I write to inquire about what one can do to prevent intrusion while navigating the internet in such a Wi Fi environment. I have XP pro with virus. antispyware, and firewall enabled. Aside from disabling file and print sharing in the windows firewall what other precautions can one take? Guidance sought.

not a lot. What you need to remember is that public wifi is usually unsecured or poorly secured (even if its encrypted, a single compromised client machine out of the hundreds that use that access point each day, could compromise the security of all the clients). Simply, never ever ever connect to a corporate vpn or do online shopping or banking over public wifi.

Also, be careful of phish sites that look like you are connecting Starbucks access point. and turn off plug and play.

and turn off plug and play.

i think you mean UpNp as opposed to PnP

A live Linux cd ,if it for simple net surfing, would be more secure at such a place ,
Try Puppy Linux or Knoppix,with Puppy they actually have ones that you make that the disk is made in multi-secession mode also, you can actually save info back to the disk if your laptop has a burner in it .

i think you mean UpNp as opposed to PnP

d'Oh! I dl-ed UnPlugNPlay from grc.com and missed that pun! i definitely meant UPnP

UpNp is network related, PnP is hardware e.g pci cards