Microsoft promises Vista security

Microsoft says Vista will contain a raft of new security features, and the new operating system will be more secure than ever. Microsoft has been criticised for flaws in previous systems that left users vulnerable to attacks by hackers.

Beefing-up security was one reason behind delays to Windows Vista. The firm had originally aimed to launch Vista – the first major update since Windows XP was introduced five years ago – in the second half of 2006. The new operating system will now be released to business customers “within the next few weeks” and to consumers early next year.

At the heart of the system will be the new Windows Security Centre which will show consumers any holes in their defences. Vista will also feature new encryption technology designed to protect the data on a computer. Even if someone's laptop is stolen, nobody will be able to use it because it will be fully encrypted. The long-awaited arrival of the new operating system will be a crucial weapon in Microsoft's battle to retain its dominant position at a time when firms like Google are mounting a serious challenge.

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