Monthly Questions & Answers For Windows XP

Does Windows XP Have A Firewall? I just bought an anti-virus program and got a free firewall with it. I don’t want to install it if I don’t need to.
Yes, Windows XP has a built in firewall. You ask a good question because sometimes multiple firewalls can cause conflicts. To adjust Windows XP firewall click on the “Start”->”Connect To”->”Show All Connections”. Then right mouse click on your Network Connection and choose “Properties”.
Click on the “Advanced” tab and your firewalls settings will show.

I’m trying to download the “worm” patch (is it really necessary for XP Professional?) and need to know if I’m running XP 32 bit or 64 bit. I believe it is 64 bit, but how do I find out for sure?
I could actually direct you to a couple ways of checking however it will be easier just to tell you that you have the 32-bit version of Windows XP. The 64-bit version is commercially available for a very expensive ($3,000+) price and is usually used for servers.

In one of your past questions about Outlook and not receiving select attachments, you suggested that one fix was to install an application that did a registry adjustment. With Outlook Express, can’t you just use a menu option?
You are 100% correct, sort of! The current version of Outlook Express has the utility mentioned, however, older versions of Outlook Express or any versions of Outlook do not have it. With the current version of Outlook Express (available free with IE from open, just go to:

  • Tools -> Options from the menu.
  • Click on the Security Tab
  • Un-check “Do not allow attachments to be saved or opened that could potentially be a virus.”


Thanks for the question!

How do I decrypt a file that somebody else encrypted? I was given a PC with files already on it. When I click on them, it tells me that I don’t have permission. My buddy says that the files are encrypted.
You don’t. The user attempting to decrypt the file needs to either be the one who encrypted them, or be a designated recovery agent. The following document explains the details of how EFS and data recovery works:

I am running Windows XP Home and keep getting prompted to install upgrades or updates like DirectX and Virtual Machine. I like keeping my PC running mean and clean. Do I really need to install these updates?
You might not like my answer, but yes, I would run the updates. Being updates and not new installs, they replace existing files and so do not take up much space. Because they are updates, they might be replacing problem files that could cause problems down the road. Finally, the updates could also be protecting you against problems. Recently Microsoft sent out an update to help protect PCs from getting a worm virus. If you have not run this update, Windows XP could get this virus even with an installed antivirus program.

Windows XP has an auto updater program built into itself. To check your settings:

  1. Right mouse click on the desktop icon “My Computer” and choose “Properties”
  2. Choose the Tab “Automatic Updates” and make your preferred adjustments.

Let me make 3 other suggestions: In case of problems, keep a written (paper not electronic) list of all updates that you install. The updates have an information link that you can click on to see details. Look at what you are installing. Finally, go to for any additional information. Thanks for this question. With all of the worm viruses going around, it is a very timely question.