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In Windows Vista Essential Training , instructor Jeff Van West offers comprehensive guidance through the often-daunting task of upgrading Windows system software. After discussing Vista's many new features and demonstrating the initial installation, Jeff explains how to run older software, customize settings and the desktop, and troubleshoot along the way. The tutorials also cover the ins and outs of taking Vista on the road for portable computing, from setting up security to working with all types of media and optimizing performance. Exercise files accompany the training.
A good friend of mine who takes care of Internet security for a lot of companies said that 95% of the bad things that happen to a computer happen because somebody clicked on something they shouldn't have. And that's probably true of Windows security as well. Now Windows in general is notorious for being a security nightmare, and that's because the original Windows dates back to really a pre-Internet era when we had a couple computers standing alone or just networked together locally. It was never prepared for the kind of assault when you have millions of potentially malicious users trying to cause problems on people's systems, just randomly around the world. I never could quite figure out the appeal of that.
Nonetheless, there are a whole bunch of improvements inside Windows Vista to make it more secure. A lot of them happen behind the scenes and you don't even have to notice, like we talked about the memory being randomized or the background services being hardened so they can't be taken over. Another thing that we talked about was the Protected mode for Internet Explorer, so that it can't be used as a conduit for other things taking over your computer. There are even built into Windows Vista the capability for certain programs to check their own code, to see whether that code has been compromised or changed by some virus or a Trojan.
All of that aside, you don't have to worry about any of that, because it's happening for you. You are still responsible for a few things. You're responsible for safe browsing, not clicking on something that's asking for personal information or that obviously is a problem. Strolling down to seedier areas of the Internet, potentially have problems as well. Not the opening attachments from people you don't know. We already talked about things like showing the file extension, as you can see right here in this web address, on all your files. Another little piece of security.
But there are some aspects that you really are in charge of. So, let's talk about those. I am going to go to the Control Panel, I am going to right-click, I will do an Open. That will give me Control Panel home and there's a group called Security. All of these items, Firewall, Update, Defender, Internet options for the most part are all inside the Security center, so we can get straight to them from here. And this will give us an opportunity to talk about them. Firewall, what's a Firewall? Currently it on, so it's protecting my computer, but what does it do? I am going to open the Windows Firewall Control Panel itself.
And take a look. All it's saying is it's protecting my computer and inbound connections that don't have an exception are blocked. What does that mean? What Windows Firewall does is it stops outside programs from speaking to your computer unless they have been given permission and that includes when a program inside your computer asks something from the outside world and it is expecting a response. Now what does that mean? The computer is transmitting information back and forth to the Internet and certain programs on your computer are expecting calls to come back, information to come back from the Internet.
Let's take a look, so we can get an example of what this might be. I am going to change the settings. I'm not actually going to change them. I am just going to view them, but this is what I have to do. Here it says, Windows Firewall is on. Obviously I could turn it off. Here are the exceptions. Let's find one that we know, Fire and Printer Sharing. For Fire and Printer Sharing to work not only does my computer have to be able to communicate with other computers out there in the world; they have to see my computer and make a request for files or a request to use the printer.
If that box was unchecked, they would not be able to do that. My firewall would block the incoming connection. Google Desktop, what does that need something for the Firewall? That's just me asking something of Google. Oh wait, but Google has to get that information back to me after a search. So, Google Desktop needs a hole through the Firewall. Most programs do. How does a Firewall protect your computer if something malicious installs itself? Usually that piece of software is trying to communicate with something out there in the world and there's a chance something wants to communicate back.
Now true heavy-duty Firewall would give you control over inbound and outbound traffic and Windows Firewall actually can do that, I will show you in a minute. When we get to the very geeky part at the end. There are other Firewalls that are out there and that probably are a little more robust than Windows Firewall. Let's minimize all. We have gotten all the windows closed. And now what I want to show you is what happens if the Firewall actually trips. So, let's suppose you've installed a piece of software, after the computer restarts you see a message like this. And bam! This is what you see.
Windows security alert. Windows Firewall blocks some features of a program and it's giving you this option. Do you keep blocking it? Or do you unblock it? Well, what do you do? Just apply the sniff test to this, if you will. If you just installed something for your Logitech Desktop Camera, this is probably legitimate. It came from that piece of software. If this just sort of randomly appears and especially if you don't recognize the name, although someone may be trying to fool you by having you know Microsoft something, something, something be the name, just hoping that you're going to click unblock.
If you're really worried about it, you can do some checking and see what the Logitech Desktop Manager is because pretty soon if somebody is doing something nasty out there on the web, if you go and you Google it, you'll find out what it is. So, let's try Logitech Desktop Manager. I am going to move my security alert over. Uninstalling and then you get so-called Logitech Mouseware. You can check all these out.
But what you are going to find is that these are all complaints made about the program, but it is a very legitimate program and is attached to a mouse through a web cam. This should be here and so I will unblock it. It's going to take a password and it's gone. And now, if we go back to Windows Firewall and we go to Change Settings, which is going to take a password, Exceptions, Logitech Desktop Manager, we put that in there.
By the way, when you switch to a public network, you'll see a public network basically what's happening is a lot of those Firewall Settings are changing and there are no exceptions, as well as your invisibility. Your network presence isn't shown anymore. So, those two things put together are really what changes between like a private network and a public network. So, that's enough on Windows Firewall right now. Let's close this out and I can close that web browser. We can go back to our Security Center. We already talked about Firewall.
Let's talk about automatic updating.
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