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Computer Question: Security, Windows XP vs Windows 7 Ultimate
July 5, 2011

Posted on 07/05/2011 12:46:30 AM PDT by Yosemitest

TOPICS: Computers/Internet
KEYWORDS: malware; mbrrootkit; virus
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To: 4rcane
If you buy w7 you have to buy all new software and printers and scanners because xp drivers for printers and scanners and every other application don't work for w7. I know this from first hand experience: the printer, the scanner, the web designer, the dvd software, etc.

Also, the xp emulator only works in low resolution (16 bit colors, not 32 or true color) and it lags so badly(choppy) I found the emulator to be completely unusable and another waste of money. So I developed a dual boot system: xp for functionality - if I actually need to accomplish any work, and w7 to continue experimenting with. Sorry this doesn't answer security questions. 7 is just not as functional as xp.

21 posted on 07/05/2011 3:57:15 AM PDT by ("Uh, let me be clear. Uh." - President Barack Obama)
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If you buy w7 you have to buy all new software and printers and scanners because xp drivers for printers and scanners and every other application don't work for w7

At the risk of being overly simple, why wouldn't you use Win 7 drivers? Everything I had running under Win XP runs perfectly under 7 after I used the correct drivers.

22 posted on 07/05/2011 4:20:57 AM PDT by Leroy S. Mort
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To: Yosemitest
Windows 7 is far more secure than XP and not much different in the way it operates.

It is a nicer looking OS and has a lot of new features that enhance productivity. What will you be running on it? The only reason to have it is so that you can run software that will not run on the MAC.

23 posted on 07/05/2011 4:22:31 AM PDT by johncatl (...governs least, governs best.)
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To: Yosemitest
Security is one of my primary concerns, and I find Apple much more secure than Windows.

Apple is not more secure than Windows. Apple is not targeted as often because there are so few of them. When they are targeted, they are found to be just as vulnerable, if not more so, as Windows.

As for Win XP vs. Win 7 security, they're both equally protected. The problem is that Microsoft has announced end of life for XP, and will end update support, so if a future vulnerability is discovered, it won't be plugged in XP.

If you feel you need a Windows partition, then you may as well have the latest Windows, unless there is a specific vintage application that will only run under XP. (We have lots of those at the television station where I work.)

24 posted on 07/05/2011 4:23:18 AM PDT by Yo-Yo (Is the /sarc tag really necessary?)
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To: Yosemitest
Here is a dirty little secret....Win XP SP, which I use, is available for free from several download sites. It has stood the test of time and hacking and keeps on going strong.

Win 7, in many of its apparitions, is also available, for free, at these sites. XP is a good OS. Its stable and does what users need. If you need one of the Win 7 OS's...try them.

If you are using a 64 system...maybe Win 7 is what you need.
25 posted on 07/05/2011 4:26:26 AM PDT by Tainan (Cogito Ergo Conservitus.)
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To: FreedomPoster
MS Security Essentials isn't very effective against MBR Rootkits.
But Windows XP is vulnerable to MBR Rootkits, hence the question about Windows 7.
But the question "Why would you go with a 10 year old operating system that MS would like to drop support on?" is partially answered in post #24,
and that is total cost for the switch to IMac.
26 posted on 07/05/2011 4:27:54 AM PDT by Yosemitest (It's simple, fight or die.)
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To: Yosemitest

“I’m really leaning towards buying the XP SP3”

SP3 might have the bugs worked out by now, but when I ran the Windows Update from SP2 to SP3, my PC crashed. After a couple hours with tech support (I’d purchased Dell tech support with my system), I took the system back to virgin state, reinstalled all programs, and lost all files that hadn’t been backed up. I turned off Automatic Updates, and avoid SP3 like the plague. (The techie said this was a huge problem, as did several online discussions.)

Anyhow, FWIW...

27 posted on 07/05/2011 4:28:13 AM PDT by MayflowerMadam
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To: Yosemitest

SP 3

28 posted on 07/05/2011 4:28:24 AM PDT by Tainan (Cogito Ergo Conservitus.)
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To: Yosemitest; rdb3; Calvinist_Dark_Lord; GodGunsandGuts; CyberCowboy777; Salo; Bobsat; JosephW; ...

29 posted on 07/05/2011 4:31:14 AM PDT by ShadowAce (Linux -- The Ultimate Windows Service Pack)
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To: Yosemitest
All other things being equal, windows 7 is more secure for (at least) one important improvement: the ability to perform most, if not all, of your normal activities without being an "administrator" user. While XP does have the notion of a non-administrative user (limited user), it is half baked, and in a non-corporate (non-domain) environment, ones ability to actually do work on the computer without being logged in as an administrator is sorely lacking.

