MAKE WINDOWS XP BEHAVE

• Make disk images, restore points, and backups of files and registry keys to repair your system if you fuck things up.
 
SECURITY, PASSWORDS
 
  • Encrypted files: Recover encrypted files (XPs built-in EFS encryption)  
 
If you forgot your XP password or lost your EFS key your options are:

- The easy way: Let loginrecovery.com crack your password for you.
- The hard way: Try to crack your own password with ophcrack.sourceforge.net.

If your EFS key is lost or broken (e.g. you reinstalled XP without backing up your key) lostpassword.com/efs.htm claims they can rescue your encrypted files.
Very expensive, but asta-killer.com lets you try before you buy.
 
 

  • Internet: Remove internet protocols and services that you don't need  
 
To remove protocols and services you don't need:

1) Open the Network Connections control panel
2) Right-click your internet connection and select "Properties"
3) Uncheck "Client for Microsoft networks"
4) Check if your internet connection still works. If it doesn't work anymore, switch "Client for Microsoft networks" back on.

To remove more unnecessary and potentially dangerous protocols and services:

1) Open the Network Connections control panel
2) Right-click your internet connection and select "Properties"
3) Select "Internet Protocol (TCP/IP)" in the "General" tab
4) Click "Properties"
5) Click "Advanced"
6) Click the WINS tab
7) Disable "LMHOSTS lookup" and "NETBIOS over TCP/IP"
8) Check if your internet connection still works. If it doesn't work anymore, switch "LMHOSTS lookup" and "NETBIOS over TCP/IP" back on.

More on www.techspot.com/tweaks/windows_security/security-4.shtml
 
 

  • Internet: Test your firewall and other security settings  
 
Test your firewall: GRC.com (click Shields Up). If you're behind a router or hardware firewall this test may report non-stealthed ports which are stealthed by your software firewall.

Test your browser: www.jasons-toolbox.com/BrowserSecurity

This is your IP address to the world outside:


 
 

  • Passwords: Recover or reset administrator passwords  
 
Password reset tool (warning: don't use this if you use XPs built-in EFS encryption): home.eunet.no/~pnordahl/ntpasswd/bootdisk.html

Free (but slow) password recovery service: loginrecovery.com

Use your XP install disk to change your password through a M$ security hole: pubs.logicalexpressions.com/pub0009/LPMArticle.asp?ID=305

Crack your own password with the Ophcrack Live CD: ophcrack.sourceforge.net
 
 

  • Passwords: Stop password expiration  
 
1) Run net accounts from the command prompt (not the run box) to display current settings.
2) Run net accounts /maxpwage: 0 to make passwords live forever
Instead of zero you can pick anything from 1 to 49000 days.

Alternative method (XP Pro only): My Computer/Manage/Local Users and Groups/Users, right-click user, select Properties/General, check Password never expires.
 
 

  • Registry: Change default action of reg files and customize .reg file right-click menu  
 
To prevent accidental merging of .reg files, make 'edit' the default action for .reg files, and point to Notepad.

To make directly merging reg files, make a file extension .regnow with default action 'merge' (copy command from .reg) and extra action edit (with Notepad).
 
 

  • Security tab in XP Home (like in XP Pro)  
 
The easy way:

1) Install filesecpatch (Security for folders and files) from www.rt-sw.de/en/freeware/freeware.html (mirrored here).


The hard way:

1) Download the x86 (Intel) version of the Security Configuration Manager SCESP4I.EXE (not SCESP4A.EXE) from ftp://ftp.microsoft.com/bussys/winnt/winnt-public/tools/scm/. It's designed for Windows NT, but it also works in XP.
2) Double click SCESP4I.EXE and extract the contents to a temporary folder.
3) Make a drive image, system restore point or other type of backup. This program does not come with an uninstaller.
4) Right-click Setup.inf and select Install.
5) Reboot.

Be careful with what you block. You could accidentally lock your only administrator account out of your system.

Alternative method: Install "XP Pro Lite" from an XP Home disk to unlock features from XP Pro
 
 

  • Wireless: Enable & disable automatic wireless connections  
 
Windows may automatically try to connect to any wireless router within range, which can open the doors to intruders.

To stop XP from promiscuously connecting to any available wireless network:

1) Go to control panel/network connections/wireless network connection
2) Right-click your wireless connection icon
3) Choose 'properties'
4) Click 'advanced' on the Wireless Networks tab
5) Uncheck 'Automatically connect to non-preferred networks'




To connect automatically to preferred networks (like your own home network):

1) Go to control panel/network connections/wireless network connection
2) Right-click your wireless connection icon
3) Click 'properties' on the Wireless Networks tab
4) Check the 'Connect when this network is in range' box




If you dont use XPs built-in wireless network app you'll have to look for similar options in your wireless setup software.
 
 

  • Wireless: Encryption  
 
WEP encryption can be cracked within minutes.

How hackers can crack your wireless network:
www.wardrive.net/wardriving/tools
www.tamos.com/htmlhelp/commwifi/wpa.htm
Tutorial: Cracking WEP with Windows XP

WPA is safer than WEP, but only if you use a random key of at least 20 characters.

XP supports WPA since SP2.

Stand-alone WPA installer if you don't want SP2:
www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=5039EF4A-61E0-4C44-94F0-C25C9DE0ACE9&displaylang=en.

WPA2 is safer than WPA.

Stand-alone update for WPA2 (you'll need SP2): support.microsoft.com/?id=893357
 
 

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