? It's not the interface - it can still fall back to classic mode or whatever it is they call it now. There is no excuse for that requiring any more than a simple VGA-capable graphics card, either. Remember "Safe Mode"? Why can't it cut back so that all it's really running is a simple firewall (though without all the frivolous services, that shouldn't be necessary if the few that are system-critical are written properly) and whatever the user has started, let's say Internet Explorer and an old version of Word (again, requirements)? My parents own a computer that has been running Windows 98, with Office 97, for nearly 9 years now. It could use an upgrade to Win2k, certainly, but why not something with some obvious security features that earlier versions of Windows irresponsibly neglected, like the default non-privileged user in Vista?

        I don't want to make this thread even more off-topic, but I think that Microsoft should consider how Linux handles this (though it's probably too late to implement it): abstract everything. Got a computer that can't handle the newest version of, say, KDE or Gnome? Fine, try XFCE. Or Fluxbox, or... Same underlying code to draw stuff. With AIGLX and nVidia's AIGLX-type extensions, even Compiz and Beryl (think Aero Glass with more toys) don't need separate code. Can't handle Aero Glass? Fine, try Aero. Can't handle Aero? Try Classic mode. Miracle that your computer still runs at all? Disable some eye candy in Classic. And frankly, if the GUI in its most stripped-down form can't run on the same spec hardware that runs Windows 98 perfectly, maybe the code needs to be cleaned up. I'm not a software engineer, I just yell at bad ones. Look, the OS I run can run a box that acts as a home router on hardware that costs literally $20 US. Vista can't even be bought for that much money. And the hardware it requires (at a minimum) runs probably $80 used. Why bother even including ICS anymore?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by UnknowingFool (672806)

        i mean even your average amd system nowadays runs a 3500+ 64 with a gig of ram and a graphics card more than adequate for vista's directx desktop.

        That really depends on how you define average doesn't. Your average gamer has a 3500+ 64. Your average grandparent has a PIII with 256MB. Your average housewife might have a P4 2.4 with 512MB. I agree with the original point. The benchmark of Vista was with the really high end hardware. Not high end compared to new hardware but high end compared to what mos

    • Vista works fine on that config .. about the same as XP. Some things are a bit faster, some a bit slower, overall it's about the same.

      This must be the shortest review I've ever written ;)

    • Insightful? If you're going to test Vista on a hardware configuration that doesn't meet its system requirements, why not test it on an iPod? The results would be equally useful. Don't forget the obligatory install of RedHat Linux on the iPod too (you know: "to enhance the comparison").
  • i agree (Score:4, Informative)

    by redi99 (1034888) on Sunday December 03, 2006 @01:57AM (#17086798)
    i've been using vista for about 3 weeks now. under heavy usage (i.e. running a bunch of apps, nntp downloading, unzipping some archives etc..) xp does seem speedier, but other than that, vista rocks. it's stable, great to look at, and easy to use. using ribbons in the address bar so that any folder along your path can be browsed is very handy. they've addressed little nagging issues , for example hitting f2 to rename a file highlights the filename but not the extension. the administrator account is turned off by default, defender runs automatically, defrags are set up on a weekly schedule by default, and the searching is blazing on indexed drives. games seem to run well, and all my devices were installed automatically during installation. the resource monitor is excellent, and running services are listed in the task manager along with processes and apps. i've managed to muck it up a few times installing software, but in all cases i was installing versions meant for xp, not vista, and each time booting the last known good config has gotten me right back. they've done a great job with this o/s.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 03, 2006 @02:08AM (#17086860)
      You screwed up your OS installing software and you consider that acceptable? Kernel extensions/drivers, okay, but applications should never mess up your OS to the point that you need to "boot to the last known good config". This is the whole point of an OS. Of course maybe you wrote ironically and I just missed it.
    • Re:i agree (Score:5, Insightful)

