From:         Patrick Douglas Crispen 
Subject:      Tourbus - 19 Aug 04 - Security PowerPoint / Delaying XP SP2

TODAY'S TOURBUS TOPIC: Home Computer Security PowerPoint / Delaying XP SP2

The Internet Tourbus - U.S. Library of Congress ISSN #1094-2239
Copyright © Bob Rankin and Patrick Crispen - All rights reserved

Howdy, y'all, and greetings once again from deep behind the orange curtain in beautiful Irvine, California, a binocular-shaped toy that lets you view 3-D images.

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On with the show...

The updated Tourbus website Audience: Everyone

Brace yourself. The Tourbus website has [finally] been updated! You can now find even more "Very Strange Things On The Web," see outdated photos of Bob and me [warning: these pictures may frighten small children and expectant mothers], play Warp the Busdriver, and [drumroll please]...

THE ARCHIVES ARE BACK! Many of you have been asking when the 2004 back issues would be available. The answer is "now." [Seriously, though, THANK YOU for your patience.] You can see several years of back issues or search by keyword at

Home Computer Security Parts 1 & 2 Now Available in PowerPoint Audience: Everyone

Halfway through our epic journey into the world of home computer security and privacy our friends at Microsoft released a major upgrade to Windows XP [see below.] So we've had to make a little unscheduled detour recently to cover the events in Redmond.

If you missed my first two posts on home computer security and privacy, I am happy to announce that those posts are now available in a free PowerPoint presentation at

Just look for "Home Computer Security and Privacy: Part One—Personal Firewalls and Exploit Management" about halfway down the page. The file is 1.41 Mb, so it should take just under four minutes to download over a 56K connection. The file has also been zipped to make the download a little quicker. To learn how to unzip a file, check out

Finally, to view any of my PowerPoint presentations you'll need [surprise!] Microsoft PowerPoint, Microsoft's free PowerPoint viewer, or an office suite like Open Office or Star Office that can open PowerPoint files.

You can find Microsoft's free PowerPoint viewer for the PC at

and for the Mac at

I hope you enjoy my PowerPoint, especially the graphic on slide 31. Feel free to use and distribute this to others. The only things I ask are:

1. You don't make any money off of my presentation.

2. You give credit where credit is due.

And barring any new news from Microsoft, my next post will talk more about home security and privacy, focusing on testing your firewall and patch management. Before we can get to that, though, we need to talk [yet again] about Windows XP SP2.

Even More on XP SP2 Audience: All XP Users

As promised, Microsoft started pushing Windows XP Service Pack 2 ["XP SP2"] to Windows XP Home users through Automatic Updates last Wednesday. XP Professional users can expect XP SP2 to be available through Automatic Updates sometime after this Wednesday, August 25th [weather and squirrels permitting.]

Last week I mentioned that if you want to make sure that you get XP SP2 as soon as it is available for your computer, Microsoft recommends that you let them download and install it for you. First, make a System Restore point:

Then, just enable Automatic Updates in Windows XP:

That's it. XP SP2 will be pushed to your computer sometime in the next couple of weeks.

I DO *NOT* RECOMMEND THAT YOU DO THIS, THOUGH! In fact, I *STRONGLY* recommend that you wait at least a couple weeks until you upgrade your computer to Windows XP SP2. Why? Well, there are bound to be problems with XP SP2 that no one expects--like, for example, 40 different programs that "seem" to stop working once you install XP SP2 [see]--and I would MUCH rather these problems happen to someone else's computer instead of yours. By waiting a few weeks [or even months], you give Microsoft and the other software vendors time to fix these unforeseen problems.

You need XP SP2. Just not until later this Fall.

And I'm not the only one who's recommending a wait and see approach to XP SP2. For Fred Langa's take on this, check out

Delaying the Automatic Update of XP SP2

How can you temporarily delay Microsoft from automatically installing XP SP2 onto your home computer? Well, you have to options:

1. Download and install Microsoft's free XP SP2 Blocker Tools; or

2. Disable Automatic Updates in Windows XP.

Choose one or the other, but PLEASE don't do both.

Download and install Microsoft's free XP SP2 Blocker Tools

To download and install Microsoft's free XP SP2 Blocker Tools, just hop on over to

and download Microsoft's free "XP SP2 Blocker Tools." These free tools will temporarily keep Windows Update from installing XP SP2 onto your computer for 120 days.

The XP SP2 Blocker Tools installation process seems a little intimidating at first, but it's really quite simple. If you have Windows XP and want to delay the automatic installation of XP SP2,

1. Click on the Download button on the right side of

2. When asked if you would like to open or save [XPSP2BlockerTools.EXE] to your computer click on the Open button.

3. Click on the Yes button to agree to the [five page, two thousand word] end user license agreement.

4. When asked to type the location where you want to place the extracted files, click on the Browse button.

5. Scroll to the top of the list, choose your Desktop, and click on the OK button.

6. Click on the OK button again to extract the files.

7. Close your web browser and any other open program.

8. On your desktop you will see five new icons. Double-click on XPSP2Blocker. A window will open telling you that the Action [was] successfully completed, and the window will automatically close after 5 seconds.

9. Feel free to delete those five new icons from your desktop. You won't need them again.

That's it. Windows Update won't try to install XP SP2 onto your computer until mid-November.

Temporarily disable XP's built-in auto-update feature

If you would rather not download and install Microsoft's free XP SP2 Blocker Tools, your other option is to temporarily disable XP's built-in auto-update feature until you are ready to upgrade:

1. Click Start, and then click Control Panel.

2. Click Performance and Maintenance. [If the Performance and Maintenance category is not visible, click Switch to Category View.]

3. Click System.

4. Click Automatic Updates and uncheck Keep my computer up to date.

That's it. Remember, though that you need to choose between using Microsoft's free XP SP2 Blocker Tools or disabling Automatic Updates in Windows XP. Please don't do both.

The Internet Tourbus - U.S. Library of Congress ISSN #1094-2239
Copyright © Bob Rankin and Patrick Crispen - All rights reserved

Have a safe and happy week, and we'll talk again soon!

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