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Thursday, 02 September 2004

El Reg

Thomas Greene reviews SP2 for Windows XP in characteristically inflammatory style over at the Register and comes up with the startling conclusion that

Microsoft declined many opportunities to harden Windows XP in a meaningful way; that is, by disabling unnecessary services, enforcing the multiuser environment, setting sensible user and file permissions, and installing a fully-functional packet filter. The roster of missing security utilities, such as PGP, SSH, a proper wipe utility, etc., is immense.

There's no shortage of valid points in this review, but the major niggling point for me can be quite easily illustrated by selectively quoting and adding my own emphasis, like this:

We evaluated the security features of Windows XP SP2 on a test machine, following a clean install of XP Pro with no configuration changes and no third-party software or drivers installed.
...
DHCP Client, automatic. Unnecessary on most home machines. Should be disabled by default.
DNS Client, automatic. Unnecessary on most home machines. Should be disabled by default.
NetMeeting Remote Desktop Sharing, manual. Unnecessary on most home machines. Should be disabled by default.

It's been a while since I've used XP, and for that matter, it's been even longer since I've used XP Home (the crucial word there is "home", a subtle implication that that version of the OS is to be used in a home computing environment) seeing as I've never installed that OS on any machine I've regularly used.

Having said that, I'm pretty sure that there's a whole raft of services here that XP Pro enables, whether either setting them as manual or automatic that might not be in XP Home. At the very least, I'm pretty convinced that Remote Desktop Connection is a feature that's only available in XP Pro (and is one of the main reasons why I prefer that OS). See, what's annoying is that so many of these criticisms are levelled as being unsuitable for a home computer operating system when XP Pro isn't. Home is to Windows 9x as Pro is to NT/2000 - reviewing a business desktop OS using home user criteria seems a little disingenuous to say the least. Besides, there's so much more to validly critique Windows XP -- Pro or Home without having to do a bait-and-switch.

41 comments and trackbacks

You weren't the only one to say that, which is why two weeks later he reviewed XP Home as well.

Posted by: Nick on September 23, 2004 10:02 AM

Ah, you strip the URI: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2004/09/17/xphome_sp2/

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