Saturday, April 28, 2007

Vista - Security and Usability

I recently installed Vista on my wife's computer (I figured maybe it would be a little harder for her to break). I had installed it before, but wasn't happy with VS2005 support and a few other things, but I thought it would be great for her. One thing I had been meaning to do for a while was setup some sort of back-up for all of her stuff (She keeps all videos, pictures etc on her computer and if a hard drive crashed she would loose 8+ years of photos). I set up a striping array for a general safety net, which when doing this on XP you have to add a floppy drive to install drivers so that you can even use any type of RAID setup. Basically with XP it's a pain, especially if you don't have a floppy drive in the computer. I was happy to see that I didn't have to do a thing to get the RAID recognized in Vista. The installer came up and just asked where I wanted to install and right there was the RAID array all ready to go. This is one improvement that I've been waiting for :)

Here's the downside though. Have you seen some of the new Apple commercials? The one where the 'Windows' guy has the security guy behind him asking him to 'deny' or 'accept' everything? Well... that can get kinda irritating, but what about when stuff just doesn't work? My wife has an iPaq, and pretty much all we needed to do on XP was just plug it in and tell ActiveSync what should be synchronized. Well once I was done with the Vista install I figured 'Hey the RAID was sooo easy to get going that the iPaq should be a sinch'. Man, I was wrong. I plugged it in and it installed a 'generic' driver and that was it. One thing with Vista is that there is no more ActiveSync, it's being replaced with Windows Mobile Device Center. So I loaded the device center up thinking the iPaq would be there... Nope.

Basically after a little searching I stumbled across this link. Wow what a lot of setup just to get Vista to work with the iPaq. I don't think someone with decent knowledge of Windows, like my wife, would have found this easily. I also don't think the basic user, like my grandmother, would have ever been able to figure this out without help. So is forcing the user to have more knowledge of the underlying system the 'Best' approach to solving some of Windows security issues??

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