Compatibility with security suites


Neither XP nor Vista are secure enough to run safely without third-party internet security software. However, when Vista was first launched, security companies complained that the built-in security systems caused problems with their products. The main issue was the kernel protection, known as PatchGuard.

Symantec said that it restricted legitimate software companies from accessing the system at a low level, while attackers could already circumvent it. Kaspersky Lab dismissed the protection that PatchGuard offered, claiming it was vulnerable. Ultimately, PatchGuard’s presence hasn’t prevented any major security company, including Symantec, from producing Vista-compatible antivirus, antispyware and firewall products. That said, the latest ZoneAlarm Internet Security suite has fewer features and runs slower on Vista than on XP (web ID: 125307).

XP – 5
A hassle-free XP experience means running as administrator, which is an unsafe way to operate, while the built-in firewall isn’t nearly strong enough for peace of mind.

Vista – 7
Technically more secure than XP, Vista comes with some powerful security tools, but relies too often on user judgement to make important security-based decisions.

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