BEFORE YOU DO ANYTHING ELSE TO YOUR NEW WINDOWSXP...
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1. Physically disconnect from the net!
-> If you are already connected, physically disconnect. Take off the modem/adsl/lan cables.
-> If you have not already connected, do NOT plug the network cable/internet connection!

2. Enable Windows XP internet connection firewall (ICF)
-> Go to Control Panel
--> Network and internet connections
---> Network connections
----> Select connection and right click on them
-----> Properties
------> Advanced
-------> Internet Connection Firewall (enable it)
--------> Settings
---------> Make sure NOTHING is selected/enabled
----> Repeat the procedure on all other connections too
----------> Click OK to exit.

3. Secure Outlook Express
-> Start Outlook Express
--> Tools
---> Options
----> Read
-----> Enable: Read all messages in plaintex

4. Now you can physically connect to internet!
-> Plug in the network cable etc.
--> Set whatever settings needed to make it possible for you to connect to internet.

5. Update Windows
-> Get all the patches from www.cc.iitb.ac.in and ftp.iitb.ac.in
-> Go to http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com
--> Download ALL updates available
---> Reboot when asked to administrator account again
----> Return to this site to download more and more and more patches
-----> Continue to download/install patches, rebooting and returning to this page until you have downloaded ALL patches and cannot download any more patches.

6. Install, update and configure your antivirus
-> If you dont have one, I suggest you buy NOD32 or Norton Antivirus. If you dont want to spend any money, you can always use AVG for instance, its free.
--> After you have installed it, make sure you update it. There is some button or option there somewhere which sayes "Update Now" or something like that.
---> Check the setting so that the antivirus is actually doing its job properly. That is, that it is automatically activated when you start your computer, scans all files, even compressed files, and automatically cleans/deletes/renames viruses it finds. Also, make sure its automatic update is enabled, because without recent updates, its no good to you.