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Is It Me Or Is Xp Home Folder Security Half-assed?


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#1 majutsu

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Posted 18 May 2007 - 02:51 PM

Okay, I come from the Linux world so that is my bias. But I am setting up a computer and I want it secure so I don't want to run as administrator all the time. I am finding that is hard to set up, because the programs either shut you out, never let you in, etcetera when you set it up in administrator - even if you put them in the shared documents folder. As far as I can tell, there is no way to chmod, chown on specific files, folders. All the changes revert back.

Heck, there are even older programs I paid for with a license key that don't recognize that key under another user. I suspect it has to do with a registry edit or something.

Is there some way around this, is XP Pro better? Or is the situation hopeless and should just run as root all the time? It's getting to be really frustrating.

Edited by majutsu, 18 May 2007 - 02:53 PM.


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#2 gavinseabrook

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Posted 18 May 2007 - 06:24 PM

Xp pro is a lot better than home edition

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#3 Animal

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Posted 18 May 2007 - 06:50 PM

Xp pro is a lot better than home edition

Care to explain why? I am interested in knowing why you say a lot better.

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#4 gavinseabrook

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Posted 18 May 2007 - 06:55 PM

There is a long list of reasons.

Networking- Currently their network is based on Novell Netware. Novell do not support their client software on Windows XP Home, based on Microsoft's position - it is not designed for use in corporate or enterprise networks and so therefore they are not doing any work on their client on XP Home.

In the future XP Pro users can move to Microsoft domain/Active Directory based networking, and as mentioned earlier Windows XP Home cannot be used in that environment either.

Windows XP Home cannot be supported in the current networking environment, and cannot be used in possible future environments.

Security- Windows XP Home and Windows XP Professional are both relatively secure operating systems. However, XP Professional has some features that Windows XP Home does not have. First, Windows XP Home does not have file access control, so all users of the machine have access to all files in the same way as on Windows 98. Under Windows XP Professional access can be restricted so that users can only see their own files. Second, Windows XP Professional can be configured to have encrypted file systems that are pretty secure.

Offline features - Windows XP Professional has a development of the "Briefcase" and "Offline Folders" technology seen in earlier versions of Windows which allows people using laptops to automatically "download" their files from a server, work on them while disconnected from the network, and then have them automatically upload when they next connect so that their work is kept sychronised and available both on- and offline automatically. Windows XP Home does not have this. Windows XP Professional also has the Remote Desktop facility which allows you to access your desktop from other machines

System Features- Windows XP Professional has support for multi-processor PCs. It also has additional features for backup and restoration of crucial system files and states so that it should be easier to recover a Windows XP Professional system.


If you would like more reasons, please visit this site:

http://www.winsupersite.com/showcase/windowsxp_home_pro.asp

Edited by gavinseabrook, 18 May 2007 - 06:57 PM.

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#5 arcman

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Posted 19 May 2007 - 02:23 AM

err...

Networking- Currently their network is based on Novell Netware

They? They who? Who are you talking about?

You're mostly on track here but I want to say to this...

First, Windows XP Home does not have file access control, so all users of the machine have access to all files in the same way as on Windows 98.

Not exactly true. There's an option in XP Home to make your home folder private, so anything in My Documents/Desktop/etc. can't be accessed by other accounts without replacing the ownership permissions (as long as you have the drive formatted as NTFS of course). It's not as good as Pro which can limit access to any individual file/folder as well as encrypt it, but it's a significant step up from 9x/ME.

To answer the OP, XP Pro is better in file security for the aforementioned reasons, although that doesn't really address the problem you're having with running programs. Unfortunately the Limited Account in XP is cumbersome to use because XP sets up its first user by default as Administrator, and the previous versions of Windows only ran as administrator, so a lot of win32 programs are coded with the expectation that the user has admin privileges. You can try and get around this by right clicking on the shortcut to the program and selecting "Run As", so you can run just that program as an admin account without running in root all the time.

Although if you're careful you can run the Admin account regularly without too much of a problem. Just be sure you trust any executable files you come in contact with, and either use a browser that doesn't use ActiveX (Firefox, Opera, Seamonkey, etc.), or turn ActiveX off in IE7.
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#6 usasma

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Posted 19 May 2007 - 07:07 AM

If you're running as a Standard User, then you'll be plagued by prompts to elevate. You can right click and select "Run as" to run temporarily as an Administrator.

As for permissions and ownership, that's done in XPHome in Safe Mode, and it depends on your settings as to how you can do it in XPPro.

What you do is right click on the file/folder and select Properties, then select the Security tab (this works in my XPPro VM). Depending on the existing permissions you may be able to change things there. If not, click on the Advanced button, then on the Owner tab and take ownership of it (and any sub-containers that you may need). You'll have to exit the dialog after taking ownership, then re-enter it to change access.
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#7 majutsu

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Posted 19 May 2007 - 12:25 PM

I want to thank those that replied, it was a learning experience^_^;;;;

It sounds as if the old XP Home I got with my computer a while back just isn't powerful enough for what I need it for. I went out to the local computer store to buy Pro, but they wanted $300 O.O -- on the internet it's about $130+ from reputable dealers on pricewatch - didn't feel like getting screwed with the high price and then 6% sales tax and didn't feel like waiting for it to ship to me.

Now, I just decided to forgo wrestling with the security monster that is Windows on the bare PC, and reinstalled my favorite OS, Ubuntu, and just virtualized Windows on top of it with Innotek's Virtualbox. Unbelieveabley simple to set up. Since I let Ubuntu provide the underlying security, I don't mind running Windows in admin - makes my life easier. And it's actually running pretty nicely (I don't run anything extremely demanding like games).

Again thanks:) I would have spent a lot more time getting frustrated without the help. Maybe naked Windows will be ready for the desktop in a few years :thumbsup:




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