How do I... Secure Microsoft Windows XP Professional?

By Scott Lowe

This gallery is also available as a TechRepublic blog post and download.

Even though Microsoft Windows Vista and Windows 7 have been out for a while and are available from just about anywhere, most organizations -- at least for the time being -- are sticking with the tried and true Windows XP.

By sticking with Windows XP, these organizations can continue to enjoy XP's stability and familiarity. However, XP users will not be able to take advantage of some of Vista's new security features, such as user access control. But there are a number of steps that can be taken to keep Windows XP running smoothly and securely.

The assumption is that you are using Windows XP Professional, although most of these steps will also work for the Home edition. Most of these steps assume that your Windows XP system is not joined to a domain or that you are in a very small workgroup. Further, although there are dozens of steps you can take to secure your Windows XP system; these 14 reasonable steps are designed to give you the most bang for your security buck.