What did Microsoft Vista ever do for us?

Microsoft has been gazing at its navel and started to think about the much maligned Vista operating system and its place in software history.

According to a presentation by a Microsoft security expert at the Usenix Security Symposium, being held this week in Washington, DC Vista OS was instrumental in finally bringing to the world a secure version of Windows.

To make matters more amusing, it was the most hated aspect of Vista, the User Access Control (UAC) which is the main reason we have more secure computing.

But Crispin Cowan, a Microsoft senior program manager for the Windows core security team, told PC World that it did not make things better in the way you might think.

As users moaned like crazy about the annoying UAC pop-up boxes many application developers were inspired to rewrite their programs so that they did not require full administrative privileges to run.

As a result users started to slowly grow more comfortable running in more limited, but safer, user modes.

Before Vista, everyone had administrative privileges and used programs that were not needed. UAC killed off a population of ill-behaved Windows programs and the number of programs asking for admin rights fell.

Cowan said that before Vista, Window’s reputation for security was deserved admitted. Even today, Windows XP, lacks most of the security provisions needed for today’s environments.

In the early days it was easier to stress usability over security, as well as interoperability among different programs, Cowan said.

Windows 7 made UAC more user friendly without relaxing the strict divide between user and administrator.