From: Patrick Crispen
Subject: TOURBUS - 16 DEC 2004 - Updates From the Left Coast - Part 2
Hi everybody! Earlier this week, we published the first part of this Series, which covered updating your Java software, and how to replace Explorer/Outlook with Firefox and Thunderbird. If you missed that article, you can find it in the archives here:
Tourbus Archives - http://www.TOURBUS.com/archives.htm
In today's issue, we'll update you on the Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer, and clean up a few XP/SP2 loose ends.
Back in October, I wrote about the Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer, a free program from Microsoft that scans Windows XP and 2000 for over 60 common system misconfigurations and almost any missing Microsoft security updates. You can find that post in the Tourbus archives at
Susan asks: I downloaded the Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer and am having problems. Scan a computer gives me two options for computer name: WORKGROUP\*error* and WORKGROUP\SUSAN. If I choose the first one, it says "computer not found." If I choose the second one, it says "The Server service is required and is not running." What's that, why isn't it running, do I need it, how do I get it?
Ah-ha! You visited Black Viper, didn't you?! [I only know this because I too had the same problem, but that's just between you and me.] In earlier versions of Windows, the only way to get rid of all of those nasty terminate and stay resident programs that automatically load each time you start your computer is to run something called the Microsoft System Configuration Utility [or "NAMBLA."] Check out
for what Fred Langa claims is a "good tutorial on MSconfig." :P In XP, those auto-loading programs are buried deeper in Windows than ever before. Even MSCONFIG isn't going to help you. You need to pull out the big guns: Start > Run > services.msc
What does this have to do with Susan's question? Well, a LOT of the services that Microsoft enables by default are completely unnecessary and may even slow down your computer. Many people [including, I'd be willing to bet, Susan] have manually disabled some of these unnecessary services. And the best list of what services are "safe" to disable can be found at
This next part is DEADLY serious. You should only visit this site if you are *completely* comfortable tweaking the inner workings of Windows XP. If you don't know how start, stop, or change the startup type of a particular service [hint: double-click], or if you don't know what a service actually is, STAY AWAY! Fooling around with services.msc is a great way to break stuff on your computer.
So, Susan, the problem with your computer is that in services.msc, the "server" service is disabled. Unfortunately, MBSA requires server to be running in order to call home to Microsoft and get the latest list of updates. So, just start server, run the MBSA, and then disable the server service when you are done.
Dave asks: I have windows 2000 professional on my computer. I heard there was a problem with the service pack 2 up date. I haven't downloaded that up date yet. Can you advise if this is true and or is it safe for me to download it.
Actually, Windows 2000 is now up to service pack 4 which seems to be pretty safe. Just run Windows Update [in Internet Explorer, go to Tools > Windows Update] to get it.
The service pack 2 that causes so much consternation isn't for Windows
2000 but rather for Windows XP. Fortunately, I recently posted a 12-
step guide to help you upgrade to XP SP2 safely. If you missed that post-Halloween guide, just hop on over to:
RELATED NEWS - http://www.internettourbus.com/windows-xp-news.html
On a related topic, P407G [sister to P407B] writes
I took your advice and blocked SP 2, but now I need to know how to unblock it so I can use the instructions you gave us last week via Tourbus for finally installing it. You promised to provide this information, as I recall.
Actually, once you install XP SP2 you don't need to worry about the blocker any more. The blocker only prevents Windows Update from downloading and installing XP SP2 without your permission. Once you update to XP SP2, the blocker is moot.
But, if you are hell-bent on disabling the XP SP2 blocker, here's how to do it:
1. Go to http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=33519
2. This opens a dialog box asking you if you'd like to open or
save UnblockXPSP2.EXE. Choose Open. [If you already have XP
SP2 installed on your system, instead of Open choose Run twice.]
3. Click on the Yes button to agree to the [five page, two
thousand word] end user license agreement.
A black window will appear telling you that the action was successfully completed. Wait five seconds and the window will disappear.
If you have any comments on this article, or if you just want to ask an Internet Question, please join us in the Tourbus forums here:
Tourbus Forums - http://forums.tourbus.com
That's it for today. Have a safe and happy week, and we'll talk again soon.