Saturday, June 05, 2004

Microsoft bars Windows pirates

Many people using pirated copies of Windows XP will get no help from Microsoft to make their PC safer.

The software giant has decided that a forthcoming update to XP will not work with the most widely pirated versions of its operating system.

The upgrade, called Service Pack 2, closes security loopholes in XP and adds features that make it easier to keep machines safer from viruses.

SP2 is the long awaited upgrade for Windows XP that Microsoft hopes will make the software much more resilient to many of the ways that malicious hackers and virus writers have exploited it before now.

Also included are features that make it easier for users to manage their anti-virus software and firewall. It also forces users to make explicit choices about how secure they want their PC to be.

Other features include a blocker for adverts that pop-up when people browse the web and background utilities that warn when spyware is trying to install itself on their machine.

Once installed SP2 also changes the way that future updates are installed.

Instead of downloading the whole chunk of XP being updated, SP2 instead only downloads the parts that have changed.

This change should reduce future patch download times by up to 80%.

Check What's in SP2
" Pop-up ads blocked
Revamped firewall on by default
Outlook Express, Internet Explorer and Windows Messenger warn about attachments
Origins of downloaded files logged
Web graphics in e-mail no longer loaded by default
Some spyware blocked
Users regularly reminded about Windows Updates
Security Centre brings together information about anti-virus, updates and firewall
Protection against buffer over-runs
Windows Messenger Service turned off by default "

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