Posts Tagged ‘winxp’

Microsoft Security Essentials for XP alternatives?

Friday, January 10th, 2014

It was widely reported this week that Microsoft will be ending updates (including definitions) for MS Security Essentials for Windows XP when they end support of XP itself.

This is a problem for me. I have been recommending MSE to friends and family for years – it’s non-intrusive, it generally works, it’s never broken any software for me, and it doesn’t constantly produce false or exaggerated  warnings over things like “tracking” cookies.

Sadly, anti-virus software in general is awful. The marketing of AV requires long lists of checkbox features. Every single one of these features takes just a little more resources or risks software conflicts.

In business environments, I have used many of the familiar brands over the years – now that I think about it, I’ve directly worked with most of the common paid software brands at one time or another – though, some of these were a decade ago, and the experiences are irrelevant to the current versions of the packages. I have also tried many of the common free AV options for home users.

Universally, they have had their annoyances and/or huge limitations. I remember the time an AV program deleted (not quarantined!) a contact database file that happened to have a magic string that looked like a virus. Or the time a business AV package sent me literally thousands of emails warning me about something or other (it was too stupid a package to recognize that it had already emailed me the exact issue seconds ago). Or the AV feature that inserted itself as a HTTP proxy and thereby broke the instant messenger and some websites. Or incredibly resource intensive AV, bundled by the PC OEM, that brought brand new computers to a crawl.

This post has drifted a bit… I am currently testing Immunet on one of my daily use computers. Immunet was recently purchased by SourceFire, and uses the ClamAV antivirus definitions (and I think engine) that is community run (and powers many open source anti-virus systems). This isn’t a recommendation, merely a mention of another option that is a little under the radar.


Getting the IP Address of a Dialup Modem User

Friday, November 23rd, 2012

Here are a few borrowed screenshots  to illustrate how to get the IP address of a dialup modem user in Windows XP. Yes, believe it or not I do run into dialup connection support once in a while. This is particularly tough to troubleshoot since I don’t have any dial up connections configured on my laptop – I don’t even have a landline at home!

Note: If the user has access to a web browser, visiting a website such as is probably easier.

When the dialup modem connection to the user’s ISP has been established, the “two overlapping computers” icon is added near the time at the lower right of the screen.

Right click on it to open a pop up dialog.

XP Dialup Modem Icon


Left click on Status.

That opens this window, with the General tab selected.


Left click on the Details tab.

The user’s IP address is Client IP address, of course, if you’re reading this, you probably know enough to have guessed that.













Images modified from:


Phew, first blog post in months. It’s crazy how time flies when there’s a lot going on.

Problems installing the RDP Patch in Windows XP?

Friday, March 16th, 2012

If you’re in IT, and you are responsible for some Windows computers, you should have heard of the upcoming critical security issue with Remote Desktop.  If not, read about it here or here or any number of articles on other tech sites in the last week.

We have several clients using RDP and Terminal Server in various configurations. Usually, we’ve set them up behind firewalls that block by IP address or custom ports that make them a little less vulnerable. We’ve begun the process of making sure that the Windows Updates are current on these machines, especially those that have Remote Desktop enabled and connected to the Internet on the standard port of 3389.

Today, I ran into a machine that just could not run Windows Updates for some reason, and hadn’t for about 3 months. I tried many potential solutions, in which I won’t go into detail.

This post is not about fixing Windows Updates. This is about installing the critical security patch for WinXP SP3 for the RDP issue before the exploits begin.

The work around in my case was to manually install the patch.

This is Microsoft’s official security bulletin, Microsoft Security Bulletin MS12-020 – Critical Vulnerabilities in Remote Desktop Could Allow Remote Code Execution (2671387). If you read to the bottom, you see links to pages specific to various vulnerable Microsoft OSs. This is the one for Windows XP – Security Update for Windows XP (KB2621440).  On that page is a download link to get the patch! Just download and run it.

Sure, the right thing to do is fix Windows Update on this particular computer; however, installing just this patch is far, far better than nothing.

A free schtasks.exe equivalent for XP Home edition

Monday, December 15th, 2008

It’s funny how one stumbles upon the finer differences between XP Home and XP Professional once in a while. Every good geek knows the biggest limits to XP Home such as no ability to join a corporate network, no Remote Desktop, and no encrypted file system (EFS).  But who knew about a tiny utility that will run a Windows Scheduled Task from the command line? That would be “schtasks.exe”, and it’s not included in XP Home.

The background: I needed a Limited User in Windows to be able to do something requiring Administrative permissions.  There are a few ways to do this, but in this situation, running a scheduled task was the obvious best choice because the task was already there as an overnight maintenance job.

A quick Google search for “run scheduled task from command line” will lead you to the aforementioned schtasks tool.  Well, I could copy the file from an XP Pro workstation, but that would violate Microsoft’s copywrite.

Fortunately, more searching will turn up a reference to an old MS tool “jt.exe” from it’s Windows 2000 Resource Kit.  You can get individual tools from the W2K ResKit here: The license to JT and is much more permissive.  You’re free to use it, but at your own risk.

The “JT” syntax is not straight forward to me.  But these the two examples will probably help:

This lists all tasks: jt.exe /se

This will run (“activate”?) a task (you do not need to include the .job in the TaskName): jt.exe /sac TaskName /rj

On the XP Home Edition computer I was setting this on, the Limited User could run all the scheduled tasks, even when it couldn’t “see” the task in the list. YMMV.

One could  make this end-user friendly by wrapping a batch file around it and put an icon with a link to your script on the Desktop.