HelpWithWindows Newsletter
 02 April 2005, Vol 8 No. 13

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Microsoft Releases Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1

by Arie Slob

Hello Windows users,

Windows Server 2003 This week, Microsoft publicly released Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1 (SP1), providing Windows Server 2003 users with some significant security enhancements and reliability and performance improvements.

Microsoft has taken its time to deliver this Service Pack; it comes almost two years after the initial release of Windows Server 2003.

"With Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1, our development team took the time to treat the root cause of many security issues, not just the symptoms. This service pack is very significant and should help address certain classes of exploits," said Bob Muglia, senior vice president of the Windows Server Division at Microsoft. "Service Pack 1 is a major component of our overall strategy to help keep customers as secure as possible. I encourage all of our Windows Server 2003 customers to deploy Service Pack 1."

Windows Server 2003 SP1 provides new functionality to address known security vulnerabilities including:

  • Security Configuration Wizard (SCW). This makes it easier to reduce the attack surface area. SCW gathers information about specific server roles, and then automates blocking all services and ports not needed to perform those roles.
  • Windows Firewall. First released with Windows XP Service Pack 2, Windows Firewall serves as a host (software) firewall around each client and server computer on a customer's network.
  • Post-Setup Security Updates (PSSU). PSSU blocks all inbound connections to the server after installation of SP1 until Windows Update has delivered the latest security updates to the new computer.

Other Service Pack 1 features that offer customers a more robust security defense include Internet Information Services (IIS) 6.0 Metabase Auditing, which allows administrators to identify potential malicious users should the store become corrupted, stronger defaults and privilege reduction on services to establish a minimum security threshold for applications, and the addition of Network Access Quarantine Control components to allow administrators to isolate out-of-date virtual private networking (VPN) assets.

According to Microsoft, you can expect to see an increase in overall reliability and performance with the enhancements in Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1. Internal testing at Microsoft shows you can expect increased performance and reliability up to 50 percent, depending upon workload, after deploying Windows Server 2003 SP1.

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Recommended Web sites

Each month we will feature a few Web sites here, ones which sent us the most visitors to our Web site in the previous month. We would encourage you to visit these popular Web sites yourself!

Here are some sites in the Top 15 for March 2005:

  • PC Buyer Beware! - "Personal Computers: How best to buy, build, use, upgrade, and fix them."
  • VIA Arena - Official VIA forums.
  • PCQuest - "Understand, Choose, Implement IT".
  • - Information on setting up a local area network. Includes general guides, how-to sections, news, and reviews.

The Top 15 sites are listed on our Web site.

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Windows XP Internet Connection Sharing

Microsoft first introduced Internet Connection Sharing (ICS) in Windows 98 Second Edition. With ICS you can share a single Internet Connection across your (home) network, making it easier to connect to the Internet from your Networked computers.

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Windows XP Troubleshooting: "Limited or no connectivity" Network Error in Service Pack 2

I have heard several people complain about this problem: After upgrading to Windows XP Service Pack 2, they lose their network connection. The Local Area Connection Status will show a warning that it has "Limited or no connectivity".

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Windows 98 Tip: Turning off Password at start-up

If you have a network installed, each time you log on you will be asked for a password.

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Security Configuration Wizard Documentation

The Security Configuration Wizard documentation set contains deployment, extensibility options and troubleshooting tips to assist you in running SCW.

Supported Operating Systems: Windows Server 2003 SP1

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