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Will Vista become Standard?

Jason Hiner thinks not.

The problem is likely less that Vista is bad, than that it is new and different and just a little clumsy for people who are accustomed to Windows XP.  The idea of resolving security issues by forcing people to respond to the computer more often may be necessary–I don’t really know–but the users respond to it very badly.

I have mixed emotions, because it is so difficult to get some users to choose secure passwords and then not write them down and post them where just anybody can see.  That habit illustrates the fact that many users will choose convenience over security, and the longer they live without being attacked, the more likely they are to become careless.

Unfortunately, Vista can’t protect them from themselves entirely.  I know users who will simply start clicking “Yes” and “OK” until they get the computer back whenever they are confronted with unwanted messages as they work.  That might well result in installing something you don’t want or breaching security, even though Vista has tried to save you.

Software design has a ways to go in bringing together techy skill and true understanding of the way humans work.  We’ll probably never have a completely comfortable compromise, but we are certainly much better off now than we were years ago, just about any number of years ago you might pick.

I would add one reason that Vista hasn’t been as popular as it might have–people don’t feel the need for it.  In many ways technology is presenting people with possibilities for which they haven’t felt the need.  If you feel reasonably secure on your Windows XP system, and your current version of Office, no matter how old, is doing everything you need it to do, you’re unlikely to upgrade.

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