      by werewolf1031 (869837) on Sunday December 03, 2006 @02:10AM (#17086864)
      Wow, that all sounds pretty great. No, really, it does. But just one more thing: Try installing a new motherboard, and see what happens. G'head, humor us... we'll wait.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by redi99 (1034888)
        i assume you're referring to activation tied to hardware changes? a few days ago i popped a tv tuner in, and sure enough 'your hardware has changed, you need to re-activate vista'.. so i clicked activate and it reactivated just fine. i do agree that this business of tying activation to hardware profile is a bit stupid though.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by imemyself (757318)
          You know, I could understand if it were something as major as a different type of motherboard, but for something as minor as a f*cking TV tuner? Not only is that absolutely unnecessary, its absolutely pointless. I wonder how many changes it will take before you have to contact MS's support. Or is this a Technet copy (10 different activations IIRC)? Does anyone know what they'll do with VLK type licenses (or are doing I guess)?
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by midkay (984862)
        Honestly, run it through your mind - does it make ANY sense that installing a new motherboard even several times will put Windows out of order? Immediately I think about someone installing Vista on their current PC, upgrading their motherboard only to find it break the next day, replace it with a different model and have *that* one break a week later, and then pick out yet ANOTHER motherboard and install it. So at this point Vista's saying, "You can't re-activate me now, you've installed too many new parts"
      • by Konster (252488)
        ...same as XP in that regard, they changed the EULA.
    • Re:i agree (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 03, 2006 @02:32AM (#17086984)
      I'm sorry. I'm not trying to troll, but I see no compelling arguments for upgrading in what you've listed. You've said:

      xp does seem speedier, but other than that, vista rocks. it's stable, great to look at, and easy to use
      Stable is good; I find XP pretty stable too. But if "great to looks at means" it's slower than XP, I'm not interested. I either use my comptuer for work, in which case I want it fast, or for games, in which case I want an OS that takes as few system resources as possib.e

      the administrator account is turned off by default
      I'd count this as a non-issue. It's perfectly possible to make a non-admin account for most stuf under Windows XP too.

      defrags are set up on a weekly schedule by default
      Of course, this totally ignores the argument that defrags should rarely be necessary - certainly not once a week! - on "modern" filesystems (which appears to include just about every filesystem not invented by Microsoft).

      searching is blazing on indexed drives
      Ditto for Windows XP if you actually turn on the indexing service.

      Just about everything else is "spit 'n polish". It's true, this important for end users, and it's something that a lot of open source projects are often criticized for. But to me, this is far from a compelling reason to upgrade. If that were it, I'd say it tips the scales slightly in favour of upgrading. But then you have to balance these few nicities (most of which are possible with XP - the previous generation OS - with a little bit of configuration effort) against the massive increase in hardware requirements and draconian DRM. What it boils down to is that the "message" in every review I've seen of Windows Vista is basically that it does everything that Windows XP does, looks nicer, has higher hardware requirements, and imposes more restrictions on what you can do with your media. Is that it? Honestly, have I missed something? What's with all the hype?
      • by Konster (252488)
        No...Vista is so much better at search that is is amazing. Indexing and search on XP was bad in the very best case, on Vista it is Wow Factor x 10...and currently the only reason why I would choose Vista over XP, but then I tend to keep things in very ordered pilings of stock....which I would do anyway on any OS to simplify backups...but based upon search and search alone I would pick Vista over anything....but that alone, based upon how I keep data organized isn't a good reason to pick Vista over...anythin
      • Re:i agree (Score:5, Informative)

        by lukas84 (912874) on Sunday December 03, 2006 @04:39AM (#17087528) Homepage
        In my opinion, the most useful enhancements made to vista are "under the hood".

        * Much improved group policy support (Including MUCH better 802.1x and Wireless provisioning)
        * Improved networking support (Locations), Firewall settings based on location (XP had Domain/Not Domain, Vista has Domain/Home/Public)
        * UAC/Virtual Folders allow even businesses without IT support staff to run as non-admin
        * I18N. It sucked in XP. It sucked HARD in XP MUI. It works fine, and they have done a lot of work on it in Vista
        * Local Shadow Copies. I love it. Had them on servers since 2003 was out, always missed it locally
        * The search interface/new start menu. A good gradual improvement, no revolution
        * The new system control, a good gradual improvement

        I've been using Vista on my Desktop machine (3Ghz PIV, 2048MB, some DirectX 9 Nvidia Card) at work since early Betas (We're a microsoft partner), and switched i switched my laptop (P-M 1.7Ghz, 1024MB, some DirectX 8 ATI Card) to RTM as soon as it hit MSDN.

