Windows Vista Picture Clearing Up

Nathan Weinberg By Nathan Weinberg
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Two stories that have been making the rounds over the weekend:

First, there was some misunderstanding that Vista’s licensing terms have been changed to make them more restrictive and remove rights away from the user. The important area:

    The first user of the software may reassign the license to another device one time. If you reassign the license, that other device becomes the “licensed device”

In XP, the same area read:

    You may move the Software to a different Workstation Computer. After the transfer, you must completely remove the Software from the former Workstation Computer.

As Paul Thurrott explains, the licensing terms are actually almost identical. If you install Vista on one device, you must reassign it to a new device in order to move it. That has not changed from XP at all. Paul explains a lot of the FUD getting around, especially regarding Vista getting messed up by hardware upgrades, a myth that has been making the rounds for over six years, as well as installing Vista as a virtual machine.

Not that his explanation made any difference to readers of TechWeb, Boing Boing, Engadget, Slashdot or Todd Bishop and Ed Bott’s blogs, since none of them issued a correction, at least yet.

Also, Microsoft has announced that it will be making some changes to all versions of Vista to satisfy regulators, especially those in Europe (who have lately fallen on the side of MS’s competitors). To avoid huge problems (and fines), Microsoft is granting security vendors APIs to interface with the Windows kernel. The security companies complained that Microsoft was locking them out, but the idea was that no one (including Microsoft) could get it, which would make it enormously secure. The APIs should be safe, but if they are somehow compromised, the rest of the OS could follow.

Additionally, security suites will be able to replace Windows Security Center with their own security dashboards, so long as the other company’s dashboard is providing comparable functionality. Hopefully, this means that when those products expire, Windows’ own security controls will spring back into action, not letting an expired, falling-apart product remain in control. Also, South Korea will only get Vista Home Basic and Business at launch, with Vista Home Premium and Ultimate not arriving until Vista Service Pack 1, which will be in late 2007.

As for search, users upgrading from XP to Vista will be asked, every single time they run Internet Explorer 7, what they would like their default search engine to be. They will be asked if they want to stick with their old default (whatever it was), or to choose from a long list of popular and unpopular search providers. This is a compromise between the wishes of many search engines, including Google and Yahoo. Users installing a full version bought in stores will have Windows Live Search preselected.

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About Nathan Weinberg
Nathan Weinberg writes the popular InsideGoogle blog, offering the latest news and insights about Google and search engines.

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