While Windows Messenger has gradually replaced NetMeeting for online chatting and desktop conferencing, NetMeeting installs by default on Windows 2000 systems. Among other things, NetMeeting enables users to share applications and allow others to access their desktops.

However, these activities can pose a security risk, enabling outsiders to access sensitive data. You can prevent users from sharing applications or their desktops with NetMeeting by setting a handful of group policies, either at the local level or at the domain or organizational unit levels.

To set the policies at the local level, open the MMC, and add the Group Policy snap-in focused on the local computer. Browse to the User Configuration\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\Netmeeting\Application Sharing branch.

Several policies in this branch limit sharing partially or altogether. To determine a policy's function, double-click the policy, and select the Explain tab to view an explanation of its function.

To further secure your network and data, you should also spend some time examining the additional policies offered in the NetMeeting branch. For example, if enabled, the Prevent Sending Files and Prevent Receiving Files policies in the NetMeeting branch will prevent file transfers via NetMeeting.