Bug-hunting tool aimed at Vista developers

Tool is designed to identify bugs related to a security feature in Windows Vista that lets users run with fewer privileges.

Joris Evers Staff Writer, CNET News.com
Joris Evers covers security.
Joris Evers
Microsoft is crafting a tool that will call out potential software conflicts with a security feature in Windows Vista that lets people run the operating system with fewer user privileges.

The tool, dubbed LUA Buglight, is designed to identify bugs related to the new Least User Access, or LUA, feature in Windows Vista, a Microsoft representative said in a statement. Vista is the successor to Windows XP that's due out next year.

LUA lets Vista users run their system with fewer privileges, as opposed to the administrator mode that Windows XP typically runs in. The change is meant to improve the security of Windows. For example, a malicious program that makes its way onto a PC running in standard-user mode can't do as much damage as on a PC running in administrator mode.

"LUA Buglight is a new tool being developed by Microsoft Consulting Services that is designed to quickly identify the specific causes of LUA bugs in applications," the Microsoft representative said in an e-mailed statement. "With this information, the bugs can be fixed or worked around, enabling users not to have to run with full admin privileges."

The tool is primarily meant for IT professionals who need to fix bugs in corporate or third-party applications, the Microsoft representative said. However, it can also be used by developers to hunt for LUA bugs in their own applications, the representative said.

LUA Buglight isn't yet available, and Microsoft didn't say when it plans to release the tool.