This is really upsetting me. I keep seeing this as I read my news tonight:
I was one of the only ones who seemed to think Vista was a good user interface and OS upgrade from XP, of course it could have been more optimized and even better, which is what windows 7 is. I also found the UAC feature in Vista to be very good, and similar to those of us who use unix are used to working. You su to root when you need to do something elevated, otherwise you operate at user level. The typical end user complained "it keeps asking me to elevate so often, I don't understand what this means". On windows 7, Microsoft decided to elevate only under certain cases (by default), and of course the inconvenience of the extra click, otherwise known as security, was removed essentially. This makes Windows 7 in its default setting much less secure than vista.
Being a systems and infrastructure guy, we get the same Vista feature in Windows Server 2008 (based on Vista), and R2 (based on 7). They kept the same escalation we had in Vista enabled out of the box on both platforms. This is especially good for a server OS. I have been seeing some of the admins (not in my group, but DBAs) disable this feature, and I always implore them to turn it back on. I explain the reason it's there, and it will save them, either from doing something by accident, or by something running in their session they aren't aware of.
Then you get other poorly designed software such as HP's Quicktest Professional which still cannot run with any level of UAC enabled. It takes 4 years to make your application work with UAC? Really?
So basically, user feedback promoted Microsoft to reduce the nags (otherwise known as security), and then the press and AV vendors are touting Windows is less secure? Seems like a catch 22 for Microsoft, they want to sell operating systems, but they also need to placate people like me who would like a secure OS. I understand they are shipping the servers hardened, and the clients less so, but is that a good idea? I think my mom will thank them J