Windows Vista Terms You Need To Know
Access control list (ACL)
A list of access control entries (ACEs) that contain permissions defining who or what can access the object to which it is applied.
A technology developed by Microsoft that is an outgrowth of Object Linking and Embedding (OLE) and Component Object Model (COM), which allows Web developers to make Web pages interactive and provide the same types of functions as Java applets.
Ad hoc wireless network
An 802.11 wi-fi network that operates in a computer-to-computer manner instead of going through a wireless access point (WAP).
A default setting in which Vista runs most applications with standard user permission even when logged on with an administrative account; requires permission to elevate privileges when necessary.
The new user interface for Windows Vista, except for the Start and Home Basic editions.
The most sophisticated and graphics-intensive theme for the Aero interface. It provides 3-D animation, transparency, and other eye candy visual effects and requires a higher level of system resources and a DirectX 9-capable video card.
Software that uses definition files and/or heuristics to detect known or potential spyware on a computer, alert the user, and/or remove or quarantine the spyware.
See "Windows Presentation Foundation" (WPF).
A command-line tool in Windows Vista for creating and reconfiguring the bootloader, which no longer uses the boot.ini file.
A security feature in the Enterprise and Ultimate editions of Windows Vista that provides encryption of the entire operating system volume using a TPM chip (see definition) or a USB key.
A Defender option that scans only those locations you specify.
Defender (see Windows Defender)
A feature built into Windows Vista with which you can search for files by name (or partial name), date, author, and many other properties, directly from the Start menu.
Desktop Windows Manager (DWM)
A windowing system in Windows Vista editions that support Aero (all except Starter and Home Basic), which handles drawing of content to the screen.
Encrypting File System (EFS)
An encryption method based on digital certificates, which is built into Windows 2000, XP, 2003, and Vista; it allows users to protect the confidentiality of their data on a per-file or per-folder basis.
In the Windows firewall, programs, services, or ports you unblock so its packets can go through.
A new feature that gives an application its own virtualized view of a resource it is attempting to modify.
Different firewall configurations for different situations; for example, one profile might be used when connecting to the corporate LAN, another when connected to a home network, and yet another when connected to a public wi-fi hotspot.
The new window management feature in Windows Vista that allows you to flip through thumbnails of open windows using [Alt][Tab]. With Flip 3D, using the Windows key + [Tab], you can flip through a three-dimensional stack of currently running windows with the scroll wheel on the mouse or trackball.
A Defender option that scans the entire computer (all files and folders on the hard drive).
In the Defender context, a method of determining what programs are likely to be spyware based on their behavior and patterns before they have been identified by definitions.
The Internet Control Message Protocol, used for error reporting and troubleshooting. ICMP echo request and echo reply messages are used by the popular Ping command.
The new Web browser included in Windows Vista (a version of which is also available for Windows XP), which provides tabbed browsing, new security mechanisms, and other enhancements.
A new mode of operation for IE 7 in Windows Vista that utilizes Vista's User Account Control (UAC) to isolate IE from other applications and prevent add-ons from writing content to any location except the Temporary Internet Files folder without user permission.
Internet Information Services (IIS) 7.0
Web server software built into Windows Vista, which has been rewritten with a modular architecture and stores Web server configuration information in XML files instead of the metabase.
Internet Protocol Security, a standard mechanism for providing authentication, integrity, and confidentiality at the network layer to packets while traveling across an IP network.
The next generation of the Internet Protocol (IP) that forms the Network Layer component of the TCP/IP protocol suite; it expands the address space by using 128-bit addresses (as compared to the 32-bit addresses used by IPv4) and includes better security mechanisms.
An authentication standard that works by having a centralized server grant "tickets" that are recognized by other servers hosting resources on the network. It's supported by Windows 2000, XP, Server 2003, Vista, and Longhorn, as well as UNIX operating systems.
Applications written pre-Vista that are not UAC compliant.
Microsoft Management Console, a standardized interface into which you can plug snap-ins to perform different administrative tasks.