        It works okay on my laptop, albeit a bit slower. This was expected, and will probably buy a new laptop soon anyway (as the machine is already 2 years old).

        I can't say im impressed with vista. There are several, very good enhancements. They would've been impressing 2 years ago. Now? Not so much. Vista is a good step in the right direction, especially for companies and enterprises (I18N!). For home consumers? Not so much. The forced obsolecence with DirectX 10, meh. Most people will switch their OS at home when they buy a new machine. Hardcore gamers will earlier because of DX10.
    • ROFL (Score:3, Insightful)

      by melted (227442)
      >> highlights the filename but not the extension

      Another feature stolen from the Mac. Of course a lot of people have never used Macs (pity on them), so they'll never know that a ton of other things that Microsoft has "innovated" in Vista existed (sometimes for decades!) on the Mac.

      >> searching is blazing on indexed drives

      Compared to what? I find Vista built in search to be utterly lacking compared to, say, Copernic (PC) or Spotlight (on the Mac). I mean, they can't even rip off Spotlight properly
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by QuantumG (50515) *
        Which is one of the many reasons I hate Vista. Like MMORPG designers they blindly copy features from their competitors without actually thinking if those ideas are any good, make sense to their current customer base, etc. So we end up with features that make absolutely no sense on Windows because they're just pale imitations of the Mac.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jez9999 (618189)
      great to look at

      Am I really the only person who think translucent windows look *SHIT*? Not just a bit annoying, but truly *SHIT*. I've been viewing loads of screenshots (haven't actually installed it) trying to like them, but I just don't get the hype. I think they looks ugly and retarded; I don't want background crud coming through to mess up the windows on top. Although ribbons seem to look nice, the rest of the 'visual upgrades' are very tenuous.
  • Randomization? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Saxophonist (937341) on Sunday December 03, 2006 @01:59AM (#17086812)

    From the article:

    Windows also has a new 'randomization' layer, which slightly changes the memory configuration of every Vista machine to make it harder for co-ordinated attacks to affect scores of machines at the same time.

    Huh? What is this, and why would it make any difference whatsoever in preventing exploits?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I guess it means Vista is still afflicted with memory buffer overflows.
    • Re:Randomization? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Atlantis-Rising (857278) on Sunday December 03, 2006 @02:15AM (#17086886) Homepage
      I was at a Microsoft Vista technical review where they explained this as being an anti-buffer overflow attack; since the locations of the specific items within an assigned memory space are randomized, the chances of targeting a buffer overflow to a specific chunk of the program's assigned memory is drastically reduced.

      Wiki has it here, as Address Space Layout Radomization. [wikipedia.org]
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by newt0311 (973957)
        Wouldn't it be a better idea to um... prevent buffer overflows from happening in the first place. Yes I know that C doesn't make this easy but them OS writing was never easy to begin with. Having buffer overflows is itself an bad situation. having so many that you have to start randomizing memory allocation (and incur some overhead from that) is pretty sad...
      • by pallmall1 (882819)

        ... the locations of the specific items within an assigned memory space are randomized, ...

        I wonder if the "random" locations are generated in some manner that's related to the product activation key, or the hardware configuration.

        I really am curious about this now; this is a question and a not tin-foil hat theory. Address space layout randomization is probably a good idea for a system as widely used as Windows. If the seed used for generating the randomization was the product activation key or derive

        • According to the Microsoft Blog link on the Wiki page, it's randomly assigned at dll/exe lauch and can be one of any 256 combinations. I would presume the 256 random combinations are preassigned and just randomly picked...

      • specific items within an assigned memory space are randomized

        aka: security through obscurity.

        Seth
    • by fermion (181285)
      Ok, so code cannot be written that honors memory boundaries. But code can be written that randomizes where in memory pointers begins, so that there is no guarantee that This is in fact a clever solution, and does deserve a high five. But it also adds a level of complexity, and, depending on how it is implemented, the complexity may be too complex.

