Downgrading vista to xp

Windows 7’s arrival is just a few months away, however many type of world aren’t waiting and also just desire to relocation Vista’s newness — some say weirdness — for the familiarity of XP.

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If you lengthy for the good old days of XP and also still have actually your install CD, this step-by-step guide will aid you revert to Vista’s predecessor.

These days, you have to occupational to find a new computer system that comes with XP set up. Many kind of COMPUTER individuals that upgraded their XP systems to Vista are disappointed with the more recent OS’s performance and also various other troubles. In either case, as lengthy as you have an XP installation CD, you have the right to kiss Vista good-bye.

“Downgrading” from Vista to XP is not as hard as you may think, however it does entail some time-consuming operations. Many digital resources case to offer techniques for reinstalling XP without having actually to reformat your hard disk. Based on my research study, however, deleting the Vista partition and installing XP in its place is arguably the simplest method. Moreover, this approach ensures a clean install that is uncontaminated by Vista leftovers.

(Note: In certain situations, you may be able to unperform an XP-to-Vista upgrade, also without an XP installation CD, by adhering to the instructions in Microsoft write-up 933168. The short article takes a command-line approach to the XP restoration, and also additionally requires that you have actually a home windows.old folder on your root drive.) Make a pot of coffee and a brand-new, clean XP machine With your XP installation CD and your application discs in hand (and probably a cup o’ Joe), you’re ready to begin:

Step 1. Back up your data. Unfortunately, you can’t reclaim in XP a backup that you developed using Vista’s Back-up and also Restore Center. That suggests you have to either back up your information records manually or usage a third-party backup tool that works in both XP and Vista. One such regime is 2BrightSparks’ SyncBack (more info), which is available in complimentary and also phelp versions.

Don’t bvarious other backing up your applications; you’ll must reinstall them from their installation CDs after XP is back in area.

Do back up the folders that your portable apps usage to store their information. The portable apps themselves won’t need to be reset up, yet you’ll have to gain back their information documents from the backup. Managing portable apps is questioned in the Oct. 18, 2007, Top Story, “Free software application on USB allows portable computer.”

Tip 2. If crucial, connumber your BIOS to boot your computer from a CD, if one is current. Insert your XP installation disk and reboot.

Step 3. When XP setup tons, follow the on-display screen prompts to accept the license agreement and also proceed installing XP. When you get to the display prompting you for the partition on which to install XP, choose the one containing Vista and also push D to delete the partition. You’ll need to push Get in and then L to confirm that you want to delete all information and software application on the partition.

Step 4. Once you’ve went back to the partitioning display screen, choose the unpartitioned area that provided to be Vista. You might view that this space has actually been schosen for you immediately. Next, push C to create a partition. Specify the desired partition dimension, or press Get in to accept the default allotment, which is the maximum feasible partition. (Ssuggest pushing Go into rather of C also creates a new partition of the default dimension.)

Step 5. If you’re still seeing the partition display screen, make certain the desired partition is selected and also push Go into. Choose the option that formats the disk as NTFS and press Go into again.

Step 6. Follow the prompts on-display to continue the XP installation.

Step 7. Reinstall your applications and also regain your information from your backup.

That’s all there is to it. If you ever change your mind, you deserve to always insert your Vista DVD and upgrade from XP to Vista all over aacquire.

Scott Dunn is associate editor of the Windows Secrets Newsletter. He has been a contributing editor of COMPUTER World because 1992 and currently writes for the Here’s How area of that magazine.

Microsoft flubs a way to disable AutoRun in XP

By Susan Bradley

Microsoft’s instructions for disabling AutoRun in Windows XP, which I referred to last week, pointed to an incorrect Registry vital.

It’s simple to discover the correct key, yet, and knowledge this Regisattempt tweak can give you fine-grained manage over the kinds of exterior media that AutoRun is enabled to job-related on.

Last week’s Top Story covered Microsoft’s delay in releasing an AutoRun patch for Windows XP and also Server 2003. Many people desire to disable AutoRun entirely, because when it runs the autorun.inf file that’s often discovered on CDs, USB drives, and also other removable media, your machine can silently end up being infected. Prior to the patch, Microsoft’s official approach for disabling AutoRun might be circumvented by hackers.

Unfortunately, Microsoft’s Knowledge Base article about disabling AutoRun contained some misindevelopment. The record stated a place in the Registry that deserve to be offered to disable AutoRun, however the area exists just in Vista. The crucial is in a various branch of the Regisattempt in XP.

To clarify the process of configuring XP’s AutoRun settings, I’ve produced a Internet web page through screenshots to aid explain the procedures when and also for all.

Most defense patches take effect as soon as you install them. The patches for AutoRun, by contrast, merely permit you to disable AutoRun in a method that hackers can’t obtain about. After installing the AutoRun upday, you have to recollection a Regisattempt crucial to actually disable AutoRun. The setting you pick will be based on just how a lot you trust the USB flash drives and also various other removable media you can usage.

