Reader rebuts MS XP Net instability rebuttal

Be warned, it's a mini-thesis...

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Security for virtualized datacentres

Microsoft rebuts XP Net instability claims

MS may well have rebutted them 'thar Net instability claims, but this is what Kisai has to say on the matter:

Having had to service Windows machines of all ages and versions, I can tell you that unless the OEM installs all the service packs before the machine is bought, the user will 99% of the time not even be aware that service packs are needed.

For instance, All the windows 95 machines I've ever seen, not only were "stock" patch levels, but there was lack of anti-virus software as well, guess what nasty surprises there were in a lot of these machines?

Then there is Windows 98/98SE/ME machines that come preconfigured for the internet. Many of these machines are also stock, with the occasional firewall or antivirus program that the user doesn't know how to use.

What about Windows NT4 or 2000? I honestly have never had to service any of these machines except to install software/service packs on them. The rest of the time they run fine, even with clueless users sitting at them. The key point with Windows NT is that because the OS can restrict the user, it also restricts trojans and viruses ability to damage and spread.

Case study: The college I went to.
One lab of Windows 98 machines:
Antivirus: Stock Norton Antivirus 4, never been updated
Patch level: Nothing.

Random machines have ICQ, trojans, viruses, warez servers, distributed processing clients, and other "resource wasting" software running on them. Anyone who sits down at the machine need do nothing more than hit "Cancel" on the login prompt to do whatever they wished with the machine. The next user who logs into the network properly will also wind up unleashing any junk that the user who didn't login installed onto the network.

Win32.CIH virus's were on 50% of the machines when I manually updated the virusscanner (and in some cases the virus scanner was damaged and wouldn't work anyways.)

I must really say that whatever they were paying the network admin isn't worth it.

Now take the Windows NT4 lab:
Patch Level: Whatever the latest was at the time, SP4 or 5 probably.
Probably because the video drivers insist on at least SP3 being present.
Nothing else, no patches to office suite, internet explorer or any other program they had on the system.

However, try to write to the hard drive, and you get denied. Whoever setup the NT lab knows what they were doing. Unlike the 98Lab. So this restricts all the junk to the current session only.

The NT lab was much more efficient to use than the 98 lab, which was not usable from my perspective.

Now in the last scenario, the Stock Windows 95 (not OSR2), No service packs, Norton 4 (stock) in the library. These machines were the slowest things in the school. These also had all the exact same problems the 98 lab had, with the addition of BSOD's almost hourly.

Of course, the librarian's "technician" didn't have the slightest clue what I was talking about. As far as she was concerned, the computers were supposed to do that. *sigh*

Which lead me to withdraw from the "computer" program they had, since I clearly knew more than the instructors, assistants, technicans and network administrators did about the computers. The only things that actually worked as far as I was concerned was their servers.

The danger lies in the fact that not only "technically iliterate" customers buying XP, but the fact that colleges, businesses and universites will buy the cheapest version which isn't very secure (instead of the professional version.) This results in a false sense of security overall.

And these are the people you trust to educate , when they don't know what they are teaching?

Another case: Insurance company, all running Windows 95 or 98, No antivirus software at all. Running everything from 386s to Pentium II's. They were not even aware that their server had run out of disk space. I think their only salvation from their entire computer systems collapsing was that they ran all their internet off a 56K modem that only connected on demand. They didn't do much (or any email.)

And yes, no service packs or patches had ever been applied to any of the computers.

High School:
All Win3.1 or 95 machines (Not OSR2)
No service packs
No patches
They were all running netscape through a proxy server.
They have to perform yearly reinstalls because the technican is to
computer illiterate to figure out how to delete the profiles directory. Everyone
who logged into the computer would wind up creating a 2MB (before temp files) profile directory on the machine, multiply this by 800 students... and everything that was downloaded or worked on wound up saved to the hard drive. Because they hid all drives with the profile system (to so called prevent people from messing with the computer) the computer illiterate students and teachers would save it wherever the program defaulted to.

This all comes back to the fact that because Microsoft doesn't put any kind of security in their baseline software to prevent "stupidity by the masses" they just contribute to the problem by producing unsafe software.

I plan to keep my Windows 2000 Pro and preventing other people from using it without my permission through the simple fact that there is a login screen that refuses access ALWAYS. Not like windows 95/98/me that you can "cancel" and have instant access to the machine.

I will not be downgrading to WindowsXP consumer version, nor do I plan to ever spend the outragous amount of money to purchase another windows license. This is the end of the road.

Righto. Any questions?

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