A few times while visiting customers I've been asked the question:
"So, if I apply all the latest patches, I install IE7, and I install Defender, does XP give me the same security as Vista?"
NO, Absolutely not! Much like many write-ups I saw posted early after the release of Vista, too often I find people simply install, poke around a bit, open the Start Menu, open Windows Explorer, and then sink back satisfied that they understand a new OS. This would not be a fair evaluation of any OS be it Windows, OS X, or any Linux distribution. There are many, many moving parts to an operating system and not all of which involve a shiny new icon. So as a blogger how do I go about proving that, without writing out every change, feature by feature? I don't have to. TechNet Magazine has produced a three part series on kernel level changes that came in Vista. These are a must-read for anyone trying to decide if Vista offers "enough difference".
Don't limit yourself to just TNM, there are other resources out there. This is just a good sample of readings IMHO. No subscription required.
With Windows Vista, changes to the OS kernel bring about advances in many areas, ranging from memory management to reliability to security. We kick off this series with a look at how the kernel delivers improvements in the areas of processes, threads, and I/O. - Mark Russinovich
This month we continue our in-depth discussion about what’s new in the Windows Vista kernel. In this issue, we review some advancements in how Windows Vista manages memory and explore the areas of system startup, shutdown, and power management. - Mark Russinovich
In this issue, we wrap up our in-depth discussion about what’s new in the Windows Vista kernel. In this final installment, we look at changes and new features pertaining to reliability, recovery, and security. - Mark Russinovich
Good stuff but you want more? The June installment of TNM is packed full of information on Vista security.
User Account Control, or UAC, is one of the most misunderstood new features in Windows Vista. But its goal—to enable users to run with standard user rights—can solve many security issues. Get an inside look at the problems UAC is designed to address and see exactly how this new feature works. - Mark Russinovich
BitLocker serves two very important purposes: it provides both full-volume data encryption and a way to validate the integrity of early startup components before Windows Vista starts. Get an overview of how BitLocker works and see how it can help you protect your organization. - Byron Hynes
Mobility has changed computer threats and the techniques that guard against them. As laptops wander outside the perimeter and come back to the network, you need better ways to protect your systems. Find out how you can use Windows Firewall to protect your computers—on the Internet and on your own internal network. - Steve Riley
While ACLs haven't had a major overhaul, there are a number of important changes you need to know about when managing ACLs in a Windows Vista environment. Discover how 30 ACLs have changed to improve security, find out how they will impact your organization, and learn how to manage these changes in your infrastructure. - Jesper Johansson
USB thumb-disk keys and other removable devices can make your personal life easier but your professional life harder. For improved security, you need a way to control what hardware devices your users are installing on their work systems. Now you can use Group Policy to control which devices they can use and which ones they can't. - Jeremy Moskowitz