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Vista Makes Forensic PC Exam Easier for Lawyers

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the can-i-introduce-you-to-some-nice-encryption dept.

The Courts 343

Katharine writes "Jason Krause, a legal affairs writer for the American Bar Association's 'ABA Journal' reports in the July issue that Windows Vista will be a boon for those looking for forensic evidence of wrongdoing on defendants' PC's and a nightmare for defendants who hoped their past computer activities would not be revealed. Krause quotes attorney R. Lee Barrett, 'From a [legal] defense perspective, [Vista] scares me to death. One of the things I have a hard time educating my clients on is the volume of data that's now discoverable.' This is primarily attributable to Shadow Copy, TxF and Instant Search."

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Another Use for VMWare (4, Interesting)

ScottyKUtah (716120) | more than 7 years ago | (#19858313)

If one was stuck with Vista, I could see VMWare being quite popular. Just run all of your "other activities" under a VMware computer. If the computer ever falls into enemy hands, just wipe out the virtual computer and you're good to go.

Another reason I'm sticking with XP.

Re:Another Use for VMWare (5, Funny)

neonmonk (467567) | more than 7 years ago | (#19858339)

I do all my illegal activities on an Abacus.

Mwa aha hah.

Re:Another Use for VMWare (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19858679)

You'll be disappointed to learn of Microsoft's new Abacus Retentive Summation Environment (ARSE) tracking extension, which is being made mandatory for all abacuses from 2007 onwards. I guarantee you'll barely notice the performance penalty. :)

Obligatory (5, Funny)

thegnu (557446) | more than 7 years ago | (#19859087)

I do all my illegal activities on an Abacus.
Red bead attempting to slide right.
Cancel or Allow?

Re:Another Use for VMWare (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19858351)

Another reason I'm sticking with FOSS. You will have to upgrade the OS eventually, why not choose free one from the beginning?

Re:Another Use for VMWare (4, Insightful)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 7 years ago | (#19858525)

Because freedom requires commitment and effort.

Re:Another Use for VMWare (1, Funny)

stonedcat (80201) | more than 7 years ago | (#19858773)

Spoken like a true socialist.

Re:Another Use for VMWare (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19859055)

True socialism is the perfect blend of freedom and compassion.

Re:Another Use for VMWare (5, Insightful)

ls671 (1122017) | more than 7 years ago | (#19858363)

How are you going to wipe out the virtual computer once the computer is into ennemy hands ? ;-)

Re:Another Use for VMWare (4, Informative)

PsyQo (1020321) | more than 7 years ago | (#19858425)

Put the entire virtual machine + disks on a encrypted truecrypt volume

Re:Another Use for VMWare (1)

ls671 (1122017) | more than 7 years ago | (#19858615)

-Put the entire virtual machine + disks on a encrypted truecrypt volume

I could have suggested that as a better way to protect his data of course, I already do it for some data.

But that still wouldn't allow him to wipe out the data once his computer falls into ennemy hands;-) Ennemy is goins to have a much harder time reading the data.

Re:Another Use for VMWare (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19858699)

the enemy will swipe the computer, kick the sunken chest puny geek in the balls, and take him with them rolled up in a bath towel. (a rug would be unnecessarily large)

then they'll just torture him till he cracks...which should take about 7 seconds.

problem solved.

Re:Another Use for VMWare (3, Informative)

Hatta (162192) | more than 7 years ago | (#19859167)

TrueCrypt provides plausible deniability. So just have 2 encrypted directories. One for relatively safe stuff, one for the really bad shit. If someone forces you to give them a password, give them the relatively safe one. Since truecrypt volumes are indistinguishable from random data it's impossible for them to know there's anything else in that chunk of encrypted data.

Re:Another Use for VMWare (1)

MMC Monster (602931) | more than 7 years ago | (#19859003)

Have the virtual computer automatically reset on exit to a safe copy.

Great if you want to emulate Win9x and not worry about instability over time.

Re:Another Use for VMWare (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19858367)

Even better: Keep the VMware image on a hidden truecrypt volume!

Re:Another Use for VMWare (1)

Detritus (11846) | more than 7 years ago | (#19858433)

Bad idea. It's called obstruction of justice. Conrad Black was just convicted of that for removing many boxes of files from his office when he found out that he was being investigated.

Re:Another Use for VMWare (2, Insightful)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 7 years ago | (#19858469)

I don't know if that really matters. If you have something that crucial to hide, what's an obstruction of justice conviction compared to whatever else you might get slapped with? I'd imagine for any serious criminal, the potential reward is very high (won't get in jail, yeah!), while the risk is relatively low (obstruction of justice, damn... but it beats life in prison!).

Re:Another Use for VMWare (0, Troll)

Zeinfeld (263942) | more than 7 years ago | (#19858507)

The story is idiotic. Yet more slashweenie editor 'nothing Microsoft can ever do is right' blather

I care much more about the risk that I might lose work by accidentally deleting it than I do about the risk of someone subpoenaing me.

I have copies of my key files on three computers, two USB drives and google. I use Vista and will continue to do so.

Re:Another Use for VMWare (2, Funny)

Ohreally_factor (593551) | more than 7 years ago | (#19858555)

But that's where you're wrong. With the upcoming Mac OS X Leopard, I'll just use the built in time machine to go back and cover my tracks. Can Vista do that?

=)

Pime Taradox (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19858631)

But if you went back in time to cover your tracks, there would be no tracks to cover in the present, therefore you wouldnt have to go back in time in the first place. But if you didnt go back in time in the first place, your tracks wouldnt be covered so you'd need to go back and cover them! But if you went back in time to cover your tracks, there would be no tracks to cover in the present, therefore you wouldnt have to go back in time in the first place. But if you didnt go back in time in the first place, your tracks wouldnt be covered so you'd need to go back and cover them! But if you went back in time to cover your tracks, there would be no tracks to cover in the present, therefore you wouldnt have to go back in time in the first place. But if you didnt go back in time in the first place, your tracks wouldnt be covered so you'd need to go back and cover them! (etc...)

