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Thursday, January 26, 2006

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Safe and Secure Browsing Using Windows XP + IE

So you are running Windows XP and use Internet Explorer to browse the web?
This article assumes that you have your own reasons to stick to your OS and
browser and hence I won't ask you to switch either of those. Following are the 3 steps for a safe and secure browsing experience for Windows XP + IE user.

Step 1. Go to Windows Update website. The website will authenticate your OS and then check for updates. Download the latest updates and install them. The site will automatically do most of the tasks for you. Just follow instructions. If you had any major updates pending you will be instructed to restart your computer. Do that and then repeat this step again till there are no more updates. Often you have to execute this step more than once if you didn’t have automatic updates enabled.

Step 2. Go to Security Center in your control panel and make sure that your Firewall, Automatic Updates and Virus Protection are all ON. If you don't have an Antivirus software installed the Virus Protection will be set to OFF. Click on the recommendations button and Windows will show you a list of Antivirus software, some of which are free upto 12 months. (I use the one from Computer Associates). After you install run a complete scan.

Step 3. Go to Microsoft Windows AntiSpyware (Beta) website and install the program. Follow instructions and make sure that you have real time protection turned ON. After you install run a complete scan.

You are all set. But that's not the end of the story. Every time you visit a malicious website it will try to install a program (ActiveX). IE will block it and warn you. You have the option of instructing IE to install it anyway. Be wary of doing it. Unless you trust the site completely refrain from installing any such programs.

Happy and safe browsing.

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