Windows 7 has improved this, and can operate in a manner similar to OSX in that you can operate as a non-privileged, non-administrator user all the time, and temporarily upgrade your permissions to accomplish a specific task, leaving your default, non-administrative access in place otherwise. Win7 is slightly less intuitive here than OSX, but if you're running both on the same machine, I am sure they will make equal sense (BTW, take a look at VMWare Fusion as well as Parallels - both do the same things, but each has its own strengths and weaknesses. Depending on what you're going to be using your Windows virtual machine for, make sure the virtualization product you choose is well capable of that)

I use macs and osx almost exclusively these days, and develop web application software for windows using Win7 in a VMware virtual machine - it works, and works fairly well. There is virtually (no pun intended) no reason to install a new copy of windows XP in 2011. The ultimate edition even has a way to run virtualized XP under windows 7. I would not recommend using that when you're already virtualizing Win7. But, if you are concerned about some older software that may require XP, bear in mind that you can create multiple virtual machines using either parallels or vmware, and could set up a small XP virtual machine as a bit of a security blanket, albeit one that may open you up to some security vulnerabilities if not properly maintained.

30 posted on 07/05/2011 4:31:17 AM PDT by earlyapex (Somewhere in Kenya, a village is missing its idiot.)
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Comment #31 Removed by Moderator

To: Tainan
A 64 system, well, I don't know if IMac is a 64 system.
I'll have to read up on Parallels Desktop 6 for Mac and it's system requirement to run a Windows Operating System.
I'm leaning heavily towards Windows XP SP3, but I'm still gathering information to make the transition to IMac.
32 posted on 07/05/2011 4:33:39 AM PDT by Yosemitest (It's simple, fight or die.)
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To: Slings and Arrows

I took in SP 1 a few days ago, thinking it was just another “update”....I’m not a computer guy at all, but notice no glitches. I was hoping it’d maybe speed up FR (which continues as the most sluggish site I visit), but it didn’t accomplish that.

33 posted on 07/05/2011 4:34:42 AM PDT by ErnBatavia (It's not the Obama's the "Obama Regime".)
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To: FreedomPoster
34 posted on 07/05/2011 4:38:26 AM PDT by Yosemitest (It's simple, fight or die.)
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To: Yosemitest

How old are your peripherals?

Personally I haven’t had any problem with older apps/devices. YMMV.

35 posted on 07/05/2011 4:48:20 AM PDT by FreedomPoster (Islam delenda est)
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To: Yosemitest

Windows 7 is fine - I use it both in a home as well as a corporate environment. (Also a big linux guy - typing this on Fedora Core 14 which is actually dual boot with W7).

Windows 7 beats Windows XP on any number of measures. It’s later, greater, has better support from MS, will be the development target for HW and SW manufacturers, has a better security model, and has integrated things like search more tightly into the OS. The Aero view that uses the graphics hardware to improve the user display is a nice feature, IMHO.

Aside from MS eventually dropping support for XP (I don’t know when but some day) also realize that the Hardware platforms are evolving and sooner or later, XP is going to be as relevant as Windows 95, Windows 98 etc. etc. Sure you can probably get some of these older OS to run on current HW but it might be tough and why would you want to?

Eventually you have to keep up with the times in all things IT. That’s just the way it is. Else you’re swimming upstream. For example, Fedora only supports 2 releases and they’re on a 6 month release cycle. If you install a brand new OS on the day it’s released, 1 year later you’ll have to upgrade if you want ongoing support. Sure that’s Fedora, and not Windows, but the principle is the important thing. Nothing is supported forever because time marches on.

The other point is that there is an incredible amount of FUD spread around about Windows in particular. Sure, I’m not a huge fan, but having said that I use it every day to get real work done and it basically does what it says it does. Think of it as a Toyota Camry or something like that - not glamorous, not necessarily fast, but a lot of people use it and it gets you to work every day.

36 posted on 07/05/2011 4:52:52 AM PDT by 2 Kool 2 Be 4-Gotten (Welcome to the USA - where every day is Backwards Day!)
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To: earlyapex
Thank you for your detailed answer.
I haven't heard of VMWare Fusion and will check it out.
Most of my concerns about Windows XP vs Windows 7 relates to my inexperience with Windows 7 and security.
I understand your logic about "There is virtually (no pun intended) no reason to install a new copy of windows XP in 2011."
And I'm beginning to understand the need to run most of my time in "non-administrator user" mode, for combating MBR Rootkits.
I guess at my age (over 50) and my time demands, it's hard to let go of a familiar system, especially after hearing so many of my friends shoot down Windows 7, due to their headaches with some of their "needed" programs.
Thanks again for your time.
37 posted on 07/05/2011 5:04:00 AM PDT by Yosemitest (It's simple, fight or die.)
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To: Yosemitest
Pardon me for seeming to be a bit rude, but anyone who thinks that Apple MACs are inherently more secure than Win7 is living in a fantasy world.

