Make Windows 2000 More Secure, Free Antivirus, Free Antispyware, And More

While support for Windows 2000 ended over a year ago, there are a few people still using it, or running it in a virtual environment for compatibility reasons.  This being the case lets look at some ways to make Windows 2000 more secure and safe for those users still rocking a 12-year-old operating system.

First, Update Windows!  Yes this sounds like a no-brainer, but did you know you can use Microsoft Update (which updates all Microsoft products) instead of just Windows Update, you can check it out at http://www.update.microsoft.com/microsoftupdate/

Second, use a different internet browser, you can read my post here on that

Third, update the components used by internet Browsers,  You can download the current version of Java at www.java.com Get the current version of Silverlight at www.silverlight.net The last version of Adobe Reader that is compatible with 2000 can be obtained at http://get.adobe.com/reader/ (make sure once it is installed to open up the program and click on Help and Update, this will get all the updates for the program)  Finally you can download the newest version of Flash for both Internet Explorer and for Firefox and Opera, go to http://get.adobe.com/flashplayer/otherversions/  For step one select Windows 7/Vista/XP/2008/2003 and for step two select for Windows Internet Explorer, for Internet Explorer, and then do this again from Firefox or Opera but for step two select Windows – Other Browsers (if you have both Opera and Firefox installed you only have to install Flash for Other Browsers once, it will install the plugin for both browsers)

Fourth, how about Antivirus and Anti-spyware software.  There are a few things still out there for the die-hard Windows 2000 user.

Antivirus software is key if you are going to be surfing the internet in Windows 2000, you really want full Antivirus protection, Thankfully there are a few choices.

AVG Free Antivirus 9 While the newest version does not support 2000, Version 9 does, and AVG still releases updates to the program making this a great AV software for 2000, especially if you do not want to spend the money on software for a virtual installation of the operating system.  You can download a version of AVG 9 Free from http://www.oldapps.com/AVG_antivirus.php?app=f86fd982885094416ab9f08ca1bda07f

AVG 9 Free in Windows 2000

AVG 9 Free in Windows 2000

Now AVG is the only free offering out there for Win 2K but if you would rather pay some money and get better protection Eset Nod32 Antivirus 4 does support Windows 2000 and does it well. I suggest just the Antivirus, but they do have an Internet Security solution as well.  You can check it out below, and they often have deals running.
ESET Smart Security - Save 25%

Lavasoft Ad-Aware Pro is also another option, they have expanded their product to include Antivirus, I am not sure how well this will work but Ad-Aware has been a good tool in the past.  I know there is a Free version, however the Free one does not have real-time protection making that not a very good option. The Pro version is $29.95 for a year and you can check it out at http://www.lavasoft.com/products/ad_aware_pro.php

Now if you are wanting something Free with real-time protection but that is not going to be as much as a strain on system resources as a full-fledged antivirus solution,  Spybot – Search and Destroy fits the bill.  It is just anti-spyware, but does have some Immunization features to help block unwanted content and supports Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Opera.  It is at version 1.6.2 and you can check it out at http://www.safer-networking.org/en/ownmirrors1/index.html

Spybot 1.6.2 in Windows 2000

Spybot 1.6.2 in Windows 2000

Now if you would just like the immunization protection from Spybot, but do not want the extra overhead of a program, I would suggest SpywareBlaster.  It has immunization options for Internet Explorer and Firefox, and supports Netscape (sorry no Opera support)  The free version you have to manually update but hey its free.  What is great is not having to have to program run, in fact the only time you open the program is to update it and to set the protection.  You can download SpywareBlaster 4.4 from http://www.javacoolsoftware.com/spywareblaster.html

SpywareBlaster 4.4 in Windows 2000

SpywareBlaster 4.4 in Windows 2000

Finally no talk about security would be complete without talking about a good Temp File and Registry Cleaner.  I always suggest CCleaner for the job.  Supports all the browsers available for Windows 2000, and has a great registry cleaner to help keep the machine running at its best.  You can check it out at http://www.piriform.com/ccleaner/download

CCleaner in Windows 2000

CCleaner in Windows 2000

All of this should help to keep you better protected whether your running Windows 2000 on your desktop or just in a virtual environment.  I do suggest looking into some protection, even when using virtual machines security is important.

