Promised changes to security features in Microsoft’s forthcoming Vista operating system could take years to deliver, leaving users with incompatibility problems, analysts have warned.
Microsoft has been forced to promise changes to meet the European Commission’s antitrust requirements in two areas of Vista’s security features: the PatchGuard, the protection mechanism for the kernel in the 64-bit version, and the Windows Security Centre.
But industry analyst Gartner warned that the changes would not be complete in time for the initial release of Vista. "The time frame for PatchGuard changes will span years and cause incompatibility problems in the interim,” a Gartner research note said.
Gartner analyst Neil MacDonald warned businesses using or considering host-based intrusion prevention system (HIPS), or host based content monitoring and filtering products, that many of these products would not deliver full functionality using 64-bit Vista.
“Do not plan for initial use of 64-bit Vista if you are using incompatible products for which no suitable alternative exists,” he said.
Businesses that were not planning HIPS systems should still be aware that most converged desktop security software products would include behavioral HIPS capabilities, so migration to 64-bit Windows may be delayed.