First off, unless you use Microsoft’s complimentary TweakUI or a similar third-party utility, the Regisattempt vital that controls AutoRun in Vista is under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE; in XP it’s under HKEY_CURRENT_USER. In other words, the essential in XP that you should navigate to in the Regisattempt Editor is as follows:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER Software Microsoft Windows CurrentVersion Policies Explorer

The instructions to disable AutoRun in last week’s post worked fine in Vista Home and also Vista Company, wright here the Regisattempt crucial is wbelow Microsoft shelp. The instructions also worked in XP Professional, which contains the Group Policy Editor and automatically opeprices on the correct branch of the Regisattempt.

The errant vital place in the procedures influenced just individuals of XP Home, which doesn’t come via the Group Policy Editor. XP Home calls for hand-operated editing of the Registry essential through the Regmodify energy.

Disabling AutoRun, of course, means you won’t obtain automatic loading of content, such as camera-conversion software application. You’ll should remember (and also teach others who use your PC) to usage Windows Explorer or your favorite file manager to start any type of software that might exist on removable media. If every USB flash drives you touch is guaranteed to be complimentary from viruses, you might decide not to disable AutoRun. But you most likely can’t guarantee such a thing.

It’s most likely that you’ll desire to adjust this establishing on the computers of friends and loved ones. On these devices, the desired AutoRun setting relies on which forms of exterior media you desire to block. You deserve to block or enable some or all types of AutoRun functions. Instructions for doing so at the site explain (in technical language) just how you deserve to configure AutoRun by adding up decimal values.

For instance, let’s say you want to disable AutoRun for whatever yet CD-ROMs. To block the other media types, according to Microsoft’s cryptic documentation, you’d add 1 for unknown media, 4 for removable drives (such as USB drives), 8 for fixed drives, 16 for netjob-related drives, 64 for RAM drives, and also 128 for other drives of unrecognized forms. Add all of those decimal values together and enter the outcome — 221 — in the Decimal box of the NoDriveTypeAutorun Registry crucial.

To install the AutoRun patch, which is defined in Microsoft Knowledge Base short article 967715, without having to validate your computer system through Windows Genuine Advantage, you deserve to use the upday explained in KB write-up 953252 instead. This patch is specifically the very same, other than that you can install it without the WGA checkup. Windows 7 won’t let you postpone updates In a column on Feb. 5, WS contributing editor Woody Leondifficult explained a critical flegislation in the forthcoming Windows 7’s User Account Control (UAC) feature. Hacker code might defeat UAC in the beta of Win7, a truth amply demonstrated by blogger Long Zheng and many type of others besides Woody.

Microsoft initially refoffered to readjust the settings, forcing Long to make his concerns public. A few days later, Redmond changed course, announcing it would deal with the problem, as Woody reported in a distinct news upday on Feb. 11.

The situation via the weird shutdown logic of Windows 7 isn’t security-connected, yet is simply a vital to many kind of of us. When an worry choose this comes up, I wish every bug tester had the ability to muster public assistance the method Long did. I recontact many type of times once Microsoft has actually shut dvery own any kind of conversation of bugs by ssuggest labeling them “by architecture.”

Microsoft has currently closed at least one bug ticket on the shutdown behavior in precisely this way: calling it “by design.” I disagree through Microsoft’s decision, and also I think you will certainly, also.

Here’s the problem: once you set Windows 7’s upday settings to Downfill however do not install, the brand-new OS behaves a lot in a different way than the exact same settings in XP and also Vista. If I happen to be in a case wbelow I don’t have time to install patches, the shutdown butlots in XP and also Vista currently let me turn the machine off without installing patches. (See Figure 1.)

Figure 1. Windows XP allows you shut dvery own without installing updays.

Even Windows Server 2008 permits you to shut dvery own the computer system and pick to patch at a later time. (See Figure 2.)

Figure 2. Windows Server 2008 gives you the same selective shutdvery own.

In build 7000 of the Windows 7 beta, but, there’s no choice on the shutdown button to quit without installing the updays. You watch only a switch for the normal shutdown process, which uses the patches prior to the machine powers off. (See Figure 3.)

Figure 3. Windows 7’s shutdown choices don’t encompass the no-update alternate.

I was caught off guard and also found that patches were being mounted as the device shut dvery own. I had actually to turn the mechanism ago on to confirm that this is what had happened; it was resulted in by the absence of an “install patches later” alternative. Workaround for a no-upday Windows 7 shutdown Here’s the secret: the just way to shut down Win7 without installing patches is to push Ctrl+Alt+Del and then click the up-arrowhead by the red shutdown switch. This enables the device to shut dvery own without installing patches. (See Figure 4.)

Figure 4. The just way to shut dvery own Windows 7 without applying patches is via Ctrl+Alt+Delete.

I’m conscious that construct 7000 is only a beta of Win7 and also not a release candidate. I honestly don’t know whether this habits will certainly be consisted of in the last variation. If it is, though, I consider it to be a poor architecture decision that will certainly give many type of Windows 7 users an unsatismanufacturing facility patching suffer.

