An Anonymous Reader writes "If you recently set up a new PC with Windows XP, or if you had the pleasure to do a 'reinstall from scratch,' you probably found that many XP systems as they are shipped today are not patched against common issues like Blaster. Given that these worms are still going strong, it doesn't take long for a new system to be infected. In particular, if you have to connect it to the Internet to download all the patches. Well, help is in sight. The SANS Institute released a paper entitled Windows XP: Surviving the First Day." (Read on below.) Update: 12/24 17:59 GMT by T : Thanks for reader Bill Curnow for the updated link. Update: 12/24 19:15 GMT by T : Besides the workaround suggested below, Roblimo has a good suggestion on avoiding the first-day-of-Windows altogether.
"With many screen shots, it will walk you through the procedure to enable the XP firewall and downloading the patches without getting infected while doing so. This could be the (free) stocking stuffer that may save Christmas for your folks ;-). Given that its probably to late now to start downloading your favorite Linux distro."
But if you do have the time and bandwidth, and you're stuck on Windows, a nice live-CD distro like Knoppix or Mepis means you can download patches without racing the worms, and install your patches while offline. (And if you have time to download 50MB, you have time to grab Damn Small Linux.)