Microsoft® Windows Vista™: An Inflection Point for Kernel Security and 64-Bit Computing

    A white paper detailing Kernel Patch Protection in Windows Vista
    • Version:


      File Name:

      WinVisionWPUS-KPP FINAL.doc

      Date Published:


      File Size:

      627 KB

        Unbounded changes to the operating system “kernel” can lead to system instability as well as the complete compromise of all software programs and hardware resources on a system. Consequently, the operating system kernel environment needs to be the most secure, reliable and trustworthy piece of code in Microsoft® Windows®.
        The purpose of this paper is to explain how Microsoft Corp. is protecting the Windows operating system kernel to improve reliability and protect against evolving security threats. This paper will discuss the pitfalls that must be avoided now as well as the future direction of the kernel platform. Microsoft’s efforts are intended to make sure that future versions of the Windows operating system are more secure and reliable and are able to take advantage of the latest hardware and software innovations. At the same time, Microsoft is committed to continuing its work with its hardware and software partners to drive new capabilities and standards to provide a more secure computing environment for the broadest possible set of users.

        The history of Windows, perhaps more than any other operating system, highlights the challenges that success can bring to a product as it evolves along with hardware and industry changes. Changes from 16-bit to 32-bit computing hardware, the introduction of virtual memory and protected memory mode to create separate program address spaces, the rapid growth of networking, and a more visual and interactive Internet each represent a significant change that required Microsoft to balance backward compatibility with product innovation.

        For the past several years, hardware and software developers have, as a whole, worked to improve security. Security has become even more important as a result of the exponential growth of the Internet as part of our everyday lives. Today, because of innovations by Intel Corporation and AMD Inc. resulting in the decreasing cost of 64-bit processors, 64-bit computing is on the horizon as the next significant PC computing architecture.

        Microsoft Windows Vista™ is not only the next version of Microsoft’s operating system; it is also an inflection point for security and 64-bit computing. How these two critical ecosystem changes are handled in Windows Vista will set the stage for the long-term vision of Windows as an even more secure and reliable operating system.
    • Supported Operating System

      Windows 2000, Windows Server 2003, Windows Vista, Windows XP

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