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Microsoft operating system: A fun house of horrors?

Aug 25, 20033 mins
Enterprise ApplicationsPatch Management SoftwareSecurity

* Reader chimes in on Dave's house analogy

Last week, I used the analogy of a house and its security to talk about Windows, patches and securing the operating system against the bad guys. Fellow Californian Michael Allen (he’s the Information Services Manager for the City of Visalia) was taken by the analogy (“Securing the ‘house that Microsoft built’ is a never-ending chore for us,” is how he put it), and offered some extensions to it. He explains that he likes the many benefits of Microsoft networking, but his “frustration with Microsoft is the shear magnitude of effort required to maintain and secure that Microsoft house.”

Visalia advertises itself as “Equidistant between San Francisco and Los Angeles,” but it’s also halfway between Fresno and Bakersfield and – this time of year – that means it’s hot, really hot, so the number of casual visitors dwindles. This evidently leaves Allen with a bit of time on his hands to play about with the “house that Microsoft built” concept. What follows are his thoughts.

* The Microsoft house has way too many doors.  It is one thing to run around locking operating system doors, but when you add all of the application doors (whether they were intended as doors, or not…), we need a major, full-time security force to mind those doors.  The Microsoft serious-patch-du-jour is still unacceptable.

* The unintended consequences of securing the house are aggravating.  Lock one door, but that opens up three others.  The locks don’t all function the same – some turn left, some turn right, some require incantations and animal sacrifices before locking.  Then there is the occasional door lock that renders the whole house inaccessible.  Call out the locksmith to undo that lock.

* Just when all the doors are locked, Microsoft “remodels” the house for you.  Whole new rooms and features are built-on – you didn’t want or need them, but the builder decided you should have them anyway.  Media Player and IE come to mind here.  Now you get to start the process again.  Oops, look out for some of the new trap doors.

Allen concludes that “perhaps the ‘house that Microsoft built’ should more appropriately be compared to a carnival fun house; funny mirrors, blinking lights, shaky floor, spinning tubes, and no way out!”

Maybe not a “fun” house, exactly, but still not quite a “house of horrors” is as far as I’m prepared to go right now. But Michael does make some valid points which we all hope Microsoft will address, and soon.

What about the rest of you, what kind of “house” is your Windows installation?