Curious about the ways Windows talks to the Internet? Here's your answer.

I was browsing through the Microsoft download pages today -- yeah, even we employees occasionally find little nuggets interspersed among the usual updates and such. I noticed a pair of whitepapers that will answer a common question I hear from many of you in emails and at conferences. You'll want to keep these handy.

Using Windows: Controlling Communication with the Internet

Windows Vista and the Windows XP include a variety of technologies that communicate with the Internet to provide increased ease of use and functionality. Browser and e-mail technologies are obvious examples, but there are also technologies such as automatic updating that help users obtain the latest software and product information, including bug fixes and security patches. These technologies provide many benefits, but they also involve communication with Internet sites, which administrators might want to control.

These white papers for Windows Vista and Windows XP with Service Pack 2 provide information on the communication that flows between operating system features and sites on the Internet. The white papers also describe steps to take to limit, control, or prevent that communication in an organization with many users. The white papers are designed to assist you in planning strategies for deploying and maintaining these Windows operating systems in a way that helps to provide an appropriate level of security and privacy for your organization’s networked assets.