Windows Tip Sheet

Playing Doctor

If nothing else, Win2003 SP1's new Security Configuration Wizard is a great diagnostic tool.

While the new Security Configuration Wizard (SCW) in Win2003 SP1 has received mixed reviews (personally, I like it), it’s valuable as a diagnostic tool, even if you never use it to reconfigure your servers.

For example, while running through the SCW, you’ll be treated to a list of every service running on your computer, along with decent descriptions of what each does. You’ll get a list of open pots, along with information about the process or application that’s keeping them open.

You can also use the SCW to see what various "roles" require -- again, even if you don’t plan to make any changes using the SCW. It makes it easier to see what’s required for a file server to be a file server, or what ports a DNS server needs to have open. Running the SCW is completely safe, because it doesn’t make any changes until the very end, when you’re specifically asked if you want to actually apply any changes you’ve made. If not, SCW is content to save your changes into a template (an XML file), which you can load later and examine or apply.

If you haven’t taken a run-through the SCW yet, do so soon. Even if you never plan to use it to make configuration changes (believe me, I know the fear involved there -- one wrong move and your environment is toast), it’s great to see what it would do.

More Resources:

  • Download Service Pack 1 (if you somehow don’t have it yet).
  • Read my initial take on SP1.
  • WindowsSecurity.com’s take on the SCW is.
  • Bill Boswell’s thoughts on the SCW.
  • And Microsoft’s official word on SCW
  • And on a completely unrelated note, if you enjoy Windows administrative scripting (VBScript), check out my new podcast on Windows administrative scripting news, interviews and more. It’s available through Apple iTunes or here.

About the Author

Don Jones is a multiple-year recipient of Microsoft’s MVP Award, and is an Author/Evangelist for video training company Pluralsight. Don is also a co-founder and President of PowerShell.org, a community dedicated to Microsoft’s Windows PowerShell technology. Don has more than two decades of experience in the IT industry, and specializes in the Microsoft business technology platform. He’s the author of more than 50 technology books, an accomplished IT journalist, and a sought-after speaker and instructor at conferences worldwide. Reach Don on Twitter at @concentratedDon, or on Facebook at Facebook.com/ConcentratedDon.

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