A new client feature supported by Windows Vista that provides for monitoring and isolation of computers on a Longhorn server-based network that do not meet administrator-defined health status requirements.
A new Control Panel applet in Windows Vista through which users can see the status of their network connections and make configuration changes.
This replaces Windows XP's My Network Places; it's an interface through which users browse the network in Windows Vista.
A new feature in Windows Vista that graphically represents how devices are connected on the network.
Projectors connected to the local network, which can be discovered by Vista via search or by entering the projector's URL or UNC name and accessed over the network.
NT LAN Manager authentication based on a challenge/response process between the client and server. Supported by Windows NT and later Microsoft operating systems. NTLMv2 is a cryptographically stronger version.
A new feature in Windows Vista that allows parents to more easily monitor and manage children's computer usage on family computers. It's set up and configured through a Control Panel applet and allows you to restrict Web access, set time limits, create rules to control what games can be played, block specific programs, and get daily reports of children's activities.
Windows Vista service for allowing applications to discover other Vista users on the local subnet, which uses Web Service Discovery (WS-Discovery) to publish users' names, computer names, IP addresses, and ports on which the service is listening.
A type of technology-based social engineering ploy in which computers users are directed, usually via e-mail, to a Web site that purports to be that of a bank, loan company, credit card company, e-commerce merchant, governmental agency, or other site that requires users to enter confidential information, such as account passwords, account numbers, social security numbers, and other personal data that is collected and used for identity theft.
A new feature in Internet Explorer 7 that warns users about potentially fraudulent Web sites and blocks such sites.
A method used by viruses and other malicious software that exploits a legitimate account or process and runs with the same level of privileges.
A new tab in the Properties sheet for files in Windows Vista that lets you access read-only snapshots of the files from an earlier point in time (known as Volume Shadow Copy in Windows Server 2003).
Principle of least privilege
A security model under which all accounts run with the lowest possible level of privileges that will allow them to do their jobs.
A Defender option that scans only locations commonly infected by spyware.
A new disk caching technology in Windows Vista by which computers can utilize the memory on a USB 2.0 flash memory device or card with 256MB to 4 GB of memory, or extra RAM on other networked PCs, to enhance system performance.
A Defender feature that alerts you immediately when suspected spyware attempts to install itself or run.
Remote Assistance (RA)
An application built into Windows XP, 2003, and Vista; it enables experienced users or help desk personnel to see and control the desktop of a novice user's computer from a remote location to help troubleshoot problems or demonstrate how to perform tasks.
Services that run under lower privileges.
Use of a simplified programming language (calling scripting language) to create a set of instructions for a Web page.
A new tool in Windows Vista that allows you to save search criteria so it can be used again to run the same search, displaying updated information.
The darkened desktop that appears when the UAC dialog box is open, indicating that the desktop is locked and can't be interacted with.
In the Defender context, software that monitors specific files, programs, or settings for indications of spyware infection.
Security Identifier (SID)
A unique value assigned to an object by which it is identified.
A technique used in Internet Explorer to allow you to assign different levels of security to different sets of Web sites depending on where they're located or how much you trust them. For example, if you consider a site to be untrustworthy, you can place it in the Restricted zone; if you know it's safe, you can place it in the Trusted zone. Sites on the Internet will, by default, have tighter security imposed than those on an intranet.
Service Control Manager (SCM)
The Windows component that maintains a database of installed services and manages each service's state.
A Vista security mechanism enabling services to isolate themselves from other services.
Programs that are managed in Windows by the Service Control Manager (SCM).
A Vista security mechanism that prevents user accounts and user applications from running in session 0, reserving it for services and other applications not associated with a user logon.
A symbol indicating that the operation performed by clicking a button marked with this icon requires administrative privileges.
An area on the Vista desktop that contains the user's choice of "gadgets," such as clocks, memory/CPU monitoring meters, calendars, weather information applets, dictionaries, and slideshows. Several gadgets are included with Vista and additional ones can be downloaded from the Windows Vista Gallery on the Microsoft Web site.
