Could your next PC be old?

When you buy a new computer, don’t be surprised if there’s a whole boat load of updates that you’ve got to download to bring your computer up to date with the latest release of software updates.
If you are an a dial-up modem, this process can be painful.
PC World reports that Current PC users are constantly reminded about the need to download patches and operating system updates as soon as they are made available. But those users may not realize that a “new” PC might actually have been sitting in a warehouse for several months, and might lack the most recent patches required to keep it safe from viruses and worms.
In order to meet delivery deadlines, PCs bound for the retail market must have their operating systems frozen about three to four weeks prior to the date on which they are made available, said Jim Kahler, manager of consumer support for Hewlett-Packard’s consumer PCs. With Microsoft releasing several new security updates almost every month, there’s no simple way to ensure that when a PC finally makes it to the user, that PC contains the latest updates required to secure the system, he said.
HP advises all purchasers to activate the built-in firewall that comes with Windows XP (news – web sites) prior to connecting the machine to the Internet, Kahler said. The next major update to the Windows operating system, Windows XP Service Pack 2, will help improve security by turning the firewall on as the default option on future releases of the operating system.
(full story)