Microsoft Tests Security Toolkit for Shared-Computer Users

Microsoft is privately beta testing a collection of tools designed to lock down Windows XP Service Pack 2 PCs that are shared among multiple users. (Microsoft Watch)

Microsoft is readying a new security tool to add to its arsenal.

The newest member of Microsofts growing security-focused product family is the "Microsoft Shared Computer Toolkit for Windows XP," according to beta testers who requested anonymity.

The toolkit, which is currently in private beta test, is designed for users who are sharing computers in businesses and homes.

It is especially focused on users of shared computers in libraries, cafés, schools and other similar environments, testers said.

What unites these shared computers is the fact that there seldom is a dedicated systems administrator managing them. As a result, they tend to be prime targets for all kinds of malware.

/zimages/3/28571.gifMicrosoft is beta testing a consumer security package with a simple interface. Click here to read more.

According to beta testers, the following tools are part of the toolkit:

  • A Windows Disk Protection Tool designed to protect the core operating system and program files from being permanently modified.
  • A Windows Restriction Tool that allows for the tailoring of individual users profiles. Among the variables that can be locked down: access to the command prompt, Internet Explorer settings and the Registry Editor.
  • A User Profile Tool that enables the simple creation and deletion of user profiles on a shared computer.
  • An Accessibility Tool that lets users customize their environments with things like high-visibility backgrounds, StickyKeys, etc.

The entire toolkit should be about 5MB in size, testers said. The Windows Disk Protection tool also will require 1GB or more on the shared computers hard disk as free disk space.

/zimages/3/28571.gifClick here to read about Microsofts XP wireless security update to Service Pack 2.

The toolkit will work with the Windows XP Service Pack 2 release of XP Home, Professional or Tablet. It wont run on older versions of Windows, Windows Server, Windows XP x64 or Windows XP Media Center.

Its not clear when Microsoft plans to release the final version of the toolkit. But Microsoft is likely to make the toolkit available for free, testers said.

/zimages/3/28571.gifRead the full story on Microsoft Watch: New Microsoft Security Toolkit to Take Aim at Shared-Computer Users