Langa Letter: Ten Ways To Make Windows XP Run Better

Fred Langa offers tips on how to optimize Windows XP for your own work style so you don't have to live with its default settings.
10) Lock The Door
XP has a built-in desktop firewall, but it's turned off by default. To turn it on: Right click on My Network Places, Properties, right click on your connection (e.g. Local Area Connection), select Properties again, then Advanced, and then click the box for Protect My Computer.

But note that the built-in firewall is very basic, as the free LeakTest tool will demonstrate for you. A third-party firewall (such as ZoneAlarm will do a much better job than XP's built-in firewall.

And whatever you use for desktop security, be sure to test your system using any of the safe, free, online security scans. Be sure to follow any suggestions the sites make to close security holes detected by the tests. For example, there are excellent tests available at:

We've also discussed many other security services in earlier columns, such as this one.

11) Your Turn ...
Please use the discussion area to post your favorite tweak or tweaks. By the time we're done, we should have an awesome collection of real-world, real-life tweaks that can help make XP work just the way we want it to. Join in!