7 Steps to secure your Windows XP Home PC

The following steps describe how to secure your Windows XP Home computer by altering few original configuration.

1. Password Protect your computer

Set strong login password to your computer. There are many home and personal computers that are connected in Internet without password . This should not be the case as anyone would be easily able to take full control of your computer.

How to set password for my account?
1. Open Control Panel and choose User Accounts
2. Click on any already existing user account and click Change Password
3. If you dont have any password already, leave the box “Type a new password” empty and fill rest of colums.

Always choose Strong Password (minimum of 8 characters with minimum 1 alphabet, 1 number and 1 symbol). Keep changing your password regularly.

2. Disable auto logon

Do you enabled auto login welcome screen? This shows a icon with your name beside it and allows you to enter into your computer just clicking it, without entering password. If yes, it must be disabled.

How to disable auto logon?
1. Open Control Panel and choose User Accounts
2. Select the option “Change the way user logon and logoff
3. Uncheck the option ” Use the Welcome Screen” and click Apply

3. Disable & Password Protect Guest Account

Guest Accounts are disabled by default. You can check by navigating to Control Panel and then User Accounts. If you select Guest account, you have options as “Turn On the Guest Account” or Turn Off The Guest Account”. You can disable Guest Account just by choosing Turn off option. But Windows XP Home uses Guest Account as integral part of network file and folder sharing. If your computer is not well protected, even users on the public Internet can be able to connect to your share folders using Guest account privilege. Because, the account is still functional in the background. It is impossible to truly disable Guest Account.The beast way is to set password for your Guest Account. Open command prompt and type following

net user guest <type_password>

4. Enable Windows Firewall

Enabling Windows Firewall provides basic security and provides control over Incoming and Outgoing traffic. It will not keep your machine entirely safe. Windows Firewall is described in detail in this thread

5. Turn off File and Printer Sharing

File and Printer Sharing must be closed unless you require them to share your files with any other computer in your network. But it is highly recommended to keep it off in home computers.

How to turn off File and Printer sharing?
1. Go to Control Panel and open Network Connections
2. Select your network connection, right-click on Properties
3. Uncheck File and Printer Sharing for Microsoft Networks box.

6. Update Windows Patches

Microsoft constantly releases patches for all version of their products to mitigate vulnerabilities identified in that version. The easiest method to configure this is by enabled Automatic Update option in Windows itself.

How to configure Windows Patches update?
1. Right-click on My Computer and choose Properties
2. Click Automatic Updates tab
3. Select “Keep my computer upto dateoption and choose “Notify me before downloading any updates and notify me again before installing them on my computer”
This option will not trouble you while you are doing important work in computer and doesn’t want to restart it. Because whenever updates are available, it will notify you to download and again notify to install them.

7. Anti-virus and Anti-malware Solution

Please read this point once again, Anti-malware is mentioned too and not Anti-virus alone.  I am not a great fan of free anti-virus or malware solutions, but some of them are highly recognized in the market – AVG, avast!, malwarebytes

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