It's not the function that's the problem (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19858333)

These are all legitimate, useful features. It's the implementation that's wrong.

All potentially damaging (ie, all) data should be written to an encrypted store in such a way that recovering it from a lost/stolen/seized machine is hard to impossible without assistance from the owner. That's just good design practice in an environment where there is more than enough computing power available.

I'm aware that there are places where you have to hand your keys over to law enforcement... with which I have no real problem provided the due process of law is followed. But at least properly managed/segmented encryption can prevent a fishing trip. And in the worst case if you were being falsely accused of something really awful then you might decide that the penalties for not handing over the keys were less severe than the penalties for having the data available. At least you would get the choice.

Re:It's not the function that's the problem (5, Informative)

Ravnen (823845) | more than 7 years ago | (#19858387)

Vista actually has a full-drive encryption mechanism, called 'BitLocker'. If it's enabled, I suppose any attempt at forensic examination would require either (a) the permission of the owner, or (b) breaking the encryption.

Re:It's not the function that's the problem (3, Informative)

Konster (252488) | more than 7 years ago | (#19858453)

C) Or a court order to fork over the password.

Re:It's not the function that's the problem (3, Funny)

Nerdgasm (714484) | more than 7 years ago | (#19858527)

D) Or get the "enemy combatant" treatment in order to fork over the password.

Re:It's not the function that's the problem (3, Interesting)

Ravnen (823845) | more than 7 years ago | (#19858543)

I would say that falls under permission. If there is a court order, you can refuse it, but you will face the legal consequences.

Re:It's not the function that's the problem (1)

Bin Naden (910327) | more than 7 years ago | (#19858959)

Who says they need to get the password from you? I wouldn't be surprised if Microsoft has a backdoor to retrieve passwords for bitlockers that they hand over to authorities. I mean, how hard is it to encrypt the password you set for bitlocker with a microsoft public key?

Re:It's not the function that's the problem (2, Insightful)

fish (6585) | more than 7 years ago | (#19858499)

It is closed source encryption - who would trust that?

Re:It's not the function that's the problem (1)

Vexorian (959249) | more than 7 years ago | (#19858833)

I guess it is useful, make privacy threatening features to force people to use the closed encryption mechanisms that make you unable to dual boot, ain't that awesome?

Re:It's not the function that's the problem (1)

ricebowl (999467) | more than 7 years ago | (#19858961)

Vista actually has a full-drive encryption mechanism, called 'BitLocker'. If it's enabled, I suppose any attempt at forensic examination would require either (a) the permission of the owner, or (b) breaking the encryption.

I haven't yet had any direct experience of Windows Vista, though am considering the Ultimate edition later in the year, following SP1, for a new build. Does the Bitlocker encryption support a TrueCrypt-style hidden volume?

As one can always be forced to hand over a password to the blatantly encrypted volume (by courts or persuasion), but if a second encrypted layer would, as with TrueCrypt, defy proof. As far as I can see that'd be the only way to defy legally-sanctioned examination.

Re:It's not the function that's the problem (1)

Ravnen (823845) | more than 7 years ago | (#19859147)

I don't think so. Vista still has EFS, so you can encrypt the drive with BitLocker and then encrypt individual files with EFS. However, I haven't heard of any way to create hidden drives. I'm sure it would have been advertised as a feature if it existed, so for that I suppose TrueCrypt would be a better choice than BitLocker (I don't know if both can be used, or if there would be any reason to do this).

I haven't enabled BitLocker yet, since I'm a bit wary of possibly losing the ability to recover data in the event of a system failure. However, I tend to keep backups up to date, so I'll probably enable it at some point. My reason for using encryption would be to prevent access by a thief or other unauthorised user, however, so I don't think I'd need anything like a hidden volume.

Re:It's not the function that's the problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19859059)

nope. I guarentee that microsoft has a backdoor into that for law enforcement. Just wait for the first lawsuit on it and how they magicically get access.

Ignorance and Snapshots (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19858841)

It seems the article and most slashdot users are not familiar with basic COW snapshot technology. First, most raid arrays and Filesystems, now-a-days, offer this functionality and it is a proven scheme to make revision copies, backups, or backup assistance online without wasting tons of resources. Linux has snap technology and so does a host of other OS's. None of these Technologies that I know of want or need to offer any sort of extra security. If you want that, simply turn on Filesystem encryption and encrypted data will be snapped. Vista offers encryption out of the box.

Also, you can delete the snaps if you want to through the commandline or a scheduler task or whatever in Vista. I for one think the automatic snap management was a brilliant move on Vista's part as the benefits outway the negatives. I run without a virus scanner and if I get infected, I just roll back to one of my hourly snaps as I increased the interval. I don't lose any work because my docs are snapped, but not automatically rolled back as part of the system rollback.

Re:Ignorance and Snapshots (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19858893)

I run without a virus scanner and if I get infected, I just roll back to one of my hourly snaps as I increased the interval ...unless, of course, the virus removes the snapshots.

Re:Ignorance and Snapshots (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19858991)

Which means I'm running as administrator. NEWS FLASH, you can apply many basic security best practices on Vista as you can with any other operating system. The problem is the general public doesn't because as you increase security you reduce manageability and ease use. If Linux was the #1 desktop OS on the market, I'd say just as many people would be running solely as root. It's not your OS, but how you use it that counts. ;)

Encryption useless in civil Discovery (1)

redelm (54142) | more than 7 years ago | (#19859019)

TFA specifically mentioned "Discovery" which is a court procedure totally separate from search warrents and seizures. Civil discovery is a very frightening process: you can be compelled (under pain of contempt punishments) to produce anything the opposing lawyers ask for that is remotely relevant (might lead to evidence). Encryption is useless, you have to produce plaintext.

