More in Windows Vista

  • Aug 19, 2011

    Software Licensing and IT Asset Management Explained

    One of the constants of managing an IT infrastructure is keeping tabs on software licensing requirements. It's a task that not every IT administrator enjoys, and the often disparate licensing approaches by multiple IT vendors can often leave system administrators, IT management, and the accounting department scratching their heads at best and muttering expletives at worst. Microsoft isn't alone in earning the occasional ire of IT professionals in this respect, as recent licensing changes by VMware for vSphere 5 generated a firestorm of customer criticism. In order to help shed some light on the often confusing world of software licensing, I've decided to launch a multi-part blog series that will examine all aspects of software licensing in general, and Microsoft licensing and software assurance in particular. I'll be talking to Microsoft executives, IT professionals, Microsoft partners, and other Microsoft licensing stakeholders to hopefully explain the intricacies of software licensing, how the advent of virtual machines and cloud computing are complicating (and potentially streamlining) the software licensing discussion, and what the future holds for software licensing. While licensing can be a frustrating topic for many IT professionals, it's important to remember that there are two sides to every issue. I recently spoke with Brad Smith, Microsoft's director of product licensing for Microsoft's Worldwide Licensing & Pricing division, about Microsoft's approach to software licensing. Smith makes a compelling argument about Microsoft's challenges in developing licensing policies for software that is used by millions of companies, organizations, city, state, and federal governments, and in many different countries and languages. Many of these groups have wildly different licensing needs and requirements, and trying to fashion a software licensing policy that fits the needs of so many different customers and use cases can be a daunting task.   Brad Smi...More
  • Aug 3, 2011

    Microsoft: "Malware Authors Really Hate UAC" 3

    You have to feel sorry for Microsoft's User Account Control, or UAC. It was introduced with Windows Vista, and was designed to improve overall system security by limiting applications to a lower set of privileges. The intent and underlying approach were noble, but the implementation and impact on standard users – at least in Windows Vista -- wasn't executed so well. Many Vista users complained about being inundated by UAC prompts when performing simple software installs or changes, and UAC quickly emerged as -- perhaps unfairly -- one of the most maligned features of Windows Vista. It earned the dubious distinction of being singled out for ridicule in one of the many Mac vs. PC TV commercials, and generated enough negative interest from Windows IT Pro readers that a quick search through our archives reveals not one, but two separate FAQ documents authored to help IT pros rid themselves of UAC: "Q. How can I disable the UAC (User Account Control) feature in Windows Vista?" and the even more urgent "Q: What's the fastest, easiest way to disable User Account Control (UAC) on a Windows Vista machine?" Windows IT Pro columnist Mark Minasi also had a few things to say about UAC, and our public forums had more than a few comments from users asking for help and assistance with their UAC wrangling.   Responding to feedback from users and IT administrators, Microsoft made significant changes and improvements to UAC in Windows 7, and the once common griping about excessive UAC prompts faded into the background. Granted, UAC under Windows 7 isn't perfect, with researchers at Sophos claiming back in 2009 that UAC in Windows 7 -- at least in it's default state -- isn't very effective at stopping viruses. That's not entirely fair, as every admin knows that an essential component of computer security is installing good, frequently-updated anti-virus software. UAC isn't anti-virus software, but it does help make things difficult for malware and other t...More
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