As you know, Microsoft's blanket support for Windows NT Server has ended. The company will cease to provide online support of the product on January 1, 2007. However, Microsoft has released updates that apply to Windows NT components. For example, the company included an update for Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) 6.0 Service Pack 1 (SP1) for Windows NT systems in its monthly security update release for January. You can read more about Windows NT support at the following URL:

http://www.microsoft.com/ntserver/ProductInfo/Availability/Retiring.asp

Microsoft recently announced that it will end standard support, including nonsecurity hotfixes, for Windows 2000 Server on June 30. Paid mainstream support will be available beginning on that date, paid extended support can be obtained until June 30, 2010. Security hotfixes will continue to be available, free for everybody, until March 31, 2007.

http://www.microsoft.com/windows2000/support/lifecycle

The company also recently said that it will release no new version of IE until the next version of Windows, code-named Longhorn, becomes available. Longhorn is currently scheduled for some time in 2006, but there are no guarantees that it will in fact be released then. Those of you who want an enhanced version of IE with better security, similar to the one in Windows XP SP2, will have to use third-party browser enhancements to bolster IE's functionality.

As you know, Microsoft recently released a beta version of an antispyware solution that's based on the technology of GIANT Company Software, which Microsoft recently purchased. You can download a copy at the Microsoft Security at Home Web site.

http://www.microsoft.com/athome/security/spyware/software/default.mspx

My December 2, 2004 commentary, "A Flurry of Enterprise Spyware Solutions," provides a comprehensive list of the available and upcoming enterprise antispyware solutions.

http://www.windowsitpro.com/Article/ArticleID/44624

Just before I wrote that article, I found a useful study of various antispyware packages, but I failed to bookmark the site and lost track of it for a while. I recently came across the site again, and I think you'll find it very interesting. The site, Spyware Warrior, has a blog, forums, lists of products to avoid that contain spyware, and the study, by Eric L. Howes, that offers lots of valuable information about how various antispyware solutions perform.

http://spywarewarrior.com

http://spywarewarrior.com/asw-test-guide.htm

Howes says that the GIANT/Microsoft solution is among the best at detecting and removing various forms of spyware--good news for people who want to use a Microsoft solution. Howes' report explains his methodology and contains loads of data and test results gathered during various phases of testing in October 2004. Among his findings are that no one antispyware solution removes all forms of spyware, that even the best performers miss a quarter of spyware-related files and registry entries, and that prevention is preferable to removal.