My bigger concern is what happens to the excess (not admitted into evidence) data. IE, almost all of it. That really needs to be kept confidential. I'm not sure how it can be protected? Something like "fruit of the poisoned vine" for criminal cases is probably too extreme.

Re:Encryption useless in civil Discovery (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19859091)

Snaps can be deleted very easily or turned off altogether if encryption isn't the answer.

Just some more... (0, Offtopic)

MarkByers (770551) | more than 7 years ago | (#19858337)

...anti-Vista FUD.

Vista is actually selling quite well, and many people I know are using it without any complaints. Why are the good points about Vista never mentioned on Slashdot? It's always how great the Mac is or how great Compiz is...

Re:Just some more... (1)

IamScared (774266) | more than 7 years ago | (#19858353)

This is not anti-Vista FUD. Vista is a privacy nightmare. And all the modern OSes will soon be privacy nightmares too. The FA just elucidates this.

Re:Just some more... (4, Insightful)

Ravnen (823845) | more than 7 years ago | (#19858587)

The article just says it's easier to gather evidence from a PC with Vista than from a PC with an older version of Windows, like XP. It's also easier to gather evidence from a PC than from a box of papers, and easier to gather evidence when there is a box of papers than when there isn't. If you wish to be secure in your illegal activities, you'd probably be wise to avoid keeping any records at all.

As for privacy, to the extent that this sort of thing requires a legal order to hand over the information, I can't really see that it's an issue of privacy. If it is accepted that preserving the rule of law sometimes requires surrendering information that would otherwise be considered private, then that is the end of the matter: the information in such instances has ceased to be private.

If a PC is stolen, that is another matter, but in such cases, encryption can be used to prevent private data falling into the hands of thieves. This arguably makes a PC with appropriate encryption enabled safer than paper records.

Man, you haven't seen my handwriting... :-) (1)

crovira (10242) | more than 7 years ago | (#19858743)

There are some disadvantages to having MS (my hand writing went to hell) but I now have a script of squiggles that makes sense only to me (its not writing, its nmemonic dabbling which gives me clues as to what was happening to me [and around me!] at the time of the dabble.)

As such its as individualistic and unbreakable as a crypto "one-time-pad."

Re:Just some more... (2, Insightful)

value_added (719364) | more than 7 years ago | (#19858965)

If you wish to be secure in your illegal activities, you'd probably be wise to avoid keeping any records at all.

Allow me to edit the above:

If you wish to secure your data from unwanted intrusion, you'd probably be wise to avoid using Vista which records your activities using methods not found in previous Microsoft systems, or other systems in general.

Re:Just some more... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19859063)

which records your activities using methods not found in previous Microsoft systems
Volume Shadow Services are installed as part of Windows 2003, and there's an implementation available for XP. You should at last try to know wtf you're talking about before you open your pie-hole and shove half a leg in... Of course, this IS an anti-MS /. article, so you probably fit right in...

Re:Just some more... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19858381)

would you like some water to wash down that turd?

Re:Just some more... (1)

FinchWorld (845331) | more than 7 years ago | (#19858401)

Vista is actually selling quite well

Can you cite source? Specificly in direct relation to XP? And more importantly are they stand alone versions of Vista, or the Microsoft Tax (Bundled with your computer, even if you don't want it)? As far as I'm aware most people aren't choosing Vista when they have the choice.

Just some more...slanted commentary. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19858505)

"And more importantly are they stand alone versions of Vista, or the Microsoft Tax (Bundled with your computer, even if you don't want it)?"

Well if you don't want it? Why are you buying the computer in the first place?

"As far as I'm aware most people aren't choosing Vista when they have the choice."

Talking about a stalker. Leave me alone!

Re:Just some more...slanted commentary. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19858601)

Please learn at least something about computers and the computer industry before posting in the future. Thank you.

Re:Just some more... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19858427)

>and many people I know are using it without any complaints.

Right. Mostly the people who just go to the store & hand over their cash for a computer, not caring what's on it, or being "persuaded" by the store geek that computing IS windows.

>Why are the good points about Vista never mentioned on Slashdot?

Because there fucking aren't any. Get it.

Re:Just some more... (1)

Rah'Dick (976472) | more than 7 years ago | (#19858451)

That must be because Vista does nothing more than Ubuntu or OS X these days - except spying on the user and forcing useless eyecandy through the GPU. There's simply nothing exceptionally good on Vista, that's why we must pick on the bad things that other operating systems don't suffer from.

Re:Just some more... (3, Interesting)

GotenXiao (863190) | more than 7 years ago | (#19858457)

What good points? It has a resource [applematters.com] intensive [technocrat.net] "shiny" interface. It has levels [theregister.co.uk] of DRM [theinquirer.net] heretofore [arstechnica.com] unseen in an operating system. It is claimed that it is secure, yet still has gaping [zdnet.com.au] security [vnunet.com] holes [eweek.com] . It is claimed [virusbtn.com] that it is safe, yet has to be made [lifehacker.com] un-safe for users to be able to do anything with it. It is expensive [gizmodo.com] , clunky, space [microsoft.com] consuming [microsoft.com] , privacy invading, insecure [betanews.com] , unsafe, and is more interested in protecting the interests of major Hollywood distributors than its users [blogcatalog.com] .

Care to highlight why I'd want to use Vista?

Re:Just some more... (1)

JonathanR (852748) | more than 7 years ago | (#19858529)

Hmmm.. A new definition for news [wikipedia.org] anchor [wikipedia.org] ?

Re:Just some more... (1)

click2005 (921437) | more than 7 years ago | (#19858539)

It brought peace?

oh.. that was the Romans.

Re:Just some more... (1)

iPaqMan (230487) | more than 7 years ago | (#19858595)

Oh. Peace? Shut up!

Re:Just some more... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19858651)

Yes, we know it's more resource intensive, but it's not just the interface that's doing it. One article is from an Apple fansite which either fails to understand or doesn't want to and the other doesn't claim it's the interface at all. Bad start.