I’m not the only Win7 beta tester via comes to about the way Microsoft is passing over bugs in its zeal to gain the product out the door. Don’t gain me wrong: I favor Windows 7 and think you’ll like it as well, as soon as you check out it in action. However before, I’m involved that a squeaky wheel is what it takes these days to goad Microsoft into making some required alterations. I hope I’m wrong and also that Win7’s absence of this crucial shutdvery own alternative will certainly obtain solved.

Susan Bradley newly obtained an MVP (Many Valuable Professional) award from Microsoft for her expertise in the locations of Small Firm Server and network protection. She’s also a companion in a The golden state CPA firm.

Readers dubious of suites, want to mix and also match

By Dennis O’Reilly

The significant response to our research for your opinion on the best method to securing your PC gives us much to ponder as we prepare the next Security Baseline update.

Many type of readers feel that defense suites stink, and also best-of-breed is the only method to go — yet, unfortunately, what’s “best” for one PC deserve to be disastrous for another.

Last week’s Known Issues column presented responses to Ryan Russell’s Feb. 26 Top Story on the WS Security Baseline. We asked you to chime in on your security-software preferences. Your opinions on the topic can conveniently fill a whole newsletter — in fact, multiple newsletters.

The responses were many kind of and differed, but many world agreed on two points:

The first is that individual antivirus, anti-spyware, firewall, and other specialty apps are preferable to such all-in-one protection suites as Symantec’s Norton Web Security 2009. (Ryan’s article had stated that NIS 2009 is the optimal alternative of PC World,, Maximum Software, and also other reviewers. But not everyone concurs.)

The second is that a protection solution that functions excellent on one PC or network may flop miserably on one more.

Reader Mary Smith-Markell puts it this way:

“OK, I’m going to take you up on your offer to share my thoughts. I’m worn down of people giving their opinions around which protection product, operating system, word handling software, hamburger, pizza, vehicle, etc., is ‘the ideal.’ Opinions are choose assholes … we all have actually one.

“NIS 2009 could work-related simply good on my computer system bereason of the means my machine is configured and also the certain software application I have installed. NIS 2009 could completely suck on my neighbor’s machine bereason it’s not put up the exact same as mine. Does that mean NIS 2009 is a defective product, or is it an unreasonable expectation that Norton (or McAfee, AVG, Ahuge, Trfinish Micro, et al.) be all things to all people? With so many kind of user variables — not to mention machine variables — it’s a wonder that the majority of software application actually works the majority of of the moment.

“A few months ago, a friend bought a 2009 Cadillac Escalade — a fairly pricey and also supposedly well-developed auto. It’s been in the shop more than it’s been on the road, and also the dealership is taking action under the Lemon Law to rearea it. Stuff happens.

“To all the readers that have a favorite security product they swear by, I’m happy for you. Really, I am. But to those that tried a product and found it didn’t job-related, quitcherbitchin’ and also usage a different product. Having some kind of security product is much better than no protection product at all.”

If suffer counts for anything, you’d be nuts to buy any type of protection suite, regardmuch less of how very the experienced software application reviewers rate it. Tim Marsh echoes Dennis Edelbrock’s sentiments regarding best-of-breed vs. all-in-one security programs:

“Like Dennis Edelbrock, I also have been building/repairing computers for twenty years. I must agree that Peter Norton was a genius and also had the ideal products, bar none. It’s not surprising that his assets were wanted by a bigger agency. Unfortunately, it didn’t take long prior to Symantec totally destroyed Peter’s good name. It’s a shame, really.

“If you ask any type of repair technician who’s been doing this for years, they’ll all tell you that standalone products far outperform their suite counterparts. There is sindicate no conflict on this matter. I agree that for a huge number of people, suites are less complicated to install/maintain and also are therefore a good option, as compared to not running anypoint or not sufficient.

“You should additionally realize that magazines/Internet sites are in company to make money. It provides me wonder how any dependable firm could ever say that the Symantec suite is best of course. I guess if by ‘class’ you intend ‘suites,’ then it’s possible to make this insurance claim. However, if the intent is to connumber one’s computers to encertain maximum protection, then standalone products simply can’t be beat. And the funny thing is, in my opinion, many free assets outperform the majority of commercial commodities.

“I urge your readers to store reading this newsletter, as it constantly mirrors both sides to eexceptionally story. Also, store in mind that any kind of commercial-based company might not have actually the end user’s best interemainder in mind as soon as they’re advertising-based. I would rather take the advice of someone choose Dennis Edelbrock any type of day before a magazine or commercial Internet website.” In defense of computer system magazines, I know that the one I worked for until late 2007, COMPUTER World, checked out good lengths to encertain the impartiality of its hardware and also software reviews. I truly believe that most professional technology journalists are not influenced by the vendors. Their bosses, on the various other hand, might be a various matter.

