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Restricting the Boot Process

Most personal computers today can start a number of different operating systems. For example, even if you normally start Windows NT from the C: drive, someone could select another version of Windows on another drive, including a floppy drive or CD-ROM drive. If this happens, security precautions you have taken within your normal version of Windows NT might be circumvented. In general, you should install only those operating systems that you want to be used on the computer you are setting up. For a highly secure system, this will probably mean installing one version of Windows NT. However, you must still protect the CPU physically to ensure that no other operating system is loaded. Depending on your circumstances, you might choose to remove the floppy drive or drives. In some computers you can disable booting from the floppy drive by setting switches or jumpers inside the CPU. If you use hardware settings to disable booting from the floppy drive, you might want to lock the computer case (if possible) or lock the machine in a cabinet with a hole in the front to provide access to the floppy drive. If the CPU is in a locked area away from the keyboard and monitor, drives cannot be added or hardware settings changed for the purpose of starting from another operating system. Another simple setting is to edit the boot.ini file such that the boot timeout is 0 seconds; this will make hard for the user to boot to another system if one exists. Other hardware configurations such as firmware setup, boot password, power-on password are also available on latest hardware to control the boot process and should be appropriately investigated and used.

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