The DRM only applies to (shock) DRM-enabled content that you buy. It was a choice between layering in the DRM or not allowing people to view that content on the PC at all, a choice enforced by the big media companies who own the content. Yes, Microsoft could have stood up and said no, and in doing so crippled Blu-ray and HD-DVD functionality in Vista. Surprisingly, despite Slashdot's wanton hatred of it (I don't particularly care for it either), very few consumers care about DRM, so they went ahead and gave people access to that content.

For security, two of your articles were published before Vista was even released to the public, and the only relevant link just explains that if an installer requests admin mode, you can give it admin mode and it can do what it likes, citing a 'malicious freeware Tetris installer'. The article fails to mention that this happens in the same way for both OS X and Linux, instead of trying to be useful and educate readers on using their common sense when downloading software.

Saying 'security has to be disabled for Vista to be useful' is just plain bullcrap. Turning off UAC merely stops giving you the choice to run programs as admin. UAC doesn't prevent any programs from running unless you say you don't want it to run. You may want to clarify that point.

Expense (as always) is in the eye of the beholder (I paid my £70 and have never regretted it), and considering hard drive costs are down to 30-40 cents a Gigabyte, then the extra space costs are inconsequential. As most people only get a new OS with a new computer they will probably never even concern themselves with this point.

You didn't provide links to prove 'clunky' or 'privacy-invading', which doesn't surprise me.

The article you linked to for 'insecure' says "Microsoft, Kaspersky and Sophos think that you don't need kernel access to keep it safe from viruses, but Symantec and McAfee don't agree. They're bigger than the other two vendors and Microsoft is biased so they must be right".

Your final link takes the cake because it links to a list of blogs and none of them mention Microsoft at all.

So, why would you want to use Vista? You wouldn't. Nothing to do with usability, or features, but because you obviously prefer using Linux to the extent that you're prepared to parrot the FSF line without actually understanding it.

My plus points with Vista include:

- Playing MP3s and DVDs without breaking the law (fair law or not, still a law)
- Being able to play the latest games without needing a degree in Computer Science
- Being able to perform 99% of my system tasks without referring to the CLI

Re:Just some more... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19858913)

You didn't provide links to prove 'clunky' or 'privacy-invading', which doesn't surprise me.

Just what backwards planet are you from? This story is about privacy. Or scroll down today's submissions to..
http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/07/14/043200 [slashdot.org]

- Playing MP3s and DVDs without breaking the law (fair law or not, still a law)

DVDs & MP3s can be played legally in Linux, OSX & XP too.

- Being able to play the latest games without needing a degree in Computer Science

Only if you have a DX10 capable card with working drivers (which are still unstable) and don't mind your games running slower than they would /do under XP.

So, why would you want to use Vista? You wouldn't. Nothing to do with usability, or features, but because you obviously prefer using Linux to the extent that you're prepared to parrot the FSF line without actually understanding it.

And you obviously prefer spouting the usual Microsoft FUD rather than understanding or even reading the article.

Re:Just some more... (1)

sid0 (1062444) | more than 7 years ago | (#19858935)

> Or scroll down today's submissions to.. http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/07/14/043200 [slashdot.org] [slashdot.org]

Do you think that is actually INCLUDED in Vista? STFU.

> don't mind your games running slower than they would /do under XP.

What explains some games already running faster in Vista than in XP, then?

Re:Just some more... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19859077)

Do you think that is actually INCLUDED in Vista? STFU.

It will be in a service pack.

What explains some games already running faster in Vista than in XP, then?

Do you think that is actually INCLUDED in Vista? STFU. your words, not mine.. dumbass

Re:Just some more... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19859047)

This story is about privacy.
No, it's not. There's no privacy concern when you're talking about law enforcement having physical access to your computer, in the same way that there's no privacy concern when you leave your fingerprints at the scene of a crime.

DVDs & MP3s can be played legally in Linux
Only with patent-licensed codecs, which are few and far between, generally cost real money, and come as binary blobs making them all but useless for idealistic Linux users.

Only if you have a DX10 capable card with working drivers (which are still unstable) and don't mind your games running slower than they would /do under XP.
You have no idea, do you? I have an ATI 1900XTX (a DX9 card) and the drivers are 100% stable. Games also run at the same speed under Vista - I haven't noticed any difference either way.

And you obviously prefer spouting the usual Microsoft FUD rather than understanding or even reading the article.
No, I told the truth. I don't care if you use Linux or OSX, really I don't. However, don't tell me I'm in the wrong and a liar because I don't sit back and let people spout bullshit about things they don't understand.

Re:Just some more... (1)

Nullav (1053766) | more than 7 years ago | (#19859163)

You didn't provide links to prove 'clunky' or 'privacy-invading', which doesn't surprise me.
No data mining going on here. Nosirree. [softpedia.com] As for the 'clunky' part; well, you can't cite sources on opinions.

Playing MP3s and DVDs without breaking the law (fair law or not, still a law)
As long as you're whitelisting opinions here, I'd like to point out that you can do the same thing on Windows XP, Windows 2000, Windows Server 2003, Mac OS, et al.

Being able to play the latest games without needing a degree in Computer Science
You need a degree to click a link in KDE?

Being able to perform 99% of my system tasks without referring to the CLI
First off I'd like to take this opportunity to point out that you can't even check uptime on Windows' spit of a CLI, much less do anything important. Second, what's it like in 1999? How do you have Vista back there?

Damnit. I fed a troll again, didn't I?

Whoa! FUD alert (1, Insightful)

sid0 (1062444) | more than 7 years ago | (#19858781)

> It has a resource intensive "shiny" interface.

FUD. Yes, the interface is "shiny", and does use resources, but the main resource intensiveness comes from the new features (like indexing) and the fact that it is a fully hardware accelerated desktop. If you actually disable these new features, Vista runs the same as or faster than XP.

> It has levels of DRM heretofore unseen in an operating system.

