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Last Updated: Monday, 8 August 2005, 09:13 GMT 10:13 UK
Reports of Vista virus rebutted
The new software should be available in 2006
Vista should be available next year
Microsoft has hit back at reports of the first virus for its new version of Windows, dubbed Vista.

Last week an Austrian programmer published examples of malicious code that exploits a Microsoft command shell technology currently under development.

But the software giant has said the technology targeted will not be part of the next version of Windows.

"These reports pose no risk for Microsoft customers," said the firm's Stephen Toulouse in a blog posting.

Vista, previously codenamed Longhorn, is due for release towards the end of 2006, half a decade after Windows XP.

No threat

The malicious code affects a Microsoft command shell technology called MSH.

The viruses do not attempt to exploit a software vulnerability and do not encompass a new method of attack
Stephen Toulouse, Microsoft
This could replace the simple command shell used in Windows. A command shell lets users enter text-based commands, as in the predecessor to Windows, DOS.

The emergence of the proof-of-concept viruses prompted reports of the first viruses for Vista, as MSH was expected to be part of the new operating system.

But Microsoft has sought to squash talk of Vista viruses. In a posting on the company's security blog, Stephen Toulouse said the MSH technology would not be included in the final version of Vista.

Instead he said that MSH was still being tested and could be included in future versions of Windows developed in three to five years' time.

"The viruses do not attempt to exploit a software vulnerability and do not encompass a new method of attack," said the Microsoft security programme manager.

Mr Toulouse also denied that MSH was being pulled from Windows Vista due to the virus reports.

"One had nothing to do with the other," he said.

Microsoft's flagship Windows software already runs on about 90% of personal computers worldwide.

The firm has promised that security will be an integral part of Vista.

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