Keeping Windows XP secure

you can surf wisely, use malwarebytes as an on demand scanner, get a good antivirus, Kaspersky paid is still supporting xp, the free 360 Internet security from Quiho is very good, and there is avast that will supprot xp for 2 more years I believe.
And you could also run in a Sandbox environment, available from Sandboxie and Quiho.

This is probably the best advice on keeping XP secure (surf wisely). There are far too many dodgy sites so you have to be vigilant and not blindly click on every link you see or are sent. The internet is a very, very shady place and a little paranoia works better than ANY antivirus. I no longer have ANY anti-virus of any kind on my Windows computers. They tend to slow down the machines startup and overall performance, and as someone who is constantly tasked to remove malware from anti-virus equipped Windows machines, am of the opinion that they offer a false sense of security.

I have tried Sandboxie in the past and have had mixed results with IE. A virtual machine is much safer.

The best way to clean infections is to wipe and reinstall, If you could afford Acronis true image, then you can always restore a complete image of your pc.

This is why I don't need any AV protection. I use Acronis but there are plenty of others available including Clonezilla (freeware). You don't need to reinstall, only restore an image which I have done countless times, it will eradicate any malware including MBR.

I have purposely downloaded viruses (it's easy, just search and download any keygen or crack) and watched it wreak havoc (machine slows to a crawl, popups, webpages redirected, BSOD) and laugh. Power down. Boot to USB drive with a good image I made. Start restore process. 40 minutes later, computer fully restored, like nothing happened. That's the beauty of drive imaging, it backs up EVERYTHING (programs, settings, OS, documents, registry, boot record, the whole nine). The images can be quite large (30 GB or larger) if you have a lot of data but it's worth it.
It saves you a lot of time and headaches (hours to re-install the OS/apps, searching for correct drivers, dead links for laptop function key utilities, missing install CDs):mad:

Imaging for the win.:D
Yea I purposely download viruses. Cuz I'm bad-ass!

Seriously though, how else am I supposed to gauge the effectiveness of my PC recovery strategy if I don't thoroughly test against worst-case scenarios?