There's ONE new DRM thingie over XP. ONE. YOU WILL NEVER EVER SEE DRM IF YOU DO NOT USE DRM FILES. Vote with your wallet. I don't use DRM'd files either. I rip CD music. Vista WILL NOT ADD DRM TO NON-DRM FILES.

> It is claimed that it is secure, yet still has gaping security holes.

You use one .NET article from TWO THOUSAND FUCKING FIVE, one BY DESIGN article and one article from JULY TWO THOUSAND FUCKING SIX to say that Vista has "gaping" holes. If that's the best you can do, I think Vista has mostly succeeded. :)

The fact is that there has been one exploit (ANI) so far, and due to UAC and IE protected mode (sandboxing) that exploit couldn't work in Vista as well as it did in XP.

> It is claimed that it is safe, yet has to be made un-safe for users to be able to do anything with it.

FUD. FUD. FUD. UAC DOES NOT HAVE TO BE DISABLED FOR A VISTA COMPUTER TO BE USABLE. I haven't seen a UAC prompt in weeks now -- of course, it helps that I've updated all my apps for them to not require admin permissions.

Go look at the Wikipedia article to know what triggers UAC. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User_Account_Control# Tasks_that_trigger_a_UAC_prompt [wikipedia.org] This is a perfectly reasonable list. All the points on that list deserve to be there.

> It is expensive

Not when you factor inflation in. In any case, a deal with Ultimate (this is the full edition) is available for US $165. http://software.pricegrabber.com/windows-family-os /m/30710428/search=Vista%20Ultimate/qlty=o [pricegrabber.com]

Most will need a Home Premium upgrade, which starts from LESS THAN $100. http://software.pricegrabber.com/windows-family-os /m/31221707/ [pricegrabber.com]

> clunky

WTF?

> space consuming

Not when you factor the new things in. If you remove speech recognition, C/J/K language support, Media Center, and a few other things (eg using vLite) an install of Vista comes to around 3.5 GB. Anyway, hard drives are big enough for it, it isn't too much of a factor now.

> privacy invading

Oh dear, more unsubstantiated FUD. Why am I not surprised?

> insecure

The FUD this time, for a change, is not from you, but from Symantec. The fact is that better companies like Eset have no problems programming for Vista. Symantec uses several KERNEL HOOKS which are disallowed in Vista x64, in favour of Microsoft APIs.

> unsafe, and is more interested in protecting the interests of major Hollywood distributors than its users.

I'm tired of this BS. Look above.

Get your facts straight first before starting your standard FUD.

Re:Just some more... (3, Informative)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 7 years ago | (#19858463)

Why are the good points about Vista never mentioned on Slashdot?

Because there aren't any. Seriously. I've been using Vista (Business) all summer; I should know. Yes, it has fancy GPU-accelerated graphics. But they don't do me any good because they suck my battery life (it's the difference between lasting through a lecture worth of note-taking in OneNote, or not). Yes, it has better support for Tablet PCs... but only ever so slightly better. Other than that, the only differences I notice between it and XP are all negative: shitty or missing drivers, annoying bugs, infuriating UAC (if it asked me to confirm an action once, it'd be okay. But it often asks me twice: once by the app, and once by the OS). It's so bad that -- even though Tablet PC users should have the most improved experience in Vista of any group -- I'm switching either back to XP or to Ubuntu once the semester is over.

Re:Just some more... (4, Insightful)

adamwright (536224) | more than 7 years ago | (#19858855)

Disclaimer: I use Mac laptops, Linux servers, and Windows desktops (in the main). I am *not* a Microsoft shill.

Right, karma to burn. How the hell is this "Informative"? "+5 Groupthink", or "+5 Telling me what I want to hear", sure. But there is no information here at all - Vista does have some "good features", regardless of what some people think. Answering your points specifically

1) Eye Candy: If you don't like it, turn it off.
2) Missing or shitting drivers: I have not noticed, nor do I know anyone who has noticed, Vista not supporting hardware that XP supported. Shitty drivers, well, this is a more reasonable concern, but it applies in my experience only to graphics, and then only to people for whom a 5-10% drop in performance (until nVidia get their ass in gear) is a "shitty problem". It's *vastly* better than Linux in this regard.
3) UAC: You're doing it wrong. I have not seen a UAC prompt that wasn't because I launched an app that required admin priviledges for weeks. Sure, when you're setting up the system, you get them a lot - much like in Linux, where you prefix half the first weeks commands with "sudo". After that, if you're seeing it more than once or twice a week, you need to seriously look at what kinds of software you're running that constantly need "root" access.

As to a sample of "good points"

1) New graphics and sound stack is vastly superior - I can set sound volume on a per application basis, automatically, using an simple interface built right in. No more stupid Flash in Firefox blaring away at 80db when I'm listening to music via iTunes.
2) Integrated search - Works as well as Spotlight for me, and I thought Spotlight was the best thing since sliced bread.
3) UAC - Yes, in my eyes, this is a good thing (and the biggest step forward in Vista). Windows no longer uses an "Admin for everything" model, something most people have been crying out for it do have for years.

Does it add anything *huge* over OS X, or even XP? No. Since when has a new OS release added anything world changing? They have been, since OS X 10.0, Linux 2 and Windows 2000, incremental. Is the DRM stuff a bad route? Yes. Does Vista use too many resources? Well, the idle footprint over my OS X machine isn't significantly greater - I would say it *does* use a too much, but frankly, as my machine is fairly modern, I don't notice. In many operations, it's faster than XP.

Should we all move to desktop Ubuntu? I don't know - I use Linux on servers, but it's still not ready for desktops, in my eyes. A technically semi-literate friend installed it on his Laptop, as someone had preached too him, and it *mostly* worked - except sound, which was a huge pain in the ass, and even I (with years of Linux experience) couldn't make work. Mostly is not good enough (he bought an OS X laptop to replace it, and is very happy). When Linux sorts out these issues, and gets a decent suite of end user software (no, Openoffice is not good enough to be an Office replacement), I might consider putting friends and familiy onto it.