Technology in Windows Vista that allows hardware vendors to put a small secondary display in the cover of a portable computer, on a Media Center remote control, in a keyboard, etc., to view critical information such as e-mail without opening or turning on the computer.
A new screen capture application in Windows Vista that allows you to take screenshots of areas you define and mark on or to highlight them, save them, copy them, or send them in e-mail.
Now integrated into the operating system in Windows Vista, it allows users to control the computer through voice commands and dictate into some applications.
The Microsoft online community that shares information about spyware and potential spyware to CA
Certification authority; a trusted third-party that issues digital certificates to verify the identity of users and computers.
Malicious software that is installed without the knowledge or permission of the user (often in conjunction with other, legitimate software) and that collects information about the user or computer and may send it back to the spyware maker.
Transport Layer Security (TLS) is the successor to Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), which was originally developed by Netscape to make e-commerce transactions over the Internet safer. It uses public key (asymmetric) encryption and digital certificates to assure users that the Web servers with which they're doing business have had their identity verified (authentication) and symmetric encryption, such as DES/3DES or AES, to encrypt traffic.
The process of allowing or blocking data packets based on the contents of a "state table" that is maintained by a firewall.
A new Control Panel applet in Windows Vista that provides a centralized interface for managing synchronization tasks.
Trusted Platform Module (TPM)
A chip on the motherboard of some computers that can be used in conjunction with Vista's BitLocker feature to provide whole volume encryption.
User Account Control (UAC)
A security technology in Windows Vista that reduces exposure to attacks by running in nonadministrative mode, even when logged on with an administrative account, unless and until administrative privileges are required to perform a task. Users must give explicit permission to elevate to administrative mode and enter administrative credentials.
Windows Display Driver Model, the new graphics driver model supported by Windows Vista that's required for display of the full Aero Glass effects.
A new application built into Windows Vista that provides some of the same functionality as Outlook's calendaring feature and supports the iCalendar format. It also allows sharing and publishing of calendars.
The new personal information management (PIM) application built into Windows Vista that replaces the Windows Address Book (WAB); it's based on XML files.
A new feature in Windows Vista for migrating settings from a Windows 2000 or XP computer to a Windows Vista computer, accessed from the Accessories | System Tools menu.
An anti-spyware solution built into Windows Vista and configurable through the Control Panel applet or Security Center.
A new application included in premium editions of Vista for creating/burning DVDs.
A benchmarking tool built into Vista that analyzes various subsystems and reports on performance in comparison to other Windows Vista systems.
Windows Firewall with Advanced Security
A new feature in Windows Vista that extends the basic built-in firewall to provide for blocking of both inbound and outbound connections and configuration of separate domain, private network, and public network profiles.
Windows Imaging Format (WIM)
A file-based disk image format supported by Windows Vista.
The e-mail client included in Windows Vista, which replaces Outlook Express and stores messages as individual files instead of in a binary database for better searching and less chance of corruption.
An application included in Windows Vista Home Premium and Ultimate editions, previously available in Media Center Edition of Windows XP, for organizing and playing music, videos, and recorded television programs. It has digital video recorder (DVR) functionality on computers that have TV tuner cards installed.
A peer-to-peer networking application built into Windows Vista for sharing desktop, programs, files, notes, and presentations among up to 10 users. It replaces Microsoft NetMeeting.
A new Control Panel applet in Windows Vista that provides a central interface for configuration information relating to mobile computers; included in Home Premium, Business, Enterprise, and Ultimate editions.
A new application in Windows Vista manages graphics and videos, imports from digital cameras, and allows for basic image editing.
Windows Preinstallation Environment (Windows P.E.) 2.0
The basis of the Vista setup process, which runs the entire setup in a graphical interface, doing away with the initial text-based portion of setup used by previous operating systems.
The programming interface for creating applications integrated into the Vista core functions, which was code named Avalon.
A new security feature in Windows Vista that protects services from being compromised by running them under more limited accounts.