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Windows 7 Infection Rate Lower Than Windows XP

By - Source: Winrumors | B 43 comments

Newer is better.

A newer Windows is a safer Windows, as Microsoft proved with its internal security findings comparing its three most recent versions of its OS family.

Windows XP SP2 suffered a quarterly infection rate of 19.3 computers per thousand. SP3 improved things to 15.9 per thousand.

Windows Vista improved upon those numbers significantly. Windows Vista SP1 had 9.8 infections per thousand, while SP2 hit 7.5. The 64-bit versions of the OS did even better at 6.6 and 5.3, respectively.

Windows 7 was the best of all with the 32-bit version having only a 3.8 infection rate, and the 64-bit improving to 2.5 per thousand.

Microsoft offered a couple reasons why the 64-bit versions were a bit more hardy against infection:

“One reason may be that 64-bit versions of Windows still appeal to a more technically savvy audience than their 32-bit counterparts,” says Microsoft. “Kernel Patch Protection (KPP), a feature of 64-bit versions of Windows that protects the kernel from unauthorized modification, may also contribute to the discrepancy by preventing certain types of malware from operating.”

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  • 2 Hide
    warezme , May 18, 2011 3:10 PM
    “One reason may be that 64-bit versions of Windows still appeal to a more technically savvy audience than their 32-bit counterparts,”

    Perhaps initially this was true but with the cost of RAM dropping so low most new computers are being stuffed with more and more RAM requiring OEM's to use 64bit OS version to access the full use from factory. The end user doesn't really know the difference since the majority of programs by now have been ported to 64bit and no longer a hassle.
  • 4 Hide
    Anonymous , May 18, 2011 3:23 PM
    Funny, nearly half of the Virus removal jobs I do are on Windows 7, mostly Drive By scareware antivirus problems that require user intervention to install

    ( OMG MY machine is infected by a bazillion different viruses, windows 7 antivirus 2011 says so, better click here to scan and remove....what how much $59.99 to purchase full protection, umm why can I not get to any website...where has my Paid for McAfee GONE!)

    I don't complain, keeps me in a job!
  • 2 Hide
    rantoc , May 18, 2011 3:24 PM
    Shame it is no way to determine when the user was at fault, even soo 0,25% infection rate of the 64bit win7 isn't that bad. Judging by the numbers MS have managed to protect it's users well!
  • Display all 43 comments.
  • -2 Hide
    aford10 , May 18, 2011 3:27 PM
    Keep in mind that these are results revealed from Microsoft. They certainly aren't going to advertise that their shiny new baby (windows 7) has just as many problems, or more than the other OS's.

    I don't claim to know one way or the other. I'm just pointing out that these results should be taken with a grain of salt.
  • -4 Hide
    Wisecracker , May 18, 2011 3:36 PM
    "" Lies. Damn lies. (And Statistics) ""

    Of course XP has 4x the infection rate of W7, it's been in the wild 4x longer. This is a logical Fail.

    'Quarterly' information from 2010 represented in this fashion is very misleading. An XP computer may have been infected years ago and was not discovered until recently.

    I call "Scare Tactics" by MS to further adoption of W7 by the uneducated consumer (who is otherwise quite happy with their XP computer).




  • -2 Hide
    Anonymous , May 18, 2011 3:37 PM
    I wonder how an independent review of these products might look.I would be surprised if MS were to diss their current os. The real truth is probably due to less surfing on the PC as all the kiddies have phones/tabs for that now. It would explain the drop in infection rates.
  • -2 Hide
    Anonymous , May 18, 2011 3:38 PM
    Everyone is running Android now so that's the real reason lol!
  • -2 Hide
    zkevwlu , May 18, 2011 3:39 PM
    Or it's just because Windows 7 has a small market share compared to the 55% XP currently holds. It's the same Mac Vs. Windows phenomenon where hackers have more incentive to make viruses that target XP vulnerabilities because it will hit more computers. I'm sure 7's infection rate will also skyrocket when it becomes the new dominant OS in the market.
  • 2 Hide
    damianrobertjones , May 18, 2011 3:46 PM
    1- Do not run as admin. Create an admin account called 'security' and change yuor daily account (with password) to a standard account. safer.
    2 - Stop surfing for dodgy pron/illegal wares/etc
    3 - Automcatically stay away from the mouse button when a page screams, "Your pc is infected, click this really obvious box to clean"

    muh.

