Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.
Windows "Security Center" is an attempt to raise awareness about security issues while making it a bit easier to deal with.
What's this new 'Security Center' thing in XP service pack 2 all about?
If you've installed Windows XP Service Pack 2, one of the first things you'll be presented with is the new "Windows Security Center".
What's it all about?
In a nutshell, it's an attempt to raise awareness and put security issues "in your face" while at the same time making it all just a little easier to deal with.
Let's look a little more closely.
The security center focuses on three important areas related to keeping you computer safe: your firewall, automatic Windows updates, and virus protection.
Each of these three areas has a "recommended setting" that is typically the most secure. In most cases, the recommended settings are correct, and if you're unsure, they're the settings to select.
The Windows Firewall is important to enable if you are connected directly to the internet, or are using a portable computer on some public network such as an internet cafe or hotspot. It's safe to disable if you're already behind a firewall, such as a router, and trust all the other computers with you behind that router.
Automatic Updates should typically be enabled in some fashion. I personally prefer to have it automatically download, but then inform me that updates are ready to install so that I can chose when this happens.
You should have some kind of Virus Protection, and the Security Center will alert you if it thinks you don't. While Microsoft does not currently have it's own anti-virus package, the Security Center includes a link to a page where Microsoft lists several partners providing reputable anti-virus solutions.
As I said, the Security Center is intended to raise awareness and make it easier to configure these important components of keeping your computer safe on the internet. For the most part, it's alerting us to issues that we should all be aware of, and dealing with.
I've teamed up with Lockergnome to provide a new video tip each week. View the tip Exploring the Windows XP Security Center and watch as I walk through the various options presented in this new Windows feature.