Lavasoft News - August 2007

Transitioning to Windows Vista

In the IT industry, it’s all about the saying “out with the old and in with the new”. At least that seems to be the case with “the old” Windows XP operating system, which is being phased out in favor of Microsoft’s years-in-the-making Vista operating system.

Following Vista’s release to consumers in the end of January, the PC industry began moving sales to consumers, and some businesses, over to Vista. With its security and productivity features, many users quickly opted to migrate to Windows Vista, either on new systems or by upgrading on existing PCs.

Even with some demand for computers that come pre-loaded with XP, by customers resistant to Vista, computer makers have been told that Windows XP OEM will no longer be available by the end of the year, reports say.  By the beginning of 2008, Microsoft's contracts with computer makers will dictate that companies only sell Vista-loaded machines, according to an article in APC Magazine.

While Dell, Hewlett-Packard and some others still offer XP to small business customers, consumers are going to find themselves phased out of Windows XP.

“Though it’s very early in the product lifecycle, we’re pleased with the market response to date for Windows Vista,” said a Microsoft statement in a May CNET article. “We’re looking forward to continued growth and broad adoption of Windows Vista around the world.”

Still, the changeover will not be happening overnight. An analyst at IDC expects that it will take about five years for Vista to be installed on the vast majority of computers, which is the time it took for XP to reach 84 percent of PCs, according to a recent CNN article.

What does the transition to Vista mean for consumers? In terms of security, Vista has been pegged by Windows as their most secure operating system yet, but has been under the scrutiny of many in the security industry even before it hit the market.

A certainty for PC users is that all operating systems have vulnerabilities, and the trend of malware writers to target widely used Microsoft applications and services highlights the need not only to keep your system patched, but to use third party software as an additional security measure.

In order to support your need to control what products secure your computer and protect your privacy, Lavasoft is planning to deliver a Vista compatible version (32-bit) of Ad-Aware 2007 in the end of August.

Vista compatibility is an important issue for many of our users. Lavasoft has been working with due diligence towards a Vista compatible version of Ad-Aware according to Microsoft standards, not our own interpretation of the Vista requirements. As part of this process, a Lavasoft development team made the trip from Gothenburg, Sweden to Microsoft headquarters in Washington, USA in June in order to discuss Vista compatibility issues.

According to Lavasoft developers, the team had positive and effective meetings with Microsoft representatives at the Platform Adoption Center of Microsoft’s Redmond campus.

“We have opened up important lines of communication with Microsoft, and have established the next steps that need to be taken in order to ensure a Vista compatible version early this fall,” says Odd Stranne, project leader and software developer at Lavasoft.

Since the new Ad-Aware 2007 product has been built with the capability to immediately distribute version updates and patches, all Ad-Aware users with a valid license will immediately receive the Vista compatible update when it is available.

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Source: CNET

herdsman with computers
Term of the Month
A bot herder is a hacker who installs malicious software on a PC without the knowledge of the computer user, with the ultimate goal of controlling thousands of compromised machines. Once hackers install their software, they are capable of controlling the infected computers remotely. After they have compromised enough computers, bot herders have a robot network, or botnet, under their command.

Tech Tips
How can you help fight the botnet battle, and make sure that your PC does not end up under a bot herder’s control? Contributing to the problem is the large number of home users whose computers do not have adequate protection and are easy prey for botnet operators. It is critical that home users install up-to-date firewalls, anti-virus and anti-spyware software, in addition to being cautious when going online. If you have been a victim of cyber crime, you can also file a complaint online through the Internet Crime Complaint Center.
Helpful Homepages
Electronic waste or e-waste is one of the fastest growing waste problems. So before you buy that new PC, think about what to do with the old one. Visit or to find out more about recycling your electronics. The Computer TakeBack Campaign focuses on requiring consumer electronics manufacturers to take responsibility for the life cycle of their products, while Earth 911 offers community-specific environmental information for consumers looking to live more responsibly.
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