My Experience with Windows Vista Beta 2 (Build 5384) — Security

In my previous post, I touched upon my installation experience with Windows Vista Beta 2 (Build 5384). Since the virtual machine has only the basic graphics driver, the overall performance reported from the Windows System Performance Rating is only a pathetic 1 (one other reader reported a similar score when running Windows Vista under VMWare as well), which is only decent enough to display the most basic windowing effects. The other portion of the virtual machine hardware however is fairly decent. Under VMWare, applications running in Windows Vista are significantly slower both in terms of loading and running. This might due to the fact that Windows Vista has a much larger footprint and requires significantly more memory. By default VMWare allocates 512 MB memory to Windows Vista, which is barely large enough for just a couple of applications. But I am sure that the applications will run much faster on a physical machine with a decent amount of RAM.

Windows Vista has finally caught up somewhat with Linux and Unix in security in terms of user’s rights. In Windows Vista, the default user has limited rights even though the default user belongs to the Admin group. A lot of risky access activities (e.g. writing files to the root directory C: or windows system directory) will get prompted for confirmation. This can be annoying at times though. For instance, if you want to create a text file in the root folder (C:\), you will get prompt twice. The first time, you will receive a “Destination Folder Access Denied” message and be asked to confirm the action. And if you confirm the action, you will receive another message stating that “User Account Control stops unauthorized changes to your computer. If you started this program, please continue”. This seems to be quite annoying especially when you need to create more than a couple of files. Thankfully, when deleting multiple files, you will have the choice of repeat the action by checking the check box so that you only get prompt twice.

One thing quite interesting is that while you will be prompted when creating files in the root folder (C:\), you can create folders without being interrupted by the system. Furthermore, the folders you created will have your inherent access rights and creation of any files underneath the folder will not cause any system intervention. This is quite odd from a security perspective. (to be continute…)

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