The IT Laboratory of the NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) has released for free an interesting guide about Securing a Microsoft Windows XP System.
This guide has been created to assist IT professionals, in particularly Windows XP system administrators and information security personnel, in effectively securing Windows XP systems. It discusses Windows XP and various application security settings in technical detail.
The guide provides insight into the threats and security controls that are relevant for various operational environments, such as for a large enterprise or a home office. It describes the need to document, implement, and test security controls, as well as to monitor and maintain systems on an ongoing basis. It presents an overview of the security components offered by Windows XP and provides guidance on installing, backing up, and patching Windows XP systems. It discusses security policy configuration, provides an overview of the settings in the accompanying NIST security templates, and discusses how to apply additional security settings that are not included in the NIST security templates. It demonstrates securing popular office productivity applications, Web browsers, e-mail clients, personal firewalls, antivirus software, and spyware detection and removal utilities on Windows XP systems to provide protection against viruses, worms, Trojan horses, and other types of malicious code.
I think it's a must to download... a very complete guidance to print and read. You can download it from this link:
Draft Guidance for Securing Microsoft Windows XP Systems for IT Professionals document and security templates, version R1.0.1.