MACs are not secure, period. First, just as with Windows, there are plenty of security vulnerabilities created by third-party apps. For example, Skype 5 for MAC - that's "for MAC," not just Skype 5 generically - has a vulnerability that "allows remote chatters to gain control of a system" - from Macworld, May 6, 2011.

Second, the MAC OS itself is no more inherently secure than Windows. For example, there is a piece of MAC-specific malware, called "Mac Defender" - cute name, I guess hackers have a sense of irony, if you will - that Apple has admitted is a problem, as per this May 25, 2011, Macworld article.

That security is an increasing issue for MACs is made clearer in this January 2011, TidBITS article:

Recent moves by Apple, especially the hiring of prominent security experts like David Rice (the author of “Geekonomics: The Real Cost of Insecure Software”) and Window Snyder (former head of security for Firefox maker Mozilla), combined with frequent product updates, indicate that Apple may be quietly, yet significantly, improving their security infrastructure.

The article also makes clear that the Mac OS can be trivial to hack for those who know how to hack:

But don’t think for a second that Macs are invulnerable or immune to security issues. Just last week I saw engineers at security software maker Immunity (in a Web-based demonstration) exploit an up-to-date version of Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard via Safari using a new, unpatched, WebKit vulnerability. All it took was clicking on a single link to give the attacker full control over the Mac.

Finally, as both articles (and a bunch of others) make clear, Win7 is substantially more secure than WinXP.

There are even some interesting little tidbits on a platform vs. platform comparison. For example, as stated in this Feb. 1, 2010 CNet article:

Meanwhile, Mac users are just as vulnerable to Web-based attacks like phishing as PC users are, and Mac users who fall prey to phishing tend to lose more money on average than PC users do, the survey found.

Oops. Apparently, a false sense of inherent security lulls one to sleep. As someone once said, that which doesn't kill you makes you stronger, and PC users appear to have grown stronger from their lack of false security.

Finally, here's an interesting little take-away from that CNet article:

"If you look at the number of published vulnerabilities in software and the number of users and compare Windows versus Mac OS you will discover that Mac OS has far more published vulnerabilities per user than Windows does so I think the data pretty much speaks for itself.

-- 3ric Johanson, security researcher

(no, that's not a typo, he apparently does go by the name "3ric" in real life.)

What it really comes down to is the subjective measure - how comfortable are you with this or that OS - and not some supposedly objective measure of security, not because security isn't an issue, but because MAC and Win7 are pretty much neck and neck - each has different vulnerabilities, but both are vulnerable - and because the biggest threat isn't in the software, it's in the wetware between the user's ears.
38 posted on 07/05/2011 5:04:23 AM PDT by Oceander (The phrase "good enough for government work" is not meant as a compliment)
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To: Yosemitest
My primary computer is a Mac (Macbook Pro), and I run Windows 7 in a virtual machine (VMware Fusion). The combination works great.

I would recommend that you move to Windows 7, unless you have a specific reason that you can't do so. It's going to be getting more and more difficult to get support for hardware and software for XP, while everyone will be fully supporting Win7 for years to come.

Regarding virtual machine programs, in addition to the commercial products, there is a free program called VirtualBox that works quite well. You might want to check that out.

Both Win7 and OS/X have built-in firewalls that work just fine. You don't need virus-scanning software for Mac (although that might change in the future). If you're not using the Windows VM to access the Internet (web browsing and email), you can probably get by without virus-scanning software on the Windows side as well.

Being able to take "snapshots" of your Windows VM means that you can recover to an earlier version in just a few seconds, so if something gets hosed up for whatever reason, you can just back up to an earlier snapshot and be back in business in just seconds.

Hope this helps!

39 posted on 07/05/2011 5:06:52 AM PDT by Johnny B.
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To: Leroy S. Mort
As much as I love rehashing this frustrating issue again, windows 7 says: "this program is incompatible with this version of windows"

"the version of this file is not compatible with the version of windows you're running"

None of my functional software works on 7. I trouble shot, google searched, and driver guided for months and was at an absolute impasse. The dual boot system was the only solution (and my own idea) that I could come up with other than spending thousands on new software and hardware that had been mass produced without being properly tested yet. Windows 7 is garbage (and 5 times larger than xp). Bloatware and poppycock.

40 posted on 07/05/2011 5:10:46 AM PDT by ("Uh, let me be clear. Uh." - President Barack Obama)
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