View Full Version : Xp users

11th May 2008, 12:09 PM
Has anyone downloaded service pack 3 yet??I have read there may be some problems with it.
Thought I'd ask before I try it.


11th May 2008, 02:10 PM
Yes - I use XP (Pro)

No - I haven't tried SP3

I'll be interested to hear of any problems.

Real Ramona
11th May 2008, 08:22 PM
Yup - I did the deed a few days ago. There was an initial bit of weirdness afterwards when I plugged my E1 into the firewire port and it went ding, but there was no sign of it mounting. And then Dreamweaver wouldnt start.
None of this boded well but a reboot seemed to solve it.
So, nothing else to report really. I have not heard of any other problems and I hand out in a couple of hardcore geek forums.
I have yet to update my Vista box to SP1 yet.....

13th May 2008, 09:22 AM
Had some firewall problems (Zonealarm) with the download initially, but after I switched it off temporarily in favour of the Windoze FW it went fine.

Haven't tried plugging the E1 in yet... so fingers crossed!

Real Ramona
13th May 2008, 04:46 PM
Hugh, unless you have a very specific reason for wanting to use Zonealarm, such as monitoring particular outgoing traffic and connects, the ZA is more of a liability than an assett. It will frequently bog down your connection and use a lot of memory and CPU time that. Windows FW is perfectly adequate for the vast majority of users.

13th May 2008, 05:03 PM
That's interesting. I was told by a prospective employer earlier this year that the Windoze FW was c**p and, basically, if I wanted to work for that organisation, I would have to upgrade. Which I did. ZA seemed acceptable...

This was the first time I've noticed a problem... Other than various "n is trying to access the internet" warnings when I upgrade bits of software. That doesn't happen often enough to be annoying.

I see from your profile you are "in the business", as it were. What would you recommend that's a step up from the Windows version but doesn't tie up system resources?

Jim Ford
13th May 2008, 06:39 PM
The consensus on comp.security.firewalls is that 'personal firewalls' such as Zonealarm are useless at best and dangerous at worst.

Outgoing filtering is useless. If a malignant application tries to dial out it's too late - your system is already compromised (and your pfw didn't stop it coming in the first place!).

Apps such as ZA are started up after the rest of the system is up. Until then the system is vulnerable to an external attack. Windows fw starts up very early as the system comes up, so there isn't this window of opportunity.

I'm no fan of MS Windows of any flavour, but accept that the built-in Windows fw is better than any of the third party personal firewalls.

Here's a posting from comp.security.firewalls:

Subject: Re: zone alarm and embedded objects
From: Kayman <kaymanDeleteThis@operamail.com>
Newsgroups: comp.security.firewalls

On Fri, 25 Apr 2008 18:45:36 +0200, Max Crown wrote:

> Hello, i use xp sp2 and zone alarm pro,
> From a couple of week zone alarm does not allow to open files embedded in
> pages, and it does not allow to use external program to open file such as
> pdf, mpeg, avi and similar.
> Where exactly is the setting to turn off this feature?
Go to:

PFW Criticism.

"Personal Firewalls" are mostly snake-oil.

Why your firewall sucks.
"But I quickly realized the truth: The added protection provided by
outbound filtering is entirely illusory."

Please note:
For the average homeuser, the Windows Firewall in XP SP 2 does a fantastic
job at its core mission and is really all you need if you have an
'real-time' anti-virus program, [another firewall on your router or] other
edge protection like SeconfigXP and practise safe-hex.
The windows firewall deals with inbound protection and therefore does not
give you a false sense of security. Best of all, it doesn't implement lots
of nonsense like pretending that outbound traffic needs to be monitored.
Activate and utilize the Win XP SP2 built-in Firewall; Uncheck *all*
Programs and Services under the Exception tab.

Read through:
Understanding Windows Firewall.

Using Windows Firewall.

How to manually open ports in Internet Connection Firewall in Windows XP.

How to Configure Windows Firewall on a Single Computer.

Troubleshooting Windows Firewall settings in Windows XP Service Pack 2.

At Least This Snake Oil Is Free.

Deconstructing Common Security Myths.
Scroll down to:
"Myth: Host-Based Firewalls Must Filter Outbound Traffic to be Safe."

Exploring the windows Firewall.
"Outbound protection is security theaterˇXitˇ¦s a gimmick that only gives the
impression of improving your security without doing anything that actually
does improve your security."

In conjunction with WinXP SP2 Firewall use:
Seconfig XP 1.0
Seconfig XP is able configure Windows not to use TCP/IP as transport
protocol for NetBIOS, SMB and RPC, thus leaving TCP/UDP ports 135, 137-139
and 445 (the most exploited Windows networking weak point) closed.)
Configuring NT-services much more secure.

How Security Companies Sucker Us With Lemons.

Be guided accordingly!

Me? I use an external router/firewall based on Linux iptables, running on an old 400 meg Celeron (way overkill!). See:


Jim Ford

Real Ramona
14th May 2008, 07:45 AM
Jim, you beat me to it! I was just drafting a very similar response.
Yes, thats about the size of it. The Windows firewall does a perfectly adequate job and also seals any ports that should be sealed. A very important point made above is this: if malware is on your system already - game over. It can then start writing its own rules, and it can control and turn off your FW/AV software.

So...use Windows XP firewall - its made by MS and they know more about their OS than anyone else.
If you are connecting to the internet with a proper router then you have a hardware firewall built into it in most cases. Job done.
The other thing that most people do not do which leaves them vulnerable to attack is that they run all the time in admin mode, and often without a password. Make sure you have at least two accounts, both with strong passwords. You need an admin account with full privileges in order to install programs and fonts etc. But for general day to day use you should be logged on as a limited user. Now your system is locked down in a kind of "read only mode" and nothing can be installed or changed, apart from your personal files.

Or you could just use a Mac instead :)


14th May 2008, 05:33 PM
Thanks both for the useful info. I will read with interest.

Actually, I was perfectly happy with the Windows Firewall until my prospect raised it. It'll be switched back on and ZA off, promptly.

14th May 2008, 05:41 PM
If you have a ADSL, or cable, router that is doing your NAT, then it will probably also have a firewall. For one user networks ,a router with a firewall can offer most if not better protection than a software firewall.

For users with USB modems, or cable users who plug into the cable box directly, then you will need firewall software.

Antivirus software is a must.

BTW, security is my career.

14th May 2008, 06:01 PM
Hey John - I have a question for you re security and firewalls... but it's Mac related. See new thread... :)

14th May 2008, 10:27 PM
OH downloaded the XP SP3 with no problems.

We use a hardware firewall in the router, spywareblaster, the M$ stuff although it irritates me to have to rely on it, we also use AVG for antivirus and run adaware every day or so.

None of the above has any impact on the way either XP or Vista function.