Can anyone point me at some good resources on Windows hardening? From 2003 upwards.

  • Are you looking specifically at either server or desktop?
    – Scott Pack
    Feb 3, 2011 at 20:15
  • Both, but mainly servers.
    – user1300
    Feb 3, 2011 at 20:16
  • 1
    The tools to harden 2000 are 2003 and 2008. Support from Microsoft ended last year.
    – user185
    Feb 3, 2011 at 21:04

4 Answers 4

  • Considering that 2000 has been abandoned, I'm surprised the hardening page still exists.
    – Scott Pack
    Feb 3, 2011 at 20:42

The Center for Internet Security publishes Benchmark configurations for several operating systems and other products, including: servers, workstations, infrastructure devices, and more.

The United States National Institute of Standards and Technology has published configurations for Windows 7 as the United States Government Configuration Baseline, and for XP/Vista as the Federal Desktop Core Configuration.


On the flip side of hardening guides and standards documents, you have the posture assessment angle. These audits can help you either determine how far off standard you are, or how closely you are actually following what you've decided to implement. The two that I have used, and enjoyed are:

  1. Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer (MBSA)
  2. Nessus Audit Policies

MBSA is an installed application that will audit the security of a Windows system, against the Microsoft recommendations, and produce an excellent report.

The Nessus audit files are included as part of a vulnerability scan and will test against the CIS benchmark.

Both tools produce great reports and can really help with your standards development and/or compliance.


As mentioned on this post over on SU, another useful product if you are aiming for a locked down Kiosk is the Trishell Kiosk Edition - worth having a look at as well.