Is Vista the devil? No. It's no worse than XP, and has several significant features that make it better, much like XP over 2000.

Re:Just some more... (1)

SubliminalVortex (942332) | more than 7 years ago | (#19859095)

With Regards to your bad points:

1) Eye Candy: I like to turn it off, it always wastes CPU cycles and most people don't know when you need the extra ones to burn.

2) Missing or shitting drivers: Well, unless you own a business that relies on 3rd party hardware to automate your company, I suppose it's a *very* reasonable concern, especially to those companies relying on hardware from third-party companies that may have been deep-sixed. You wanna step in and write the drivers for them? (and like your complaint about video, make sure they are just as expediant and bug-free as before?)

3) UAC, i.e. "you're doing it wrong". For that, I give you kudos. Many times people run applications that require too many permissions; however, on the downside, too many applications are written that require those permissions when they really don't need them. From a developer's prospective, that's a good thing.

I'm afraid I cannot comment further on the 'good' points you mention, because I already noted the one good one you brought up.

However, I will say this: *upgrading* to Vista seems *like* the devil incarnate; buying a new machine, however, (which hasn't outright *lied* about its ability to use it *cough* Dell) might be an advantage for any soon to be prison inmate. Heck, the average serial killer will probably be released by the time Service Pack 3 for Vista is due for public consumption, just-in-time for a new lawyer to gather evidence.

Oh, and I don't like Windows XP any more than I do 2000, especially since I made the changes to have the interface look the same. (Smart move on their part.)

Re:Just some more... (1)

EveryNickIsTaken (1054794) | more than 7 years ago | (#19858471)

I finally got my first look at Vista yesterday. I'd heard the horror stories and have since avoided it like the plague, but I got the random "Wah, fix my computer" call... After spending an hour removing bloatware and random MS crap utilities, I finally freed up enough system resources to play around a bit, and needless to say, I am not impressed. I don't consider this FUD - Vista actually DOES suck the big one.

Re:Just some more... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19858659)

They do mention the good stuff, don't they? Shadow Copies, TxF, Instant Search...
People who need to keep their computing history private will know to encrypt their block devices and disable unnecessary indexing and data safekeeping. People who are too dumb or lazy to do that are going to get bitten by random "marked as deleted" filesystem remnants on any OS. People who accidentally delete their master thesis on the day before it's due will thank Bill Gates for Shadow Copies. People who buy cheap power supplies will thank Bill Gates for TxF when their computer crashes due to a short voltage spike and their data remains consistent (or they will curse him because they think Vista crashed and they don't know what kept them safe).

Re:Just some more... (1)

SubliminalVortex (942332) | more than 7 years ago | (#19859137)

Save your game... Save often. That's the answer to "dumb or lazy".

Re:Just some more... (2, Interesting)

bl8n8r (649187) | more than 7 years ago | (#19858705)

> Vista is actually selling quite well
No, Vista is being pre-installed on new computers.
Vista is not selling well, people do not want it, and
companies are being told to stay away from it*

> and many people I know are using it without any complaints.
Many people I know are switching to Ubuntu. See how that statement works?

> Why are the good points about Vista never mentioned on Slashdot?
Um because most of the people that come here just see history repeating
itself.

[*]
http://www.tech.co.uk/computing/software/operating -systems/features/why-nobody-wants-windows-vista [tech.co.uk]
http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/nov 2006/tc20061129_739121.htm [businessweek.com]
http://www.theinquirer.net/default.aspx?article=37 721 [theinquirer.net]

Re:Just some more... (1)

Muledeer007 (1127983) | more than 7 years ago | (#19858813)

"Vista is selling well" - pure spin -- why not check on the huge number of requests to MS to down grade to XP -- actually from a cash flow analysis this was a good plan -- make users pay for two OS's -- I have personally loaded XP on over 24 laptops (lots of friends and relatives) that were recently purchased with Vista installed - I used all their mothballed legitimate XP licenses (everyone has plenty of those lying around) and now the machines fly. I don't care about lawyers and subpoenas -- how about something user-friendly - I'm a hair's breath from Linux Mule

Re:Just some more... (1)

sid0 (1062444) | more than 7 years ago | (#19858887)

Well, companies have always waited before deploying a new OS -- and for good reason too. Vista is definitely not bug free.

Your first article: December 2006. It makes the point that there are no new 'killer' features in Vista. Are you aware that most of the new Vista features are back-end? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technical_features_ne w_to_Windows_Vista [wikipedia.org] Back-end features simply cannot be appreciated by the average user. I'd expect better from the Slashdot user, of course.
Second: November 2006. As I said.
Third: February 2007. Pretty old, and times have changed since then.

Vista has good points? (1)

Prototerm (762512) | more than 7 years ago | (#19858777)

Pah-leeze!
To date, I have made two honest attempts to switch from XP to Vista, and both times I ended up wiping the Vista install and going back to XP. First of all, not all hardware from XP is supported (I suspect the new DRM requirements in the OS for my difficulties here), and some of the hardware that is supported suffers from buggy drivers (e.g., nVidia). Then, there's the user interface. Not as ugly as XP's Fischer-Price interface, but nothing to write home about, either. I'd rather not waste the CPU and GPU cycles on it, thank you very much. Then, they *moved* everything around. I waste more time trying to find things I know are there, but which the Boys in Redmond decided in their infinite wisdom to move. The first example that comes to mind is mapping a network drive. Why the heck they moved it off the My Computer (what do they call it now, "Bill's Computer"?) window I'll never know. There are a lot of other examples. Then, there's the fact that Vista is a big fat pig when it comes to resources.

I have too much work to do on a computer to bother with this nonsense. Even if I bought a new computer, which would solve the hardware problems, I'd probably want Vista off it for something (anything) else. When XP came out, I upgraded right away, and was happy with it, even though at the time it, too, was a bloated pig. But not this time. Sorry. I gave it the old college try, but Vista's just a piece of crap.

