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How can I stop the Windows installer from popping up each time I read e-mail and get on the Web?
I'm assuming you're talking about the automatic updates in Windows XP. If you have installed Service Pack 2, you can stop automatic updates by opening the Security Center in the Control Panel. Keep in mind that numerous third party software vendors (spyware) and hackers use "fake" installer windows to trick users into loading their software. You can fight these by using a Firewall and loading anti-spyware programs like Spy-bot or Adaware. It's also a good idea to keep your antivirus software up to date.