Windows Vista – Acronyms and Key Concepts

Windows Vista – Acronyms and Key Concepts

Microsoft has introduced a fresh batch of computer Acronyms and Key Concepts for Vista.

In truth, some of these abbreviations are already in common in XP, and others have  uses outside Vista.  Nevertheless, I find these acronyms useful for deciphering Vista articles.  Incidentally, Guy’s third law of computing says the more acronyms in an article, the more difficult it is to understand!   My mission is to explain and define the computer acronyms associated with Windows Vista.





ASLR Address Space Layout Randomization On reboot, randomly places system DLLs and Exes in memory.
CPS Cryptographic Service Provider For Smart cards
EFS Encryption Files Service Protection for laptops
GPU Graphics Processing Unit CPU for the display
GPGPU General-Purpose computation on GPUs Parallel processing suitable for games
NAP Network Access Protection New Control Panel area to identify ‘Healthy’ computers
MSRC Microsoft Security Response Center Bulletins about software engineering practices
NDF Network Diagnostics Framework For troubleshooting network and wireless connection problems.
NX No Execute Code that reads but does not need to execute – safety feature
PNRP Peer Name Resolution Protocol Poor man’s DNS for peer-to-peer networks
RMS Rights Management Services Policies for sensitive documents
RTM Release to Manufacturer  (As opposed to Beta version)
SAL Standard Allocation Language Checks code for buffer overrun errors
SDL Security Deployment Lifecycle Checks to reduce maleware attacks
SHV System Health Validator Checks for ‘unhealthy’ computers
SENS System Event Notification Service Sometimes appears at logon
SHA System Health Agent NAP applet on Vista client
SWI Secure Windows Initiative Microsoft team which models virus threats
SoH Statement of Health List of patches, services packs and antivirus signatures
SWIAT Secure Windows Initiative Attack Team Team of Microsoft ‘in house’ hackers to test Vista’s security
WSC Windows Security Center Control Panel object, first released in XP SP2.  Contains Update, Defender and Firewall settings
UAC User Account Control Administrator’s dialog box to ‘Allow’ important actions
UAP User Account Protection Old name for UAC
WinFS Windows File System Proposed successor to NTFS (now postponed)
WDI Windows Diagnostic Infrastructure Built-in Diagnostics and Troubleshooter
WRMS Windows Rights Management Services Control who has access to sensitive data
WVHA Windows Vista Hardware Assessment Check’s network machines for hardware, readiness for Vista. Also carries out an inventory
WVUA Windows Vista Upgrade Advisor Simple check for readiness on one machine
  PREfix, PREfast FXcop Tools to analyze code to spot potential virus attack points

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Key Concept and Buzzword phrases



Administrator Approval Mode Even Admin accounts run in the context of ordinary users.  However they are capable of switching to Administrator mode by clicking ‘Allow’.
Fuzz Tested Automates testing of random code that may cause malfunction. Also SAL.
*Malicious Software Removal Tool Microsoft tool to remove maleware.
PatchGuard Code for 64-bit versions which prevents modification of the kernel.
Restricted Services Services that run under the least privileges so cannot be hijacked for nefarious purposes.
Rootkits Intruder spy software that conceals itself, but allows the bad guys to control the computer.
Service Hardening Reduce unnecessary capabilities from services such as RPC.
*Standard User Analyzer Tool Check that applications will run correctly for ordinary users.  Often needs ApplicationVerifier
Surface Area Reduce areas where maleware can attack.  Also UAC philosophy.
Trusted Platform Module 64-bit hardware solution.  Also NX.
‘Unhealthy’ machines Vista or XP machines lacking latest virus signature, or service pack. Also NAP.
* Downloadable from Microsoft

Summary of Vista Acronyms and Key Concepts

Many of these computer acronyms are are applicable outside of Vista.  The more acronyms an article contains, the harder it is to read.


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Configuring Windows Vista Topics:


     Vista Tools and Extras


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