Images: Security battle for the desktop

This is a screenshot of Windows Security Center in Vista, the beefed-up successor to Windows XP, which Microsoft refers to it as "The voice of security for Windows Vista."

In Vista, Windows Security Center reports on firewall, antivirus, spyware protection, , and Windows security technology called . The feature sits in the Windows Control Panel and pops up any time there is a security alert, such as when antivirus protection is disabled or the firewall is turned off.

Windows Security Center also can be used to manage security tools in Vista. For example, a user could update antivirus definitions or disable a firewall directly from the Windows Security Center, according to a . In Windows XP Service Pack 2, which first included the Windows Security Center, the feature only displays the status of the firewall, antivirus and automatic updates.

CNET News.com

By Bill Detwiler

Bill Detwiler is Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop support specialist in the ...