BIOS and Security
The BIOS of the Asus W2J is identical to the BIOS we’ve seen on the other Asus laptops we’ve reviewed in the past.
A Main screen summarizes your system and you can adjust the clock and date.
Advanced Settings you can enable or disable onboard devices like the IR port, the optical drive, and the touch pad. This screen also has the option to Flash your laptop’s BIOS.
Under Display, you have only one option — what broadcast standard to use for TV-output.
The Security features of Asus laptops have always been pretty good with a fair amount of settings you can use. You can have two levels of passwords and access to the laptop: a Supervisor and a User. A User can have as much or as little access to the BIOS as the Supervisor specifies. The W2J also supports Trusted Computing which you can enable or disable here.
Using the Security options, you can also lock the hard drive with a password and lock devices like the wireless NIC and the USB ports.
In the Power screen, you can calibrate the battery which drains it completely and recharges it back to full so you get the most accurate battery level readings. Be warned that this process takes nearly 4 hours to complete so only run it if you have a lot of time on your hands. You can also enable/disable LCD power savings, but you will probably keep this enabled.
Finally, in the Boot menu, you can configure the order in which your laptop will boot.
There are a few security measures on the W2J on physical, hardware, and software levels. Physically, there is a Kensington laptop lock port on the left side of the W2J so you can secure it to a surface. Other physical security devices like biometrics will have to purchased seperately if that is a concern for you.
On the hardware level, the laptop can be configured with a set of passwords to protect unauthorized modification of the BIOS. One password is set for the administrator who controls everything in the BIOS, and a user password can be set for limited access such as just allowing the user to change the date and time on the system. The hard drive can be password protected as well, so whenever it is booted or resumed from a suspended state, you will need a password to resume your activity. The BIOS also allows you to disable/lock devices and ports on the computer to ensure unused ports can’t be abused (like the USB ports to guard against bootable USB devices).
On top of this, there is support for Trusted Computing which is a hardware DRM-like security measure for your personal files. This will be supported in Windows Vista and is poised, for better or worse, to create a big splash for corporate and home users a like.
Software security on the Asus W2J is a copy of Norton Internet Security complete with a firewall and a virus scanner. It’s a 90-day subscription, so you should find a more permanent solution reasonably soon after purchasing the laptop.