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An administrator also can enable and configure the Windows Firewall at the group policy level. Open the Group Policy Object Editor, and then navigate through the console tree to Computer Configuration | Administrative Templates | Network | Network Connections | Windows Firewall.
There are two different firewall profiles that can be configured (see Step 5, below). There is a domain profile that is in effect any time the machine is logged in to a domain, and a standard profile that is in effect at other times.
Unfortunately, it's impossible to include every trick for hardening Windows XP here. However, if an organization takes these five critical steps, it will have a better chance at fending off threats targeting the desktop.
This was first published in July 2008