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Windows XP SP2 is a Must-Have Upgrade

Posted by geeknews at 11:01 AM on February 28, 2004

Microsoft is readying the Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2) upgrade for release in mid-2004. The upgrade will address many of the security problems that currently plague the company’s flagship operating system.

For example, the current Internet Connection Firewall is disabled by default and most users find it difficult to configure. In WinXP SP2 the feature is renamed Windows Firewall, enabled by default, and is prominently displayed. The new Windows Firewall will offer many of the features of third-party firewalls, such as ZoneLabs’ ZoneAlarm, a product that I currently recommend to all clients.

WinXP SP2 modifies the operating system’s wireless networking (Wi-Fi) service, allowing users to select primary Wi-Fi networks to which the system should always connect when within range. This will make laptop systems much easier to manage.

All users will be glad that Internet Explorer now blocks pop-up ads, negating the need to purchase a third-party web browser or ad-blocking application. Next to spam, I find pop-ups the most annoying downside to life online.

Outlook Express and Windows Messenger will block many dangerous file types by isolating file attachments so that they aren’t automatically executed upon receipt. By default HTML-formatted e-mail messages won’t display images, this will prevent web bugs embedded in e-mail messages from confirming your e-mail address to spammers.

Dave’s Opinion
I’m not a Pollyanna, believing that Windows is now a secure operating system, but Microsoft’s efforts will make it more difficult for crackers and spammers to ruin our online experience. But as my students constantly remind me, there’s no better line of security than an educated user. Learn all that you can about how to secure your system, keep your antivirus definitions updated daily, and don’t ever open a file attachment that you didn’t expect.

Call for Comments
What do you think? Leave your comments below.

One Comment

  1. From Dion at 1:01 am on March 1, 2004

    I recon Microsoft will allways have the ‘weaker OS’ mainly because there is alot more presure put on it and alot more peopel attempting to ‘crack’ it.

    Personally i don’t update XP at all.. i rely on a Firewal(Visnetic in my case), Opera(web browser) and no anti-virus software, i haven’t gotten any problems with it at all.. when the blaster worm was going around.. i watched my poor dial-up connection recieve over 5,000firewall block hits per hour.. that reduced my internet connection to pretty much nothing, yet i still did not get the virus :D

    When SP2 comes out i will apply it, mainly because newer drivers require it(ie. ATI’s Catalyst drivers require SP1)

    Just my point of View..