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Microsoft has promised Vista is the most secure Windows ever--and it is, but you as user and beneficiary of this greater security will need to learn a new drill to really take advantage of it.

That primarily means dealing with the User Account Control feature (Described in the security section of our Vista Tutorial)..

(Yes, that's the feature Apple makes fun of in its Macintosh commercials, picturing it as a stern-looking wired dude in shades who makes PC approve every interaction). In fact, you do have to train your copy of Vista to approve interactions that you want and block the nasty ones. Microsoft suggests patience, that the payoff is a more secure system that repulses malware and intruders.

Avoiding Online Pests

Will Windows Vista protect me against phishing?

Both the Windows XP and the Windows Vista versions of Internet Explorer 7 include an antiphishing filter. It works quite well. In fact, in PC World tests it outperformed the antiphishing filter built into Firefox.

Other User Options and Controls

I hear that User Account Controls (UACs) are pretty annoying. Is that true?

Does the sun rise in the east and set in the west? By far, UACs are the most annoying thing about Windows Vista. When you need to change certain system settings, install software, or perform any of a number of other tasks, a prompt will appear, nagging you to click OK, or type in a password.

Your Security Choices

Do they actually help with security?

Yes, there is method in the madness, and UAC prompts do help protect you. By forcing you to confirm that you wish to take various actions, UACs prevent spyware and other malware from making changes to your system without your knowledge.

I trust my own security precautions, and I'd like to turn UAC off. How can I do it?

In Control Panel, select User Accounts and Family Safety, User Accounts, and then click Turn User Account Control on or off. This of course triggers a UAC prompt that you'll have to answer before you can proceed. But it's a small price to pay for your freedom.

Next: Changes to Internet Explorer.

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