Readers Mary and also Tim will certainly each get a gift certificate for a book, CD, or DVD of their alternative for sending tips we published. Sfinish us your tips using the Windows Secrets contact page.

The Knvery own Issues column brings you readers’ comments on our current short articles. Dennis O’Reilly is technological editor of

Hell hath no fury choose a lunchbox scorned

By Katy Abby

Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay (of the renowned televised competition “Hell’s Kitchen”) is notorious for his foul mouth and also short fuse. Couple of and much in between are the episodes that don’t finish in crying contestants, as Gordon summarily rips acomponent their culinary slogs via a fiery enthusiasm. But where did he gain such a dramatic and also pigheaded disposition?

Take a gander at this hilarious supposition around wright here the devilish cook gained his start, and maybe things will certainly make a tiny more feeling. I pity the next person who serves the tiny tyrant overcooked chicken fingers or generic mac ‘n’ cheese! Play the video

Sorting out Windows setup-disc mixups

By Fred Langa

If you’re one of the many kind of Windows Secrets readers who’s charged with regulating multiple Computers — and also I bet you are — you may be juggling a fifty percent dozen or even more Windows installation CDs and also DVDs.

Here’s just how to remain sane while making sense of the different setup discs that shipped through the devices.

Which setup CD goes with which PC? Have you ever before ended up via a fistful of setup CDs without a clue regarding which discs came via which PC? I certain have actually, and so has actually Geoff Nicholls:

Here’s some good news: product keys aren’t that restrictive, and sorting out your setup discs may be much easier than you think. In fact, you may not also require many of them!

First — simply to be clear — a Windows product essential is mostly supposed to continue to be via the COMPUTER it was initially mounted on. The vital doesn’t adjust through normal updates and company packs. It remains in force for the life of the OS on a given machine.

Now take into consideration that all PCs running the same variation of XP — or any variation of Windows, for that issue — attract from the same pool of original code and updates. With one exception that I’ll mention in a moment, your installations of XP Pro, for example, are basically the same as mine and all others anywhere in the human being. We have actually different licenses and also tricks, but the core OS code is more or much less interchangeable.

Because all systems running the very same version of Windows usage fundamentally the very same code, it doesn’t issue wbelow that code comes from. That, in turn, suggests the setup CDs for a offered variation of Windows will occupational on any type of COMPUTER. Certainly, Microsoft’s conventional end-user policy is “one PC per license,” not “one COMPUTER per setup CD.” The license and product crucial go through the PC, not through the setup disc.

It’s even 100% legitimate to produce your own custom, completely up-to-date XP setup CD for each variation of Windows and usage that disc for reinstalls on any kind of COMPUTER that has actually its own separate and legitimate product key for that Windows version.

That’s what I recommfinish you execute. Create one totally up-to-date “master” setup CD for each variation of XP and also usage those masters for all your OS reinstalls. (See my Dec. 18, 2008, column, “Slipstreaming simplifies Windows reinstalls,” for indevelopment on creating understand setup CDs.) When asked for the product key in the time of a reinstall for a given version of XP, simply enter the original crucial for the variation of Windows that came through that particular PC. It functions and also it’s 100% legit.

There’s one caveat: the OEM setup disks that ship through brand-new Computers (which frequently lug vendor-certain branding) may contain motorists distinctive to the machine the CD shipped via. This commonly isn’t a vast deal, bereason Windows will certainly usage generic motorists if brand-specific drivers aren’t available. After a generic reinstall, sindicate browse to the vendor’s website and downpack whatever tradition drivers the COMPUTER may require. You can protect against this minor hassle by maintaining these branded OEM setup CDs with the Computers they came with.

Remember, for normal end-user versions of Windows, it’s “one PC per license,” not “one PC per setup CD.” A setup CD for a provided version of Windows can be provided on pretty much any COMPUTER that has actually its own sepaprice, legitimate Windows product vital. You deserve to usage my setup CDs and I have the right to usage your setup CDs. As long as we save our product tricks sepaprice and use them just on the PCs they’re connected via, we’re gold. Resuscitating a dead System Resave applet Danny Cope’s PC has actually shed its capability to usage System Resave to develop regain points.

“Could you offer me ‘Dummies’-type assist to resolve my XP System Restore? It no longer functions. It appears the ‘reclaim points’ are still being created, but will not actually regain.”

You haven’t offered me many indevelopment to work-related with, Danny, but below are some of your options:

First, try disabling and also then re-permitting System Restore. To do so, click Start, Control Panel, Performance and Maintenance (in Classification view), System. In the System Properties dialog box, click the System Resave tab and also check the Turn off System Restore alternative.

Reboot and go via the exact same measures aacquire, but this time, uncheck the Turn off System Restore option. This process must clear out your old gain back points and offer System Rekeep a fresh begin.

If that doesn’t occupational, try running the Restore/Enable System Resave manuscript from the Kellys-Korner website. (Look for item 278.) In addition to the Restore/Enable System Rekeep manuscript, the item consists of an Unperform script. Obviously, you want the former.

