Windows 7 SKU Strategy Detailed, More Flaws in Windows 7 UAC
Article by George Norman
On 04 Feb 2009
It seems the rumors launched back when the first screenshots of Windows 7 Build 7025 were leaked online are true and Microsoft will put out 6 different versions of Windows 7 when the OS will reach RTM (release to manufacturing) status. In related news, the security researcher that discovered a rather nasty flaw in Windows 7 UAC (User Account control) is once again blowing the whistle on Microsoft, who by the way declared it does not consider this a security problem and will not address is in the stable version of Windows 7.

“With Windows 7 there will be two primary editions: Windows 7 Home Premium, and Windows 7 Professional. We think those two SKUs will meet most customers’ needs. Windows 7 Home Premium is the recommended choice for consumers. It gives them a full-function PC experience and a visually rich environment in everything from the way they experience entertainment to the way they connect their devices. And certainly there is also a small set of customers who want everything Windows 7 has to offer. So we will continue to have Windows 7 Ultimate edition to meet that specialized need,” Windows General Manager Mike Ybarra commented in an interview for Microsoft PressPass.

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Here is a quick list of Windows 7 versions that will be made available in the future:
1. Windows 7 Starter for people on a tight budget or running low powered machines (netbooks); provides the ability to join a Home Group, improved taskbar and JumpLists; available worldwide through OEMs (original equipment manufacturers).
2. Windows 7 Home Basic features Live Thumbnail Preview, advanced networking support and Mobility center; available only in emerging markets.
3. Windows 7 Home Premium features Aero Glass, advanced networking, enhanced media support, multi-touch and handwriting recognition; available worldwide.
4. Windows 7 Professional features Domain Join, advanced network backup and Encrypting File System, Location Aware Printing; available worldwide.
5. Windows 7 Enterprise features BitLocker security, seamless network connectivity with DirectAccess, BranchCache for office workers, and AppLocker to lock unauthorized software; volume licenses.
6. Windows 7 Ultimate is feature complete and available worldwide.

If you are in the “developed world”, not in emerging markets, all you need to focus upon are Windows 7 Home Premium, Professional and Ultimate because the other versions will not be made available in your country (Starter will, but that is only if you want an OS that performs on the most basic of functions). No details though on how much the operating system will actually cost.

In terms of OS security, the less intrusive UAC featured in Windows 7 means that someone with malicious intent could disable it altogether. This is the first flaw that Long Zheng discovered. He is now back warning of a second vulnerability affecting the UAC (user account control).

“In summary, a second UAC security flaw in the Windows 7 beta’s default security configuration allows a malicious application to autonomously elevate themselves to full administrative privileges without UAC prompts or turning UAC off. A result I’m sure cannot be classified as “by design,” Long Zheng explains.



Tags: Microsoft, Windows, Windows 7, UAC, SKU
About the author: George Norman
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Windows 7 SKU Strategy Detailed, More Flaws in Windows 7 UAC
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