In which our intrepid hero experiences a Windows XP security flaw.

It’s been a very long day. Today is ANZAC Day, the Australian equivalent of Veterans’ Day. Every April 25th, Australians (and New Zealanders) commemmorate the date of the first landing at Gallipoli. It’s a day when we acknowledge the sacrifice of those who’ve fallen in battle and celebrate the contribution of our armed forces.

Mim K/W and I were up at 1am, to catch a 2:39am train in for the Dawn Service. We hung around the city for the ANZAC Day Parade (hoping to see our friend Roger—who usually marches with the Royal Australian Army Ordnance Corps Association and/or the Australian Peacekeepers and Peacemakers Association—but who was stuck in bed today with a bad back), finally getting home at some time around 2:30pm and collapsing into bed. I woke up around 6pm, although Mim is still asleep as I type this.

Even though it was widely touted as an improvement over previous versions, I hate how long Windows XP takes to load from cold, so I often hibernate the laptop, rather than power it down when I’m done using it. That way, it restarts just that little bit quicker.

I did just such a thing today, and when I powered up the laptop just now, two little messages popped up for Mim. A couple of folks noticed that “she” was online in Windows Messenger and have dropped a line to say hi.

Nothing too strange—except that Windows Messenger shouldn’t be running. Neither of us had launched it, and when you look in Windows Task Manager, it lists Messenger neither under the Applications nor the Processes tab. That is, Messenger is clearly running, although Windows is convinced that it isn’t, nor has it been user-initiated.

Wonderful. I wonder what else is running in the background that Windows—and we users—don’t know about. This is a large enough security hole to drive a convoy of trucks through, and it seems to only happen after a refresh from hibernate (it’s happened before). Windows Knowledge Base has no information on it, and no patch has been issued to address the problem.

Longer-term readers of this blog will remember that I have no great love of Windows. As soon as I can convince Mim to switch to Ubuntu, it’s happening. She could run IE via Wine—so she can access her annoyingly non-standards-compliant, Outlook Web-based work email from home—but pretty much everything else would be covered by (thankfully) non-Microsoft software.

And it would be about time. I’m sick of this crud.