CESG, the Information Assurance (IA) arm of GCHQ, has given the green light to Windows 7 and is encouraging government departments to upgrade to the operating system.
"CESG has a proactive approach to partnering with industry leaders and because of our strategic partnership with Microsoft, we have been able to produce guidance on using Windows 7 for all government bodies," said Jonathan Hoyle, director general at CESG.
Microsoft's full disk encryption feature, Bitlocker; has been deemed suitable for use up to Business Impact Level 3 by CESG, meeting the needs of most government users, it said.
Microsoft will continue to work with CESG on security issues, said Nicola Hodson, general manager at Microsoft Public Sector UK. "We are making considerable investments to increase the security of our technology and to provide implementation guides and training based on industry best practices," she added.
In August the government refused to upgrade Internet Explorer 6 from running on most of its computers, despite security concerns that IE6 attracts cyber attackers because it lacks up-to-date security features.