Vista emphasizes security over compatibility

Microsoft's Windows Vista operating system may have sacrificed compatibility with third-party applications in favor of security.

At a launch event for the new version of Windows today, Microsoft representatives said security was a greater issue with customers than making sure applications run reliably on the operating system.

“Every single time we had a tradeoff between security and application compatibility, we went security,” said Bill Veghte, corporate vice president for Microsoft North America, who leads sales, marketing and services. Windows Vista rolled out nationwide today.

Customer feedback drove Microsoft to make many Windows XP-optional security measures default in Vista, Veghte said. Windows Firewall, for example, used to be turned off by default in XP due to the possibility that the firewall might block the functionality of pages and Web applications. The firewall is now on by default.

To compensate for any problems with applications, Vista includes several troubleshooting tools to track and update nonfunctioning programs.

For example, the application compatibility tool allows users to track the number of times programs crash and hang across the enterprise and through Microsoft. Also, Microsoft applications can be updated from the tool. Microsoft Office 2007 has its own diagnostic application to check the integrity of individual functions and update or repair them, as necessary.

Another diagnostic tool, Reliability Monitor, keeps track of how often applications, hardware and installation fail.

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