      So here are my questions. First, one assumes that this randomizer is turned off during debugging, and there is, therefore, some default locations. So, is t

      • by bit01 (644603)

        It shows that there is still some actual talent at MS,

        Why do you automatically assume this was developed at M$?

        The earliest direct reference I can find on the net is PaX [wikipedia.org] but there are many variations on the general technique of address space layout randomization [wikipedia.org] both before (on networks) and after [sunysb.edu].

    • by EvanED (569694)
      It goes a long way to eliminating what are called return-to-library (sometimes return-to-glibc) attacks. Wikipedia has an article, but I'm too lazy to link.

      Basically there are three things that you can do if there is a buffer overflow exploit waiting (not all are always possible):

      1. Overwrite other security-sensitive data, but let the control flow remain unaffected (read the paper "Non-Control-Data Attacks Are Realistic Threats" for a very interesting treatment of stuff along this line)
      2. Write a bunch of d
      • by EvanED (569694)
        Write a bunch of data into the buffer, overwriting the return address with existing code

        Sorry, this is a bit imprecise. I didn't say quite what I meant. This should say "overwriting the return address with the address of existing code"
    • by nathanh (1214)

      Windows also has a new 'randomization' layer, which slightly changes the memory configuration of every Vista machine to make it harder for co-ordinated attacks to affect scores of machines at the same time.

      Huh? What is this, and why would it make any difference whatsoever in preventing exploits?

      It means exploits can't hardwire an address and expect it to succeed. It's a common first-line defence against stack overflow attacks. Linux has the same thing.

  • by caitriona81 (1032126) <sdaugherty@MONETgmail.com minus painter> on Sunday December 03, 2006 @02:04AM (#17086844) Journal
    A new 'user account control' system tries to protect you from yourself, so you don't accidentally make changes to important system settings without being warned first. However pressing the 'ok' button lets you do whatever you want anyway, and experienced users will just be annoyed. What did I do? I turned it off completely and am not bothered by it anymore. You'll probably do the same, too.
    To me, this in and of itself demonstrates that the credibility of the author is lacking. There's a reason user account control is there, and it's not just to protect the user from themselves, it's also to protect the user from programs making system changes behind their back. Obviously, limited user accounts are much more secure, but user account control at least gives some chance at stopping spyware and other malware before it does serious harm, but only if the user's leave it turned on. To even suggest this in what's supposed to be a serious review is advising the reader to throw security out the window. Of course, that's what most user's will do, but still, its not something to almost recommend user's do.
  • by mpapet (761907) on Sunday December 03, 2006 @02:07AM (#17086856) Homepage
    Okay, besides the fact this looks like some dude skimming marketing spiel, let's hit the high points:

    Marketing Promise: Increased Security
    Some Dude's Findings: VISTA: Vista has a similar but improved firewall to Windows XP SP2, but anyone who is serious about their security will still replace it with a third party firewall or Internet security suite.

    Marketing Promise: Anti-phishing feature
    Some Dude's Findings: Both score 'pretty terrible'

    Marketing Promise: File system security
    Some Dude's Findings: However pressing the 'ok' button lets you do whatever you want anyway, and experienced users will just be annoyed. What did I do? I turned it off completely and am not bothered by it anymore.
    -That's increased security!

    Marketing Promise: Easy
    Some Dude's Findings: anyone, even without massive computing experience, can easily set up a wired or wireless network. ...?!

    Utter security failure. Plenty of work fixing broken windows. Forced upgrade with new hardware sales. It's a win-win all around!
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by lukas84 (912874)

      Some Dude's Findings: VISTA: Vista has a similar but improved firewall to Windows XP SP2, but anyone who is serious about their security will still replace it with a third party firewall or Internet security suite.

      The firewall in Vista has been much improved for GPO configuration, and this means that the rollout in a company is much easier. There simply is no need to use third party firewalls in XP SP2 OR Vista. Of course, many "power users" which only work on their own machine don't see this.

      Some Dude's Fi

  • by badfrog (45310) on Sunday December 03, 2006 @02:10AM (#17086868)
    Thanks Microsoft... When I want to change my IP address, burn a DVD, or open Mozilla, I want a wizard to make sure I'm doing everything correctly.