If you’re still System Restore-less, the System Data Checker, sfc.exe, may help by ensuring that all your device papers are up-to-day. (See MS Knowledge Base article 310747 for even more info).

Finally, Microsoft’s optimistically called short article, “Windows XP System Rekeep Is Easy to Use,” might aid you track dvery own any type of glitches that the over operations fail to deal with. A ‘fix’ reasons even more problems than it solves Mary Smith-Markell offers this talk about the guideline “A fix for Windows’ damaged installer utility” in my Feb. 26 column:

Good tip, Mary. Thanks!

Yes, numerous of Window’s own repair/maintenance devices occasionally cause brand-new troubles. For example, running the Disk Cleanup tool in Vista have the right to break the Hybrid Sleep and Hibernation attribute. If you need assist re-registering your regsvr32 documents, you can review around and also downpack the patch in KB article 929846. That fix concerns all Vista versions, not simply Vista Enterprise — despite what the page states. Storing complete CDs/DVDs on a tough drive Weldon Schultz’s interest was piqued by a current item:

Sure, Weldon! There are 2 standard means to carry out this.

The first is to copy the whole contents of the CD or DVD. Say you have actually a CD through your favorite software on it — let’s contact it “Weldonware2009.” Create a brand-new folder somewhere on your large tough drive named Weldonware2009. Pop your CD into the drive and choose ‘explore’ (don’t pick ‘open’ or ‘auto-run’).

See more: Why Am I Receiving Multiple Texts, Receiving Duplicate Text Messages

Next, highlight the records in the root brochure and the top-level folder(s) on the CD and drag them to the Weldonware2009 folder you simply produced on your tough drive. That’s it. You’re done! In a lot of instances, you can currently install the software program from the exterior hard drive just as if it were on the CD; there’s normally a setup.exe regimen or tantamount in the top-level folder.

Sometimes, installation software program is configured to run only from a CD or DVD, either for technological factors or for copy-security purposes. In such cases, you have to use the second approach: make an ISO copy of the disk and keep that copy on the hard drive. (“ISO” is short for “ISO 9660,” a practically universal CD format characterized by the International Standards Organization.)

Eincredibly CD/DVD–burning suite I know of — including those from vendors Roxio, Nero, and Ashampoo — have utilities to develop an ISO copy of a CD or DVD. For example, Ashampoo provides the excellent Burning Studio Free (even more info). Just search the aid records of your CD-burning program for information relating to ISO copying.

Figure 1. All great CD/DVD-burning tools — consisting of Ashampoo Burning Studio Free — let you develop ISO image documents of your application discs.

When you burn the ISO copy to a blank CD or DVD, the resulting disk will be functionally similar to the original. Even better, “mount” the ISO image directly making use of special software to create a online CD drive. Virtual CD software renders your mechanism think it’s seeing a actual drive and also lets you usage the ISO file specifically as if it were a real, physical CD.

Microsoft offers a small, cost-free, unsustained regimen dubbed Virtual CD ROM (check out Softpedia for details and a download). The program is designed for XP, however through a small sophisticated footwork, it’ll run in Vista as well. Due to the fact that it’s an unsustained tool, you’ll have to go to third-party sites for instructions. Two great sources are MakeUseOf and also Charles Sterling’s MSDN blog.

Fred Langa is editor-at-huge of the Windows Secrets Newsletter. He was formerly editor of Byte Magazine (1987–91), editorial director of CMP Media (1991–97), and also editor of the LangaList e-mail newsletter from its origin in 1997 till its merger through Windows Secrets in November 2006.

New rating company verifies sites in actual time

By Mark Joseph Edwards

Version 3 of Symantec’s Norton 360 defense software program contains a new “Safe Web” feature that competes straight with McAfee’s SiteAdvisor.

But are Safe Web’s real-time checks of the sites you’re visiting any even more reliable than SiteAdvisor’s database approach?

Security application boosts its uscapacity In the Feb. 26 Top Story, Ryan Russell wrote about Symantec’s Norton Web Security 2009, which several leading tech publications presently rate as the best as a whole defense suite. At the exact same time, Ryan provided the pain that most users have actually knowledgeable as soon as installing, utilizing, and uninstalling Symantec’s defense software program.

I’ve likewise heard many kind of complaints about the product. Most relate to its software bloat, reresource hogging, and also disk-space demands. Apparently, Symantec has actually been listening. Last week, the company released Norton 360 variation 3, which brings several renovations, according to a tour at Symantec’s website.

When I spoke newly via Symantec representatives around the product, I learned that variation 3 have the right to be set up in less than one minute and offers less than 10MB of RAM as soon as the software is idle. The new release additionally calls for just about 110MB of hard-disk space. These are all enhancements over the previous release.

Amongst the program’s brand-new functions are the ability to block botnets and a tool that helps you disable startup programs. Norton 360 v3 boots and runs quicker, updates signatures even more frequently (eextremely 5 to 15 minutes), and offers fewer CPU cycles as soon as idle.

