Security Enhancements for Windows 7

As the new Windows 7 operating system hits the market, you are probably wondering where it stacks up with the security features of Windows Vista which up until now has been the most secure version of Windows.

Windows 7 has taken Windows Vista to the next level by adding more security enhancements to the Windows operating system. Here are some of the ways that Microsoft has improved on Windows security features to provide you with a more secure computing experience.

Fingerprint Scanner

Instead of using the conventional username and password to access your PC, Windows 7 contains fingerprint scanning capability through the use of a Biometric Device that you configure with the Windows 7 operating system.

You can configure the Biometric Device by accessing your Control Panel and then clicking on "Biometric Devices." This allows access to fingerprint management and the customization settings for the Biometric Device. The console will display any devices it has detected if they have been configured. If you have not yet configured the device it will display a message that says "Not Enrolled."

Click on "Not Enrolled to access the console where you can add a fingerprint scan of one or more fingers. You can choose the finger you want to add and then place your finger on the reader and scan it three times to confirm that it is your fingerprint.


Windows 7 has enhanced the BitLocker from Windows Vista by providing data encryption capabilities for portable drives without sacrificing data sharing with other parties. Before you can use BitLocker, it requires configuration with a BitLocker drive preparation tool which you can download from the Microsoft website.

BitLocker requires configuration because it must have the core system files that are necessary to initiate the boot process which authenticates user access to the encrypted volumes of data. Once it is configured, you simply activate BitLocker whenever you want to encrypt data. It also provides IT administrators with the ability to control how removable media can be used and the ability to enforce data protection policies for portable storage devices.

Enhanced User Account Control

User Account Control (UAC) was first introduced with Windows Vista to help restrict access by allowing organizations to control administrator access to specific users. Windows 7 has enhanced the UAC feature by adding four different levels of UAC protection which range from "Always Notify" down to "Never Notify." You can change the setting through the use of a slider which you access under "User Accounts" in the Control Panel.

The purpose of the "Never Notify" setting is that the User Account Control main protections will still remain in place as opposed to disabling it altogether.

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Spyware has many ways of getting onto your computer, such as:

When you download programs - particularly freeware, or peer-to-peer sharing programs.

More covertly, spyware can install itself just by you visiting certain sites, by prompting you to download an application to see the site properly.

ActiveX controls. These pesky spyware makers will prompt you to install themselves while using your Internet browser