Microsoft TechEd Africa - Day 2

Posted by Minnaar Pieters 05 Aug 2009
What a long day - on the second day I proceeded to a few more technical sessions. To be honest, some of it went over my head a bit. On the other hand, I was once again impressed by the amount of effort MS has made in the development of Windows 7.

Windows 7 has made significant strides forward in security, even compared to Windows Vista. Anyone who does tech support will tell you malware gets on to a XP machine much, much quicker than on Vista. In my opinion this primarily comes down to User Account Control and Protected mode in modern versions of Internet Explorer (not that I typically advise that people use IE). However, a lot of people get frustrated by the constant nagging of UAC, and then just switch it off. I admit, I have done it myself. But then you deal a few times with machines that have been attacked malware, and you realize it is a very necessary evil.

Windows 7 will give users (and admins) better control in how to implement UAC. Using a sliding scale, users can define what type of actions requires a UAC prompt. Very good, but I think I will stick to maximum settings, thank you.

A few other features have also been made to secure Win7 - Applocker and Bitlocker (which has been improved). Applocker is basically a more advanced, yet easier to user version of Group Policy editor in which admin can define which appliications can be whitelisted or blacklisted. Now this sounds very big brother, but control is power right? Many modern applications (read: malware) can install without admin rights on a standard user account, and this is an ideal method to combat these problems.

Bitlocker has been improved as well, with a default bitlocker partition being installed on Windows 7 installs - this gives a much more versatile install method which can enable easy Bitlocker encryption. With Vista, Bitlocker was not exactly easy to deploy. While techies could easily go through the process of partitioning there drives (which is necessary), large corporation dont really have a lot of freedom away from this method.

Also, Microsoft had a few demo machines running multitouch version of Microsoft Virtual Earth, and it certainly is quite awesome to use. I however want to see it used in more applications, and that is where the truly creative interfaces are needed. See here:

I will post back later with my Day 3 impressions. I am off to go speak to a few Microsoft execs… would like to know a few more things…
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I am a R&D Analyst in Stellenbosch South Africa who has a immense passion for all things tech related. I embrace technology, open source and web standards, and I participate and contribute to the social web.