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06 May 2009  

Upcoming Action Center Changes for Security Vendor Soft

We have been working in partnership with our independent software vendor (ISV) community to move the ecosystem to a set of new application programming interfaces (APIs) that many ISVs use to report status to Security Center (integrated within Action Center in Windows 7). The interfaces are used by many antivirus, antispyware, and firewall programs. Te interface changes were introduced in Windows Vista SP1. These new APIs supersede the ones originally shipped in Windows Vista.

From the release of Vista SP1, we jointly established with the security ISVs an 18 month grace period where they could use both the old and the new interfaces. After the 18 month grace period expires, a security application using the older interface will cause the Windows Security Center system tray icon to indicate a warning. In addition, the Security Center control panel will display a " is on but is reporting its status to Windows Security Center in a format that is no longer supported. Use the program's automatic updating feature, or contact the program manufacturer for an updated version" warning message, a sample screen shot is included below. The grace period begins at the time Vista SP1 is installed on a Windows Vista system. As a result, the grace period will begin expiring in September 2009, 18 months after Windows Vista SP1 was released on the Microsoft Download Center in March 2008.

Through our partner outreach and the Ecosystem Readiness Program, we have been working with the ISVs since October of 2007 to help them get ready for the final transition to this new interface. As a result, we have removed the old API from the Windows 7 RC. Users who are running security software that does not use the newer API will see the "non-compatible" message shown below from the new Action Center, which instructs customers to contact their security software provider.

Although you may receive this "non-compatible" message from your security software, it should continue to work and help protect your system even though it is not able to report its status through the Action Center UI.

If you encounter this message today on Window 7 or in the future on Windows Vista, I encourage you to check with your software vendor to see if they have an updated version of software available. Many of our partners already have products that use the new APIs and the others have committed to having compatible versions by the end of the Windows Vista grace period and for Windows 7. Having the latest, compatible software from your security vendors will help ensure that your system remains protected and that you are accurately informed when your security software is not running properly.

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