Windows XP safety after updates end

It is time to replace your Windows XP computer with Windows 7 or 8 (Microsoft advice). The sooner the better, but if you can’t do that right now then the next best option is to make sure your Windows XP machine is protected from viruses and hacking and that you only use it for essential purposes and do not do any unnecessary browsing on the web and do not install any software that you download off the web.

When Microsoft says it’s ending support for Windows XP, that means it will no longer produce security patches for critical vulnerabilities in the operating system. As time goes on, more and more critical security holes will be found, and attackers will have free reign to exploit them. ref: pcworld.com

Do not panic, your computer will not blow up just because Microsoft stops providing security patches for Windows XP. What you should do though is take some extra precautions so that you are less likely to get junk on your XP computer.

If you try and use XP beyond 2014 though your options for web browser and security software are going to become much more limited so plan to replace your Windows XP computer in 2014 and certainly no later than mid 2015.

Stop using Internet Explorer

Download Google Chrome or Firefox. Don’t open Internet Explorer again, you will be glad you switched anyway because your experience of the web will be a lot better if you are using a current version web browser.

Google Chrome: google.com/intl/en/chrome/browser

Firefox: mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/new

Do not browse unnecessary websites

Stay off of social media, keep clear of anything other than the most essential of websites and services that you must browse to. If you want to use the internet for fun then do that on your ipad or more recent computer. Just don’t go wandering off onto random websites on the internet or downloading movies or music or any other stuff like that because that is a sure way to get some junk programs on your computer that take over and put popups everywhere.

No installing new software

Stay off of free software websites, avoid any sort of downloading of new programs and especially avoid clicking on any links online that say scan your computer or check for updates or you’ve won the lottery or stuff like that.

Do not open emails from unknown people

If you have an email that you aren’t sure about then delete it, if there is a strange attachment don’t open it. That pretty much applies with any computer but especially on XP.

Keep internet security antivirus current

We generally use Trend Micro but the other antivirus companies have generally good offerings which perform just as well and do more or less the same thing as each other.

If you want something free for antivirus purpose then download Microsoft Security Essentials: windows.microsoft.com/en-au/windows/security-essentials-download

Stop using Outlook Express

If you are already using Microsoft Outlook that is great, you can get your Outlook data file transferred to a new computer when you upgrade. If you are still using Outlook Express though now is a good time to switch to Thunderbird. It is free and very good. Thunderbird: mozilla.org/en-US/thunderbird

Update or remove unnecessary software

There are probably programs on your computer that you don’t need and you don’t use or could do without. Top contenders for this list of removal are:

  • Java
  • Adobe Flash
  • Adobe Reader
  • Toolbars like Bing, Alexa, Ask Jeeves

Any programs that are advertising junk, screen savers, shopper apps, speedup pc and media players or other sometimes odd bits of software that install themselves on a computer ‘for free’.

Scan and clean with CCleaner and Malwarebytes

If you don’t already have these two programs installed they are great for cleaning up the junk that builds up on a computer. CCleaner is for removing old temporary files and Malwarebytes for removing evil software.

Both have quite good free versions which you can use to run a scan on your computer anytime.

Disconnect your computer from the internet

If you need your Windows XP computer but don’t need it to be connected to the web then disconnect it. If you do not have it connected to the internet and you don’t share usb sticks and files with other computers to XP then you are not likely to have any way of getting a virus or hacking on there. Pretty much all the junk on computers and viruses and hacking that goes on happens via the internet, so if you aren’t online then you are quite safe.

You have time to upgrade but act soon

It might have come across in the mass media as a sort of Armageddon date but the truth is that Windows XP computers have long been vulnerable to viruses and hacking. If you have been using XP from about 2010 – 2014 then you have already been exposed to lots of junk on the web, probably had some issues with your computer and will not notice any big changes to what happens when you turn the computer on in the morning.

Your aging computer hardware

The parts inside your computer if you are running Windows XP are probably getting pretty old and that is more likely to be the downfall of your computer than a software glitch. Hard drives and power supplies aren’t normally expected to last more than past five years in good health and it is rare to see a perfectly functioning ten year old computer.

It’s possible that if you only turn your Windows XP computer on when necessary and you don’t stay online that it may give you years of good service still but do not count on it and if the computer is vital to your business then you are rolling the dice of luck in the face of a complete system failure.

Get help with your computer from Jezweb

The team at Jezweb can provide remote desktop support for Windows XP to help with the above and more. If you would like to get help with your Windows XP computer or any other computer you can signup for our remote assistance service, here.

Computer help from Jezweb includes


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