But possibly the most amazing brand-new attribute in the regime is its Safe Web component. This is a direct competitor to McAfee’s SiteAdvisor, a site-rating service I wrote about in the Feb. 12 Top Story. WS editorial director Brian Livingston subsequently reported in a Feb. 19 follow-up on a number of details McAfee subsequently revealed on SiteAdvisor’s upday and also dispute-resolution plans.

Like SiteAdvisor, Safe Internet intends to show the safety and security of a provided site making use of a familiar green-yellow-red rating system. But there’s a basic difference in the methods that Safe Web and SiteAdvisor develop their ratings.

First of all, you must be a user of Norton 360 to obtain accessibility to the Safe Net internet browser toolbar; there’s no identical to SiteAdvisor’s complimentary web browser add-on. Secondly, Safe Web scans eexceptionally Net site that you visit in genuine time by passing a site’s content right into the defense devices contained within Norton 360.

In addition, eincredibly time you visit a Web web page, the URL is passed back to Symantec, which schedules its own sdeserve to using the company’s proprietary devices. Even though sfinishing Symantec the URLs of all the sites you visit raises significant privacy involves, scanning peras in real time is theoretically even more trusted than the approaches used by LinkScanner, LinkExtend, Web of Trust, and also various other such services that monitor website security. (WS senior editor Gizmo Richards reported on LinkExtend in his Mar. 5 column.)

Norton 360 has anti-malware tools that rely in part on data concerning arising risks. The regime is updated with this data a number of times an hour, whenever your COMPUTER is linked to the Web. This allows Safe Internet to detect brand-new malicious sites a lot sooner than contending solutions perform — at least in theory. False positives afflict all site-rating services Safe Web’s strategy isn’t perfect. In reality, it’s fraught via the exact same false positives that hamper SiteAdvisor and other reputation-rating services that depend on content scanning.

For example, Safe Web prices the site as red, allegedly because it includes a well-known bit of malware. In truth, is a repository for all sorts of make use of code. The site itself doesn’t perpetrate exploits versus its travellers — it simply publishes examples of exploit code, so its red rating is undeoffered, in my book.

Interestingly, SiteAdvisor gives a yellow rating, which is simply as bogus. There’s no reason not to price as green.

If you’re a site owner concerned around just how Safe Web might price your website, visit Symantec’s Safe Net sign-up page to claim ownership of your site. After your registration is finish, you deserve to subscribe to an RSS feed that will store you up-to-day on your site’s standing.

The bottom line is that all site-reputation rating solutions are jockeying to place themselves as gatekeepers of a secure Net, yet that claim is outappropriate dangerous. Any company that can’t rate a site via 100% accuracy, 100% of the time, has no service offering an assessment of the site’s safety.

I think all such solutions should drop the green and also yellow ratings and also offer just red ratings to flag sites recognized to be dangerous. Anypoint past that is unfettered hubris. Unpatched peril in Adobe Reader and also Acrobat As Susan Bradley pointed out in her Feb. 26 Patch Watch column, a really dangerous vulnercapability exists in Adobe Reader and Acrobat that could let a negative man entirely take over your device. A patch wasn’t released until yesterday (Mar. 11), so till you’ve applied the upday, be very leery of opening any PDF documents from unwell-known sources.

Visit for the patch and install it without delay. Firefox and also Opera browsers need updating If you use the Firefox and Opera browsers, make certain that you’ve updated your software program to versions 3.0.7 and also 9.64, respectively. These updays resolve dangerous vulnerabilities in the programs.

Firefox 3.0.7 includes fixes for 4 protection troubles related to Javamanuscript, PNG picture documents, XML document information, and record object model facets. Opera 9.64 has three fixes that remedy security problems related to JPEG image documents and JavaScript code, along with a fix for an “unspecified” difficulty for which no details were provided. A word to wise WordPress users: update! If you’re among the millions of human being who usage the WordPress blogging platform, make absolutely specific that your sites are running the latest version — 2.7.1 — of the software application. In truth, if you’re running any kind of version before 2.6.5, your site is a sitting duck that hackers can take over on a whim.

Over the past couple of months, I’ve kicked hackers out of a number of WordPress sites for my consulting clients. The pattern of intrusion was the same in each case: the bad men exploited a site running an older variation of the software — also though version 2.7.x has been obtainable because December 2008 — to inject a backdoor into the server.

The backdoor offers the invaders finish and also unminimal accessibility to your whole file mechanism and also database. With that level of access, the crooks deserve to modify your web page templates, plug-in records, the core WordPress code, and your database. This means they have the right to insert hidden spam web links and also assorted malware to infect the computer systems belonging to your site’s tourists.

