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John Paul Cook

Unsupported way to secure unsupported XP

The free software tool nLite can be used to customize an XP installation. It isn’t supported by Microsoft, but neither is XP. It is possible to remove Internet Explorer or networking components from an installation. Sometimes there is no need for the XP machine to ever connect to a network. This is particularly true when XP is used to host software used to run a piece of specialized industrial or medical equipment that requires vendor software that runs only on XP. Or maybe your application needs to connect to a network printer but not surf the web.

I have used nLite and was pleased with the results. When I used it to customize XP builds for restricted use, I would remove the games. This reduces the temptation for users to use the XP machine for anything other than its intended use.

I recommend that people move off of XP. But I do understand that isn’t feasible for everybody. For those who continue to use XP, nLite might provide a means to reduce the attack surface area of an XP installation. Using an unsupported tool to remove components of an operating system of course introduces new risks of possibly removing something that is needed. Test thoroughly and retest.

Published Sunday, June 22, 2014 1:46 PM by John Paul Cook

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About John Paul Cook

John Paul Cook is a Technology Solutions Professional for Microsoft's data platform and works out of Microsoft's Houston office. Prior to joining Microsoft, he was a Microsoft SQL Server MVP. He is experienced in Microsoft SQL Server and Oracle database application design, development, and implementation. He has spoken at many conferences including Microsoft TechEd and the SQL PASS Summit. He has worked in oil and gas, financial, manufacturing, and healthcare industries. John is also a Registered Nurse who graduated from Vanderbilt University with a Master of Science in Nursing Informatics and is an active member of the Sigma Theta Tau nursing honor society. He volunteers as a nurse at safety net clinics. Contributing author to SQL Server MVP Deep Dives and SQL Server MVP Deep Dives Volume 2. Opinions expressed in John's blog are strictly his own and do not represent Microsoft in any way.

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