Guidelines for securely installing Windows XP
A new install of Windows XP is not secure until all security patches
have been applied, and an unpatched machine can become compromised or
infected by malware simply by being connected to the network and with no
action by the user. The steps below describe how to install Windows XP
without taking unnecessary risks, and should be followed whenever the
operating system is installed.
You will need:
* Windows XP CD (or the recovery CD provided by the PC manufacturer)
* The latest Windows XP Service Pack on CD (SP2 at the time of writing)
- If you do not have the latest service pack on CD you can download it and
burn it to CD from here: SP2.
Steps to follow
1. Disconnect the computer from the network. Failure to do this may mean
that the PC becomes infected before it is protected by the latest
2. Install Windows XP from the appropriate media (Windows XP CD or
manufacturer's recovery CD). Ensure that you enter a strong password
for the administrator account and any other accounts you set up at this
3. Install the latest Service Pack from CD.
4. Turn on the Windows XP firewall. When the machine reboots after
installing the Service Pack you should be prompted about this.
5. Turn on Automatic Updates. You should be prompted about this at the
same time. You will normally want Windows to automatically download and
install updates for you.
6. Connect the computer to the network. It is safe to do this now that
the firewall is turned on. However, due to vulnerabilities in Internet
Explorer it is not safe to browse the web until you have finished
installing all the updates.
7. Visit the Windows Update website and install all critical updates.
From the Windows Update website follow the link to 'Microsoft Update',
which will ensure that any other Microsoft products you use are also
kept up to date.
8. The computer may be required to be rebooted more than once. You
should return to Windows Update after each reboot until there are no
more critical updates to install.
9. Install antivirus software at this stage if you have not already done so.