In some cases, sindicate upgrading your software application won’t rerelocate the backdoor. To totally plug the hole, you have to either (1) delete your entire website and restore it from an uninfected backup copy and then automatically upgrade to the latest WordPress software program, or (2) hire an skilled to track dvery own and also cshed the backdoor. Either path is time-consuming and potentially costly. It’s much even more reliable to ssuggest save your software program up-to-date in the initially place.

Just to be completely clear, the difficulty isn’t certain to WordPress; this sort of vulnercapability can beset any type of Net application. Keep every one of your Net software application as existing as possible.

Mark Joseph Edwards is a senior contributing editor of Windows IT Pro Magazine and routinely writes for its Security Matters blog. He’s a netjob-related engineer, freelance writer, and also the author of Net Security through Windows NT.

Service packs unperform essential XP, Server 2003 patches

By Susan Bradley

If you installed XP Service Pack 3 or Windows Server SP2 after September 2008, you have to reapply a vital security upday.

In enhancement, if Windows Update offers your XP or Server 2003 device Microsoft’s security bulletin MS08-067 patch, you should install it — also if you’ve formerly done so.

MS08-067 (954593) XP SP3 and also Server 2003 SP2 might need repatching You may be wondering why my lead topic this particular day is MS08-067, a patch from 2008. Well, I’m wondering, too.

You may discover this week that your Windows XP SP3 and Windows 2003 SP2 machines are offered MS08-067 (954593). If so, you most likely installed SP3 on XP or SP2 on Windows 2003 some time after September 2008.

People that installed MS08-067 when it initially came out last summer — and also then set up either the XP SP3 or 2003 SP2 company pack — might not know that devices were went back back to a delicate version of gdiplus.dll.

Service packs aren’t supposed to execute that. They’re intended to be smart sufficient to retain the patched versions of all device records.

Last month, but, I found that some XP machines I’d updated to SP3 post-September had actually the pre-upday variation of gdiplus.dll. On three of the units, my third-party patching tool from Shavlik flagged this file as out-of-date. It readily available the patch to me once I performed a hand-operated scan.

I thought it odd at the moment, yet I thought that the trouble was via Shavlik’s tool, not Microsoft’s. When I reviewed the patch indevelopment on Shavlik’s forum, though, I uncovered a forum article from last November by a commenter named Fordhami indicating that Microsoft knew of this worry earlier then.

Interestingly, I’d installed XP SP2 on several XP SP3 workstations and also then reset up XP SP3, only to discover that the devices were properly patched. I looked for gdiplus.dll on those systems and uncovered three documents in places comparable to the following path:

C:Windows WinSxS x86_Microsoft.Windows.GdiPlus_hashnumber

The version of all 3 documents was 5.1.3102.5581. This suggested that the machine was patched. You may desire to search for that file and view what variation you have. Don’t worry about any type of gdiplus.dll documents located elsewhere on your mechanism. The necessary one is discovered in the WinSxS folder.

Figure 1. This gdiplus.dll variation number shows that the file is up-to-day.

This isn’t the initially patch-detection trouble for XP SP3. Given the number of months considering that the update’s initial release, it’s disturbing that the difficulty is simply currently coming to light. People still ask me whether it’s OK to install SP3 on XP systems. When it concerns any kind of service load, I constantly caution you to be all set by creating a complete backup prior to installing it.

I hope, for all our sakes, that this is the last time I’ll be composing around issues via XP SP3 and patches. MS09-006 (958690) Plugging yet one more image-file hole The upday defined in Microsoft protection bulletin MS09-006 (958690) patches a feasible assault making use of compromised EMF or WMF image records. The excellent news is that the likelihood of an strike appears to be slight. I still urge you to apply this patch as quickly as you deserve to.

In my tests of the patch, everything went well. But whenever before you patch the Windows kernel — as this update does — you should be prepared for potential disputes through antivirus software, which might should be updated and/or tweaked. Firefox users: Got .NET? Get rid of it! Many customers of Mozilla’s Firefox internet browser acquired a surprise after they mounted .NET Framework-related 3.5 Service Pack 1: an unintended .NET add-on for the web browser.

to uninstall the add-on, you’ll discover instructions in Microsoft KB write-up 963707. The procedures, which are completely hand-operated, are for the brave of heart, to be certain. A note at the peak of the write-up hints that there’ll soon be an update to .NET 3.5 SP1 that automates the uninstall process.

If you’d rather not wait to rerelocate the add-on from your device, take the manual-uninstall path. Personally, I’m simply glad that Microsoft has identified the problem. I deserve to wait for the automated uninstallation by means of the .NET 3.5 SP1 patch, whenever that might arrive.

In an unrelated note, all Firefox customers should upgrade to version 3.0.7, as Mark Joseph Edwards defines in this week’s PC Tune-Up column. Adobe and also Foxit PDF readers require patching At first, I assumed I’d be stating this particular day just a brand-new patch for Adobe Reader and Acrobat that fixes a zero-day threat to PDF readers. Not to be left out, Foxit Reader has actually a deal with of its very own. However before, Foxit beat Adobe to the end up line via its patch release (check out the Foxit site for more info). Adobe lastly came out with its very own PDF updays, although the concern was first reported last month.

