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Microsoft's Windows XP SP2: Page 2 of 5

• Bluetooth Support It's funny how most of the sites that talk about SP2 don't mention Bluetooth, yet this is the first time Microsoft has built support for it into its OS. This may not be big news to some, but if you've been using stopgap measures for years, this is a nice feature.

Updated Features

• Remote Access Remote access to machines is part of systems administration, but the default settings in SP2 shut off remote access. This makes sense: Many exploits attempt to use the same subsystems remote management uses. But if you want remote access to management functionality, you must turn on remote admin by typing the command prompt netsh firewall set portopening TCP 445 ENABLE. This is unlikely to be an issue for home users, and you can script it for the enterprise, so the fact that it's a command line shouldn't be a problem.

• Centralized COM Access Control All versions of COM (Component Object Model) have been a pain in our rears from the start. Each successive version added layers of security and a wider world to worry about: OLE (Object Linking and Embedding) and COM were focused on the machine, then DCOM (Distributed COM) was focused on the machine and the server, then COM+ was focused on the machine, the server and MTS (Microsoft Transaction Server)--each with more rules about access rights and a more difficult configuration.

Microsoft now offers us a place to manage COM rights centrally and systemwide. Implemented as a security measure, this access control will stop you by default from making DCOM calls that do not require the user to be authenticated. The steps to work around this issue are complex but are explained in the Enterprise Deployment document.