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Make sure you have a good anti-virus/firewall.
Make sure you have the most up to date version. Check for updates weekly!
Scan all downloaded files. Do a full PC scan every 1 or 2 weeks.
Follow those steps and your PC will be safe from virus, spyware, and hackers!
If you use Windows XP Professional then it is possible to squeeze an extra 20% out of your internet connection. By default Windows XP Pro holds back 20% of your Internet speed for various services like windows update and spyware checks.
If you want to tap into this locked speed then make the following changes:
1. Go to Start-> Run-> and type gpedit.msc
2. Expand the Administrative Templates branch
3. Expand the Network tab