XP SP2, So Far, So-So

I finally broke down an installed SP2 on my laptop, a bright blue Dell 300m. SP2 had been running fine on my desk top for a while, and also trouble-free on my wife's desktop, plus the laptop maker's web site endorsed it, plus all the tech columns I read (notably Ed Bott) endorsed it, so I figured, it's time.

The results are mixed. The laptop seems a little slower, especially on boot up. And one other change I made at the same time is not working out at all well. Having read all this tech advice about XP, I saw that there was a strong consensus that I shouldn't ordinarily be logged in as an 'administrator' but should be operating as a 'limited' account to prevent anything untoward taking over my PC.

Well, OK, I'm a very obedient guy when it comes to computer security (unlike most of the rest of my life), so I create a 'root' account, make it an administrator and change my usual account to 'limited' status. But now when I try to turn off the computer, both Explorer and the 'Power Meter' hang. This doesn't seem to happen when I am running solely as 'root'. All I can say is….harrumph.

Update: The indefatigable Ed Bott notes that I've run into a known Win XP problem with the 'limited' permissions identity. HARRUMPH again: they release a major service pack supposedly aimed at fixing security holes and they can't fix something like this which is a known bug — one with security implications — regarding the relationship between the MS OS and the MS Explorer programs? Come on guys!

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4 Responses to XP SP2, So Far, So-So

  1. Pingback: Ed Bott - Windows (and Office) Expertise

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  4. seaan says:

    With my latest computer I also tried the limited account setup, and I’ve run into a number of interesting problems. The worst one is file ownership. I loaded the files as an administrator, and than could not modify or delete them with my limited account. I never did find a GUI method of changing file ownership (supposedly some XP installations have a method that shows up in the file properties screen, but mine did not). It took me 2 hours of research before I found a Microsoft equivalent of “chmod” (it was a very complicated Swiss-army tool, whose name I don’t recall without looking it up).

    I also ran into a game (Hoyle cards from Sierra) that had a common configuration file for all users — guess what happens! Basically it would always take the administrator’s last configuration, since none of the other users had permission to change the configuration file.

    So in summary I’m getting by, but there is noticeable pain. From my experiences, I don’t think very many people actually use limited accounts.


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