Windows XP Security and Optimization Tips
The information below is based on personal experience and is here because it could be useful to others. All opinions are unpaid, I am not trying to make money, I make enough, and anyway, as we all know, compensated opinions, like those just about everywhere on the Internet now, are worthless. Who is going to say something bad about a product they are being compensated to talk about?


The Tips
  1. Download the Windows OneCare application. My personal laptop had reached the state you here so much about, the operating system acting slightly corrupt and some tasks not running so well or running at all. For example, if the user logged out of a session, then next time anyone tried to log in, the process would hang with a blank screen


    So I went to the Microsoft OneCare online scanning site to perform a system clean up and found a trial version of a new OnceCare application and decided to give it a try.


    Let's just say the OnceCare app rocks! After running the antivirus and system clean up processes my laptop is running like new again. Even better, I was able to ditch Outpost Firewall, which after I decided not to pay for updates became more of a problem than a solution, in favor of the OnceCare Protection Plus utility. Protection Plus runs in the background and works really well, letting you know when a new application (since the install of OneCare) first attempts to access the Internet and what it will do about it. Most of these reports are benign applications which are in OneCare's database, ranging from Mozilla to Putty to Photoshop, and each alert happens once and that is it.


    The only part of this download I probably won't use is the system backup. For this purpose I prefer Norton Ghost.

  3. Keep your system patched. Hugely important and mostly overlooked by beginners, you must be sure to apply all security related OS updates from Microsoft. Use the High Priority Updates button on the Microsoft web site.

  5. Use the Microsoft Windows Live OneCare online saftey scanner once a month. This online app scans your system, cleans the registry and helps keep your computer running great.

  7. Install a third party Firewall. I've tried most and I personally use and recommend Agnitum Outpost Pro which has awesome features with an easy to use interface. It goes far beyond just being a firewall by proacitvely looking for viruses and protecting your system from other insidious problems. Free to try and $39.95 to buy; well worth the money.

  9. Back up your system regularly. You can use the Backup utility included with Windows XP which is free and works well. However I use and personally recommend using Norton Ghost, which provides additional capabilites including the ability to easily upgrade to larger hard drives (you know you'll need the space for iTunes) Simply purchase Ghost, follow the easy to use instructions and backup to an external USB2 or networked hard drive once a week. I can guarantee one day you will be so happy you did.

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