Install Windows 2000 in Windows Virtual PC

Windows Virtual PC is a great program to run an operating system in a virtual machine.  The only problem I have with it really is that it does not support older versions of Windows or Linux.  That being said you can run older OS’s in there just like you did in Virtual PC 2007.  This will not create a 2000 Mode or let you access USB devices, it will work just like it did in Virtual PC 2007.

You will need a few things for this.  First Windows Virtual PC which you can download from here, http://www.microsoft.com/windows/virtual-pc/download.aspx (Windows 7 Home Premium users select Windows 7, Professional, to download Windows Virtual PC it will install fine, also make sure you install the correct version if you are running a 64-bit version of Windows 7 then select Windows 7 Professional 64-bit.)  Second, you will need a copy of Windows 2000 (your on your own on this, I have one lying around)  Third you will need a copy of Virtual Server 2005 R2 SP1 and you can download that here, http://www.microsoft.com/download/en/details.aspx?displaylang=en&id=2994 (Yes get that version it will help later to get everything working.)  Also, you will need something to open the Virtual Server file and to extract a file from it.  For this task, I will use 7-Zip which you can get here at http://7-zip.org/

So now that you have all that, first install Windows Virtual PC

Once you have that setup, click on Start, All Programs, Windows Virtual PC and open it up.

You will see that it looks like any other window in Windows Explorer, but it has a few new options.

Click on Create Virtual Machine

Windows Virtual PC window

Windows Virtual PC window

Follow the prompts, name it what you like, I usually give it 1024 Mb (1 Gb) of ram on systems that have a total of 4 Gb.  If you have less than that just leave it at 512 Mb.

Now once your Virtual Machine is created its time to install Windows 2000 in it.

In the same Windows Virtual PC window click on your newly created virtual machine

You will see a Settings option appear next to Create Virtual Machine, click on Settings (or right-click on the newly created virtual machine and click on Settings) then click on DVD Drive

Here you can select to use the computers optical drive, or to load an ISO file from the computer’s hard drive, select the proper setting, and close the window (we will be coming back to this later)

DVD settings in Windows Virtual PC

DVD settings in Windows Virtual PC

Now double-click on your newly created virtual machine and Windows 2000 setup should start.

(Note during setup the Virtual Machine will take control of your mouse, to make it release the mouse push Alt + Control + Left arrow key all at the same time)

Now once the setup is complete and you are at the Windows 2000 desktop you may be tempted to click on Tools and Enable Integration Features in the Virtual Machine window, they will start to install but fail.  These additions are only for Windows XP and newer.  This is where Virtual Server comes in.

So why Virtual Server 2005 R2 Sp1?  It was the last version of Virtual Server or Virtual PC that supports Windows 2000.

So if you have 7-Zip installed (if not do that now) right-click on the Virtual Server file you downloaded earlier and go to 7-Zip and then click on Extract to “name of file”

This will unpackage the contents into a folder of the same name as the file, open the folder up and look for a file named VMAdditions

If VMAdditions already has a file type of .iso at the end of it, cool you’re done, if not rename it VMAdditions.iso

Now copy this file someplace where you will remember where it is.

For the last bit make sure you shutdown your new virtual machine

Go back into the Windows Virtual PC window (Start/All Programs/Windows Virtual PC)

Click on the new virtual machine that Windows 2000 is installed and click on Settings (or right-click on it and go to Settings)

Click on DVD Drive, and here we are going to load that VMAdditions.iso file.

Click on Open An Iso Image, and load in that VMAdditions from Virtual Server we extracted earlier

Loading the VMAdditions.iso file

Loading the VMAdditions.iso file

Once that’s done click OK and start the virtual machine.

If the Additions do not install right away just go into My Computer in Windows 2000 and double-click on the DVD-ROM drive, this should start the installation.

Once the install is complete restart the virtual machine and make sure to install all Windows updates.

That is it, you should have Windows 2000 running in Windows Virtual PC with some integration features loaded and working.

Once you have all your updates installed check out this Post on internet browsers for Windows 2000