Upcoming Action Center Changes for Security Vendor Software

Upcoming Action Center Changes for Security Vendor Software

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We have been working in partnership with our independent software vendor (ISV) community to move the ecosystem to a set of new application programming interfaces (APIs) that many ISVs use to report status to Security Center (integrated within Action Center in Windows 7). The interfaces are used by many antivirus, antispyware, and firewall programs. Te interface changes were introduced in Windows Vista SP1. These new APIs supersede the ones originally shipped in Windows Vista.

From the release of Vista SP1, we jointly established with the security ISVs an 18 month grace period where they could use both the old and the new interfaces. After the 18 month grace period expires, a security application using the older interface will cause the Windows Security Center system tray icon to indicate a warning. In addition, the Security Center control panel will display a "<program name> is on but is reporting its status to Windows Security Center in a format that is no longer supported. Use the program's automatic updating feature, or contact the program manufacturer for an updated version" warning message, a sample screen shot is included below. The grace period begins at the time Vista SP1 is installed on a Windows Vista system. As a result, the grace period will begin expiring in September 2009, 18 months after Windows Vista SP1 was released on the Microsoft Download Center in March 2008.

Through our partner outreach and the Ecosystem Readiness Program, we have been working with the ISVs since October of 2007 to help them get ready for the final transition to this new interface. As a result, we have removed the old API from the Windows 7 RC.  Users who are running security software that does not use the newer API will see the "non-compatible" message shown below from the new Action Center, which instructs customers to contact their security software provider. 

Although you may receive this "non-compatible" message from your security software, it should continue to work and help protect your system even though it is not able to report its status through the Action Center UI.

If you encounter this message today on Window 7 or in the future on Windows Vista, I encourage you to check with your software vendor to see if they have an updated version of software available. Many of our partners already have products that use the new APIs and the others have committed to having compatible versions by the end of the Windows Vista grace period and for Windows 7. Having the latest, compatible software from your security vendors will help ensure that your system remains protected and that you are accurately informed when your security software is not running properly.

9 Comments
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  • Marius
    1 Posts

    Please provide us a e-mail address or a phone number we need the API , thank you

  • Thanks for the article, really informative. I installed Windows 7 and my McAfee needs to be verified. I spent one hour chatting with McAfee online, showed the rep my issue(Go To Assist), and the rep says it's a "known issue" and that its a problem with Windows. I'm in the middle of a finger pointing duel! :) So I guess I'm skrewed. If McAfee isn't going to upgrade, and Microsoft says they are waiting for ISVs to upgrade. My concern is if Windows Defender doesn't see McAfee as a anti-virus, could it block it and it's protection features? Because on my Firewall there are two errors, both having to do with McAfee.

  • saicong
    1 Posts

    What is the New API? Where I Know That API?

  • I think there's a missed opportunity in Windows 7 to encourage more users to backup their data before it's too late. I'd like to see Microsoft open up the Action Center API to reporting from backup applications and also provide a "Find a program online" button rather than having Windows Backup as the only option.

    I work for a backup vendor and it's disappointing to see that backup still isn't treated as a first class citizen in the Windows security ecosystem.

  • xcvista
    2 Posts

    I advise you to open the source code of Action Center to vendors of security software vendors - they may need it a lot - this save them from struggling to find out the API's relavant to Action Center.

  • Whick antivirus program is working and running smoothly with Vindows 7?

  • rhett
    1 Posts

    i readed your blog  Upcoming Action Center Changes for Security Vendor Software on Windows Security Blog.

    can you give me some information about the programing interface of action center ?

  • Perseco
    1 Posts

    Translation: Make sure you have the most up to date version of your anti-virus software so it will report its status properly to the Windows 7 Action Center.

  • what?