- Upgrade to Windows XP Service Pack 2. Turn on automatic updates and turn on the Windows firewall (until you replace it with a better one). Turn off file and printer sharing if you do not use these features. If you want or need to do a clean install, see our Installation page.
- Replace Internet Explorer with Firefox and Outlook Express with a more secure email client like Thunderbird. Also consider signing up with an ISP and/or email service that provides online spam, virus and content filters for two levels of protection, see our Broadband and Secure Website & Email Hosting pages.
- Turn off the Windows XP firewall and replace it with software and hardware firewalls for two levels of protection, see our firewall software, wired and wireless router pages. Be sure to test them after installation, see our testing page.
- Install anti-virus and anti-spyware software. Also consider using anti-trojan, anti-spam, anti-phishing and privacy software. Turn on automatic updating and/or check for updates of malware definition files yourself at least once a week.
- Tighten Windows Checklist for Securing Windows XP Pro, Lawrence Berkeley Nat'l Lab
TomCat's Secure Your Home Computer
Securing Windows XP, Wall & Vaughan, TweakHound
Windows XP Security Checklist, LabMice.net
Consider using a product like the Computer Security Tool to help you tighten Windows (trial version available).
- Backup your files at least weekly including documents, music, photos...
- If you are using a dial-up Internet connection, consider moving to DSL or cable to make it easier and faster to use the automatic update features of Windows, anti-virus, and other security and privacy software.
Thank for Home PC Firewall Guide.