Re:Vista has good points? (0, Flamebait)

sid0 (1062444) | more than 7 years ago | (#19858919)

> First of all, not all hardware from XP is supported (I suspect the new DRM requirements in the OS for my difficulties here)

You can suspect anything you like. Doesn't make it true, however.

> Then, there's the user interface. Not as ugly as XP's Fischer-Price interface, but nothing to write home about, either.

I kind of like it. I hate all the themes that come with an Ubuntu default install. Pretty subjective.

> I'd rather not waste the CPU and GPU cycles on it, thank you very much.

Then turn it off. Go ahead.

> The first example that comes to mind is mapping a network drive. Why the heck they moved it off the My Computer (what do they call it now, "Bill's Computer"?) window I'll never know.

They haven't. Stop lying your ass off. And no, it's just "Computer".

> Then, there's the fact that Vista is a big fat pig when it comes to resources.

For several reasons. Tell me, did XP have full-fledged system-wide indexing of files? Did XP have a fully composited hardware-accelerated desktop.

> I gave it the old college try, but Vista's just a piece of crap.

"I gave it the old college try, but Ubuntu's just a piece of crap hurrrr."

Re:Vista has good points? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19859143)

>> Then, there's the fact that Vista is a big fat pig when it comes to resources.
>For several reasons. Tell me, did XP have full-fledged system-wide indexing of files? Did XP have a fully composited hardware-accelerated desktop.
who gives a shit what XP did or didnt have, it was surpassed by other operating systems years ago, all of which include all those feature with none of the resource hogging

Re:Vista has good points? (1)

DrDitto (962751) | more than 7 years ago | (#19859033)

I bought Vista, have been using it for a few months, and I am happy. I like the UI better and the little touches make a difference for me. The things they "moved around" make logical sense to me. Have you tried Office 2007? Everything is moved around, but the UI is a fantastic improvement.

PS-- I've used Linux since 1995. I use it all day at work for the last 7 years. I've tried it on a home PC several times in the last decade. I prefer Windows. Shoot me. In fact, I prefer Windows to OS/X which I've also tried.

Remote store. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19858345)

Why do they still need your computer to get this information when they could get it from Microsoft's copy?

Progress? (3, Funny)

simp (25997) | more than 7 years ago | (#19858357)

So now with shadow copy Vista not only saves all versions of goatse and tubgirl that I ever will encounter, I'm most likely unable to remove all traces to those pictures from my machine. And with instant search everybody can find them easily.

Now that's progress.

Search Progress? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19858393)

"And with instant search everybody can find them easily."

Of course Macs don't have anything like that.

How secure.... (0, Flamebait)

Mystery00 (1100379) | more than 7 years ago | (#19858371)

But from a litigator's perspective, the interesting point is that it keeps a lot more information--and more detailed information--about what a person does with a PC.

Microsoft is reading this article and thinking "Heh, interesting side effect..." when later questioned their response will be "Yes, we meant that."

Also one would think that one of the ways to make an OS, or anything for that matter, secure, is to not only plug possible breach points from the outside, but also not to keep detailed information on the computer in the first place. When you do it, you do it by choice, if keeping information about you is in-built into the OS, then where is the choice? Can this be turned off? (Other than hacks)

Vista is proving time and time again that it's a ridiculously stupid OS choice for any user, it's as if Microsoft is trying their best to screw themselves. Is it stupidity or is there some kind of master plan at work here that isn't clearly visible....

Re:How secure.... (1)

achbed (97139) | more than 7 years ago | (#19859123)

Microsoft is reading this article and thinking "Heh, interesting side effect..." when later questioned their response will be "Yes, we meant that."

And M$'s lawyers are saying "Hell with eating our own dog food. Let's ban Vista from all managers' desktops!"

Anyone wanna try to order discovery on M$'s systems regarding settlement compliance?

How is this possible? I reinstall Win every week (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19858395)

To make sure my Windows is running at peak efficiency and performance, I got into the habit of completely reinstalling Windows every Thursday at 10am.
This habit was developed during Win95, WinSE, WinXP SP1, and WinVista Beta

What? There was evidence there? Ooops, sorry... my standard operating procedure wipes the disk once a week.

Re:How is this possible? I reinstall Win every wee (1)

Nerdgasm (714484) | more than 7 years ago | (#19858515)

Hopefully you aren't alluding to the fact that you FORMAT your hard drive every week as a good security practice. Since you didn't specify your procedure, I'm going to assume that you do at least one complete disk overwrite before reinstalling Windows

FIRST POST!! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19858561)

YES!! FIRST POST!!!!! I FINALLY GOT IT!!!!!! gooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo oooooo

Re:FIRST POST!! (0, Offtopic)

Bin Naden (910327) | more than 7 years ago | (#19858979)

YES!! FIRST POST!!!!! I FINALLY GOT IT!!!!!! gooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo oooooo

I'll assume you're using internet explorer under Vista?

That's why... (0, Troll)

one_red_eye (962010) | more than 7 years ago | (#19858573)

... my disks are encrypted [gentoo-wiki.com]

'dd if=/dev/urandom of=/dev/sda' FTW

Re:That's why... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19858711)

I tried that and could no longer access my computer! I had to post this from another machine! Thanks a lot jerk!

MOD PARENT DOWN! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19858799)

Parent is trying to destroy your data

That's why... (2, Informative)

DrEldarion (114072) | more than 7 years ago | (#19858885)

... my disks are encrypted [microsoft.com]

Re:That's why... (1)

Bin Naden (910327) | more than 7 years ago | (#19858993)

... my disks are encrypted

...with a proprietary encryption software that Microsoft probably has backdoors to.