    Oh, also change the default pop-up blocker from medium to HIGH!
  • -1 Hide
    SteelCity1981 , May 18, 2011 3:48 PM
    Quote:
    "Vista SP1 had 9.8 infections per thousand, while SP2 hit 7.5."


    That's because hardly anyone was using Vista. LOL
  • 1 Hide
    damianrobertjones , May 18, 2011 3:50 PM
    philmiazEveryone is running Android now so that's the real reason lol!


    Out of all the people I know, including the 250+ people in this factory, NONE of them has an android tablet. Three have ipads and i have a W500. (UK)

    Thanks
  • -3 Hide
    rdevita , May 18, 2011 3:53 PM
    How can we possibly believe "infection rate xx per thousand?" By what measure? What is deemed an "Infection"? I have worked on allot of PC's for allot of people, and I can tell you categorically, nerly 100% them have some sort of malware breach. I run reliable, industry accepted scanners such as Malwarebytes, Spybot, Avira and AVG to locate and clean malware/virus/worm. Again... a high percentage, if not all of the machines I test contain some form of malware. I believe the definition of malware is what's being skewed here and resulting in such low infection rates....
  • -3 Hide
    K2N hater , May 18, 2011 4:01 PM
    Don't want to sound like a MS hater but this is sponsored by Microsoft...
  • 2 Hide
    ikefu , May 18, 2011 4:05 PM
    The problem with infection statistics is that you can't see how much was user stupidity.

    There isn't an OS in the world that can stop a virus if the user intentionally downloads a program labeled "OMG FREE IPOD AFTER INSTALL.exe" and clicks ok through all the security checks.

    The majority of those programs happen to be for Window since that's where the low tech user base is.
  • -2 Hide
    gwwerner , May 18, 2011 4:15 PM
    I wonder how the Windows 7 rate compares with OS X.
  • 2 Hide
    ballerchris33 , May 18, 2011 4:19 PM
    I think that it has more to do with Internet Explorer than the Windows OS. The fact is that on XP users are running the old, very vulnerable Internet Explorer. But on Windows 7, internet explorer has been significantly improved.

    In the end, of course, those that run old software on XP are going to be more vulnerable to viruses than those the run newer software on Windows 7.
  • 4 Hide
    malphas , May 18, 2011 4:27 PM
    Statistics and biases aside, Windows 7 is more secure regardless on its own merits, regardless of other factors like less marketshare and less time in the wild. It's just fundamentally superior to XP in that regard, same as how XP/NT was a massive improvement over 9x - I was able "hack" my school's '95 network using a copy of poledit on a floppy disc.
  • 0 Hide
    dalta centauri , May 18, 2011 5:03 PM
    Quote:
    "" Lies. Damn lies. (And Statistics) ""

    Of course XP has 4x the infection rate of W7, it's been in the wild 4x longer. This is a logical Fail.

    'Quarterly' information from 2010 represented in this fashion is very misleading. An XP computer may have been infected years ago and was not discovered until recently.

    I call "Scare Tactics" by MS to further adoption of W7 by the uneducated consumer (who is otherwise quite happy with their XP computer).

    Same thing they did with the SSD ad, how SSDs are less prown to data storage failing...when they drop their computers?
    Otherwise Windows 7 has it's ups and downs. I would say upgrading is fine unless you're still running a computer with a CPU under 1.4GHz, and don't have at least 1gb of RAM. Even Windows Vista users that stuck with it are getting the better end now with SP2.

    But, Microsoft has always done Scare tactics and they'll continue to do so, especially in getting the rest of Windows XP users to switch to Windows 7.
  • 1 Hide
    maestintaolius , May 18, 2011 5:04 PM
    Well, a big part of this is likely because you no longer have to be in admin mode in 7 to have a functional computer. Vista was a little better but the UAC prompt to elevate didn't mesh well with some programs and could cause issues. One of my largest gripes about XP is how so many programs required admin mode to function properly.
  • -1 Hide
    TheWhiteRose000 , May 18, 2011 5:08 PM
    Vista is a lie and we all know it.
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