With Internet Explorer 7, you are introduced to a Protected mode that is new with Windows Vista. The question many people are asking is what exactly is Protected mode and how does it help my online experience be more secure?

In simple terms, when you double-click Internet Explorer and browse the Internet, Protected mode gives you privileges to only surf the web; that is it! Internet Explorer cannot install software or modify your user settings. You are completely isolated from the rest of your operating system. In theory this sounds great but I have noticed certain behaviors that warrant me to ask the members of Techrepublic some questions.

Now that I have been working with Windows Vista and Internet Explorer 7 (Protected Mode), I have  noticed that Protected mode turns off intermittently as I visit web sites. I could visit the same web site and sometimes Protected mode is on and sometimes it is off. 

This behavior has prompted me to ask the following question: Can Protected mode be turned off by malware or spyware? If protected mode is isolated from the rest of the operating system, what is making it turn itself off intermittently? If something on a web site you visit can turns this feature off, why couldn’t a hacker take advantage of the exploit and turn Protected mode off quickly, send you spyware, malware, or a virus, and then quickly turn it back on.

I don’t know enough about Protected Mode to answer the above question. Does anyone out there have an answer for me?

Please take my 3 polls so I can gather some good information.