Vista bad? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19858609)

So backups kept on a disk, beagle's and spotlight's indices don't help in forensic PC exam at all, but Vista's shadow copy, which can be cleaned up with a few mouse clicks, instant search that can be either turned off or reset easily and TxF being generally a Good Thing ARE BAD, 'cause they're in Vista!

omg lolz Microsoft sux0rz!!!!!1111one

Message to criminals: Use Linux (5, Funny)

Alain Williams (2972) | more than 7 years ago | (#19858641)

I can see the headlines now: "Criminals use Linux because MS Vista makes forensics easy".

Then: you are using Linux, what have you got to hide ?

The next step is: Only criminals use Linux

I have just realised: I am typing this at a Linux box. I had better go down and turn myself in at the cop shop.

Re:Message to criminals: Use Linux (1)

mgiuca (1040724) | more than 7 years ago | (#19859031)

As shown by this article, Microsoft is dedicated to freedom of information and sharing, while Linux is all about secrecy and locking information away! Boy did you Slashdot nerds bet on the wrong pony!

Not to worry (-1, Troll)

harris s newman (714436) | more than 7 years ago | (#19858701)

If you do nothing wrong, you have nothing to worry about. Perhaps you need clients who are more honerable?

Re:Not to worry (4, Insightful)

arashi no garou (699761) | more than 7 years ago | (#19858871)

Spoken like a true totalitarian. What happens when the laws change and the perfectly legal and moral things I do on my computer become immoral and illegal according to the government? Sorry bud, but I'll hang on to my privacy.

bassackwards (1)

LordKazan (558383) | more than 7 years ago | (#19858879)

No, we need a government that is more honorable that doesn't engage in unconstitutional search and seizure, that respect privacy, that doesn't go on fishing trips in your data storage. Crypto is there to protect you from this, use it.

PS: the "if you don't have anything to hide.. blah blah" argument is a load of horseapples and only a MORON doesn't know that.

Easy fix to this (1, Funny)

Bearhouse (1034238) | more than 7 years ago | (#19858785)

Following on from the runaway success of this http://ubuntusatanic.org/news/ [ubuntusatanic.org] and this http://tinyurl.com/nq9ut [tinyurl.com] , I'm sure we'll soon have MAFIA, paedophile and Goatse *nix distros...the demand is there, c'mon RedHat, what are you waiting for?

Nothing too new about this.... (2, Interesting)

SubliminalVortex (942332) | more than 7 years ago | (#19858865)

For quite some time, it's become easier to find out anyone's business as they used their computer, even in Windows XP. It just seems that with Window Vista, it's easier to make the discovery. Keep in mind, it's not just the operating system doing the copies, but it's also applications that do so as well.

From the "temporarily copied" documents viewed in Microsoft Outlook, to the cached images stored by Internet Explorer, and still yet to the meta-data stored in Word documents. (There have a been a few times I have read a Word document meant to be anonymous only to find the creator in the document's properties.)

While it might take the career of the computer forensic scientist down a peg and be a boon for any prosecutor, it does nothing more than make it easier to find information that hasn't been deleted by force from its owner.

Don't be surprised if the market now swarms with applications that will allow you to 'view' data while wiping all trace evidence after it's been seen; or still yet allowing you to create documents that are completely wiped of meta-data. Sure, you won't be able to find something unless the search has to delegate to its bits and bytes, but at least they can't find someone's manifesto by name. (Of course, you have to be sure that it wasn't e-mailed.)

It's encroachment on privacy like this that creates entirely new markets for people to leech from the truly paranoid; which seems to be quite a majority of the population since everyone seems to have some skeleton in their closet.

On a funny note, this one co-worker had an embarrassing image pop up every time he went to print; the image itself was attached to an e-mail from a co-worker who loved to send around joke e-mails. He wasn't able to get rid of the image from the preview, until I pointed him to the directory (which is stamped in the registry) where Outlook stores its temporary files (usually most attachments, images, etc.) Apparently this fellow never opens any e-mail from this co-worker anymore.

And A Lawyer's Duties Are .. ? (0, Troll)

Toad-san (64810) | more than 7 years ago | (#19858905)

'From a [legal] defense perspective, [Vista] scares me to death. One of the things I have a hard time educating my clients on is the volume of data that's now discoverable.'

Soooo .. educate your miscreant clients on how to safely violate the law. What's the best way to commit your crimes while leaving the fewest traces. "This is how you murder someone, and here's how to make a silencer, and here's how to make a car bomb."

Sigh ...

First, let's kill all the lawyers.

Re:And A Lawyer's Duties Are .. ? (1)

willabr (684561) | more than 7 years ago | (#19859057)

"Congress make forensic PC Exam Easier"

There, fixed the headline.

(il)legitimate FUD attempt. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19859099)

Why is noone mentioning that features like Shadow Copying, Instant Searches and such are among the most requested in the Linux world? (Beagle, anyone? Or Quicksilver for OSX, anyone?) I for one think that the Vista Shadow Copy is a useful feature, both for my grandparents and for me and my colleagues at work. Not that I use it, since I'm an Ubuntu convertee, but the concept seems good. Not EVERYTHING Microsoft creates is done by pure evil.

Computer OS (3, Interesting)

Skiron (735617) | more than 7 years ago | (#19859101)

What is forgotten here is an OS really should be an OS - designed to run the computer and what not.

Now, when that OS has deliberate code to track and monitor a users 'usage', it really is no more a tool to run a computer, but rather a tool to watch a user. The main job of that code is absolute control of the computer taken away from the user.

MS have been trying to do this for years, and now it looks like they have succeeded ~ and the sheep follow and buy the crap.

It is pretty scary that this succeeds at all. I mean, nobody in their right mind would buy a car that recorded every single journey and 'phoned home' every time you exceeded a speed limit, or the car stopped at changing traffic lights, even though you didn't need to... the world would be in uproar and the car would most definitely not sell at all.

Yet the sheep still but this crap...

All these things coming to a MAC near you == GREAT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19859177)

Ummm. Yeah. But when MAC has Shadow Copy it's the coolest thing under the sun. WTF!!? What a lame-ass article.
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