Are there any free utilities that can show me what ports are open on my Windows XP box? How do I close some of them to make my computer more secure?
Use the built in tool "netstat" to display the open ports on your Windows XP computer. When you use netstat, all of the TCP connections and the TCP and UDP ports open on the computer will be displayed. You can find more information about netstat in the Windows XP built-in help and support center.
Ports are usually opened because some service needs it. You can close ports by disabling services. Just remember, some services are required by the computer to do the job it has to do.
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