Trials and Tribulations

Welcome to Computerworld’s regular round up of coverage of Microsoft’s latest operating system. We’ll be tracking the progress of IT shops as they get to grips with Windows 7, and give you the latest updates on their keys to...

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Welcome to Computerworld’s regular round up of coverage of Microsoft’s latest operating system. We’ll be tracking the progress of IT shops as they get to grips with Windows 7, and give you the latest updates on their keys to success.

We’ll also be letting you in on some inside information, management tips and technical guides to help make your Windows migration as painless as possible.


So to kick us off, here’s a little something from CW:

Microsoft slashes virtual desktop licence cost

Microsoft is lowering the price of licensing the Windows operating system in a virtual desktop deployment, and announcing new bundles with partner Citrix.

Well, you wanted it, and now you’ve got it.

More and more IT managers are choosing to go down the virtual desktop route with their client infrastructure, and Microsoft have finally woken up and changed their licensing to follow. The new pricing for Virtual Enterprise Centralised Desktop (they have to come up with a snappier title) is to be cut, eliminating the extra $23 charge for each client device, as long as your company has Software Assurance.

Maybe cheaper continuing costs will help push Windows 7 in the enterprise, just like XP Mode is helping businesses get to grips with desktop virtualisation.


Another big feature Microsoft has been touting as a reason to upgrade is the new security tools baked into the kernel, like Data Execution Prevention (DEP) and Address Space Layout Randomisation (ASLR). However, accrding to Tom’s Hardware:

Microsoft Defends Win 7 Security After Pwn2Own

Two hackers were able to sidestep Windows 7's data execution prevention (DEP) and address space layout randomization (ASLR), and hack into Internet Explorer 8 and Firefox 3.6. One of the hackers, Peter Vreugdenhil, a freelance vulnerability researcher from the Netherlands, said that he used "fuzzing" to uncover two vulnerabilities in a fully-patched version of 64-bit Windows 7.

We all know that competitions like Pwn2Own are hardly indicative of realistic situations, but it is a little worrying that hackers were able to easily avoid current security practices. Perhaps Microsoft should take a leaf out of Google’s book, and run all processes in a sandbox.

Microsoft came up with a pretty good defence. According to Pete LePage, a product manager for Internet Explorer, security features are there to provide ‘defence in depth’. In other words, they are not going to stop every attack, but the more protection you can layer up, the safer your systems will be. DEP and ASLR may not stop an attack, but they will make it much more difficult to find and exploit a vulnerability.


And from our sister site, Techworld, comes a great guide on using virtual applications in Windows 7:

How to use Virtual PC with Windows 7

One of the most talked about features of Windows 7 is a version of XP built right in to some editions, so it can run in native mode on a virtual machine all those applications that never made the leap compatibility with Windows Vista. Except XP Mode doesn't come automatically, you have to install it. And it doesn't come with all editions of Windows 7.

Seven steps to confident Virtual PC and XP Mode use. Essential for IT shops with legacy applications to support.


Interesting stuff. We’ll be back soon with more news from the frontline, but until then, leave your questions and contributions and abuse in the comments box.

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