If your PDF reader doesn’t prompt you to download and also install these updays, you may have to launch the application to make it retrieve the patches. As an alternate, visit Adobe’s bulletin page and download its patch manually, if you usage Adobe Reader or Acrobat.

Keep in mind that the patch uses just to Adobe Acrobat version 9; the updates for versions 7 and also 8 aren’t due till Mar. 18.

The negative news for administrators is that the updated variation of Acrobat 9 still doesn’t assistance roaming prodocuments in a netoccupational establishing. In the update’s release notes, the firm renders it clear that roaming prodocuments aren’t supported in version 9, also though they did work in variation 8.

For the ideal security, upgrade to version 9.1 of Adobe Reader and Acrobat, and also variation 3 of Foxit, whichever variation you might currently be making use of. Apple’s AirPort gets a much-essential upday While there are no necessary Macintosh security patches this month, Apple has actually released a couple of updays that deal with a few network problems. The 2009-001 AirPort upday described on an Apple support web page patches Mac energy software program.

Also due this month from Apple are updays for iLife and electronic camera software application. MS09-007 (960225) Secure Sockets Layer fixes low-danger glitch You can be wondering why 2 defense patches that Microsoft released on Patch Tuesday this month are so far dvery own in my short article this particular day. It’s because the troubles they fix represent little danger for client workstations.

The upday defined in Microsoft security bulletin MS09-007 (960225) results SSL transmissions in between a workstation and server.

Why isn’t this a major issue? After all, we use SSL certificates on secure Net sites all the time.

Due to the incredibly restricted manner in which the attacker have the right to acquire the accessibility required to launch this attack, it would certainly happen just once a site sends out you a secure certificate to install on your machine before you deserve to connect to its servers.

Most of us usage a procedure of public certificates, through which a third-party company such as Veriauthorize holds the information to make the certificate valid. Therefore for the majority of people, this is a non-concern.

Don’t gain me wrong: I’d still choose you to patch. But the hazard is minor, in my opinion. MS09-008 (962238) Domain name services gain one more patch At last summer’s BlackHat protection research study conference, Dan Kaminsky demonstrated the inprotection of the Web’s Domain Name System (DNS). DNS is the grasp dictionary that computer systems usage to look up Net addresses. At that time, a patch was released that renders it harder for attackers to poichild these DNS documents.

The update defined in Microsoft protection bulletin MS09-008 (962238) improves on the earlier resolve, preventing attackers from tricking computer systems right into redirecting users to malware sites. This patch is for servers just, so many world needn’t take any kind of activity.

If you run Small Firm Server 2003, but, the DNS patch in Microsoft defense bulletin MS08-037 caused random selection of ports by the DNS solutions, interfering with the server rebooting. To prevent this, install the patch described in KB 956263, which need to be available to your server immediately. This upday for SBS 2003 is new this week. Just say no to this Office Live upday Just bereason Windows Update or Microsoft Upday uses you a patch, it doesn’t intend it’s a great principle.

Such is the instance for the Office Live add-in for Office 2007. Unmuch less you currently usage an Office Live product, you don’t need the patch. If you usage Vista, you could think the upday is a crucial patch, because Vista doesn’t separate crucial updays from optional updays, the means XP does.

Figure 3. Vista lists optional updates, such as the one in the middle for Office Live, together with important patches.

David Barnes suggests in a blog article that this merged listing brought about a SharePoint problem in his Small Firm Server netjob-related. Dave had actually to rerelocate the optional update from his workstations.

Bottom line: If you don’t really require this patch, don’t install it. If you’ve set up it and don’t need it, uninstall it. Symantec’s Norton AV oops reasons a huge headache For some factor, Symantec sent out an unsigned file a couple of days back to individuals of its Norton antivirus product. As a result, many kind of Norton users were alerted to an unknown file that was requesting access to the Net.

After determining that the “suspicious” file had actually come from Symantec, individuals went digital to the company’s forums and also posted inquiries. The resulting increase of inquiries and also concerns led to Symantec staffers, at one allude, deleting valid messperiods from the forums in an effort to calm the angry crowd.

As reported in a CNET write-up, Symantec faicaused tell customers ahead of time that it was sfinishing out a diagnostic file. Symantec’s faitempt to digitally sign the file caused it to generate cautions on firewalls. The firm did a bad job of managing the resulting firestorm of concern.

Although some undesirable spammers did regulate to short article junk in the forums to take benefit of the confusion, Symantec must have actually been up-front about the difficulty and also not deleting whole threads. Let this be a leskid to all vendors: come clean about what you’re doing. Let’s hope they obtain the hint.

The Patch Watch column reveals difficulties with patches for Windows and major Windows applications. Susan Bradley newly received an MVP (Most Valuable Professional) award from Microsoft for her expertise in the areas of Small Business Server and also network-related protection. She’s likewise a companion in a California CPA firm.

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