    I don't care if my OS has 3D icons or fancy clear windows... I want it to be out of the way, and just RUN THE PROGRAMS I WANT! That's the whole point of the OS. Not to take up 4 gig of hard drive space because Grandma wants to print pictures of her grandchildren. Stop hogging all my system RAM and let me choose my preferred programs to look at pictures, play MP3s, and watch videos- none of which come with your OS.
    • by DavidD_CA (750156) on Sunday December 03, 2006 @02:22AM (#17086922) Homepage

      When I want to change my IP address ... I want a wizard to make sure I'm doing everything correctly.
      You can change almost every network setting through command line or script if you learn the NETSH command from the shell.

      I don't care if my OS has 3D icons or fancy clear windows... I want it to be out of the way, and just RUN THE PROGRAMS I WANT!
      You can turn of nearly every feature of the new interface. In fact, when I booted Vista using my Active Directory profile, nearly all the eye candy was already turned off.

      Not to take up 4 gig of hard drive space because Grandma wants to print pictures of her grandchildren.
      That might be true for you, but for Grandma (and the rest of the world who doesn't read Slashdot) they DO want to print pictures of grandchildren and a wizard to help set them up with a network.

      ... let me choose my preferred programs to look at pictures, play MP3s, and watch videos- none of which come with your OS.
      When has Windows ever stopped you from running a preferred program via filetype? In fact, that feature has become easier to do with every new version of Windows. Not only did XP introduce the "Set Program Access and Defaults" menu, but to change the association of a filetype is as easy as right clicking on the document, choosing "Open With", and checking the box that says "Make this my Default".

      You assume that the way YOU want a computer is the way the rest of the world wants a computer. Likewise, you haven't even taken a moment to learn what XP or Vista can do for a power user, as demonstrated by your rant against features that can be turned off, easily changed, or accessed via command line.
    • by Gothmolly (148874)
      You've just confirmed Billy the Gates' new mantra "The PC is no longer a producer of information, but a consumer of information". You've let your PC become the new TV. As such, it is in the interests of any OS maker to tailor the OS to maximize THEIR profits and structure, rather than tailoring it to fit your needs.
  • VISTA: A great deal of concerted effort has gone into making Vista the easiest operating system to network with others, especially other Vista systems, so that anyone, even without massive computing experience, can easily set up a wired or wireless network.

    While that sounds positively delightful, does Mr Iemma really know what he is getting himself in for? To start with, the NSW Government has now decided it is going to be an Internet Service Provider to compete with publicly run companies.

    I was follo

  • Numerous mis-spelling and grammatical errors. Why should I trust them to assess an OS correctly?
  • Where's Vista versus e.g. OS X 10.4 or 10.5 [apple.com]?
  • Oh well... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by alshithead (981606) * on Sunday December 03, 2006 @02:50AM (#17087058)
    I'll take the karma hit for this I'm sure...but...MS has consistently improved on their operating systems. I'm not saying they are the best available, just that they have consistently improved. From my experience every new OS they have released has been an improvement over the previous (ME excepted). Just because they aren't Apple or a Linux flavor doesn't mean they are worthless. Keep in mind they are the major OS in use both for home and business and that they are TRYING to improve. If for nothing else, they should be applauded for their efforts.
    • One big area they need to improve on is in how well they play with others. Microsoft has a history of obscuring protocols and file formats so that only Microsoft can play. For example, will I be able to install Vista onto a spare partition on my hard drive without worrying if my MBR will be trashed, or do I have to do the install-windows-first thing yet again?

      If they improved in this one area, if they learned to play nice with other Operating Systems, they would not only be less hated in the IT communit
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        But it would cost them a lot of money, losing their "We have to run Windows, darn it!" monopoly base. Remember that they destroyed Netscape's business model when they bundled Internet Explorer and violated various HTML specs, and pulled similar stunts with their modifications of Kerberos. This discourages other software competitors, and that's a good business move for Microsoft, wven where it's illegal.

        The anti-trust fire is simply a cost of doing a highly profitable business for them: they've successfully
    • by killjoe (766577)
      So we should venerate them because they are trying? How long have they been trying with vista? You'd think that after all that they would have actually accomplished something.

      Lets face both linux and apple are improving at a faster rate then windows. Vista just hit the streets so there won't be anything new from MS for at least three to five years and in the mean time the competition will be continually improving. MS will be too busy suing open source companies and people who use open source software, that
    • by pembo13 (770295)
      You say that as if it is not expected. Improving with every release seems like a minimal expectation.
  • Gaming? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Thakandar2 (260848) on Sunday December 03, 2006 @03:10AM (#17087158)
    Oh please. No one cares about security, or media conversion. Show me some benchmarks that have frames per second with 16x Anti-Aliasing on Microsoft Flight Simulator X with DirectX 10 on a new Geforce 8800. That's all that really matters.
  • by tehanu (682528) on Sunday December 03, 2006 @03:41AM (#17087288)
    Even if Vista is better than XP, is it $751 better (Australian dollars, Vista Ultimate edition, US$595)? *That's* the real question. OK, to be generous, Vista Home Premium which is $455 (US$360). Then factor in the costs of upgrading your hardware, time lost reconfiguring things etc. etc.

    Prices here: http://www.apcstart.com/node/4035 [apcstart.com]
    • by lukas84 (912874)
      You don't pay retail prices when buying a new machine with Vista preloaded.

      And if you build your machine, you can purchase an OEM version at half the price of the Retail version.

      And noone, except for testing, really needs the Ultimate version.
      Home Premium will be all you need at home (Home Basic? What's this shit? Just so they can sell Premium through anytime upgrade?), and Business at work.

      Our reseller shows one OEM copy of vista at 242 US$ (converted from CHF) So you will probably be able to get it for 19
  • I hate sudo (Score:3, Funny)

    by gagge (808932) on Sunday December 03, 2006 @07:36AM (#17088230)

    A new 'user account control' system tries to protect you from yourself, so you don't accidentally make changes to important system settings without being warned first. However pressing the 'ok' button lets you do whatever you want anyway, and experienced users will just be annoyed. What did I do? I turned it off completely and am not bothered by it anymore. You'll probably do the same, too.
    Yeah, I just tried this new thing called Linux or Ubuntu or something, they use the same kind of security, called sudo or something. It annoys me so I just log in as root, as the author recommends. That sudo thing is only to protect the computer from yourself.
  • by qazwart (261667) on Sunday December 03, 2006 @09:38AM (#17088710) Homepage
    I read it and it pretty much says "Windows XP offers this feature, Windows Vista offers this feature in a bit better way".

    Security
    =====
    Windows XP offers basic firewall. Commercial software is better.
    Windows Vista an improved firewall. Commercial software is still better. IE 7 offers a phishing filter which slows down browsing and is only partially successful in catching phishing attacks. New user control access is annoying, so author (and probably you will turn in off).

    Home Entertainment
    =============
    Windows XP has basic capabilities, and Windows Media Center upgrade expanded those.
    Windows Vista has improved media center included in most versions of Vista. An improved version over XP's Windows Media Center (it should be because XP's version is now 2 years old), but not by much.

    Graphical Interface
    ============
    Windows XP looks like crap -- especially compared to Mac OS X which has been offering features that Windows Vista will now finally offer.
    Windows Vista looks very nice, but many computers won't be able to run it in its full glory. System wide desktop search is nice, but XP actually had similar feature that few people knew about. And, finally, a "sidebar" which will allow you to run widgets*.

    (*Ask any Mac OS X user how often they actually use "widgets" provided by Dashboard, and you'll see how useful that feature actually is. It also ends up being one of Apple's bigger security headaches, and probably will be a big security headache in Vista too)

    Parental Controls
    ===========
    Windows XP had no parental controls. Vista has excellent parental controls. (Now all the parent needs is for their kid to help set it up for them.)

    Networking
    =======
    Windows XP network's automatic setup sucks. Vista's automatic network setup wizard actually works.

    No where did it claim that Apple stole anything from Vista. No where did it give Vista such glowing reviews that it makes people want to immediately upgrade from XP to Vista. The two biggest areas: Protecting you from porn, and a wizard that can help you setup a network if you're a n00b means nothing to the /. crowd.

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