As of April 8th, 2014 Microsoft ended support after 12 years for Windows XP. If you are still an XP user and are keeping up with the updates, your computer had a nice message from Microsoft on the 9th saying the operating system was no longer supported. Consequently over the last few weeks, myself and my technicians have heard this question a number of times – probably too many to count.
Should I give up my XP system and move to something new?
The Final Word:
As technical folks, we would never condone not having the latest – greatest – most secure and up to date systems on which to conduct business, banking and in general play with your computer.
Meanwhile in the Real World:
I am pretty sure that XP, like its predecessors Windows 98 and DOS, is going to be hanging around on machines for quite awhile. While XP may eventually prove unsafe or unwise to use at some point in the future we are likely to still see machines hanging around for years to come, after all we still have folks with DOS systems coming into the shop. The question then becomes what should you do to be as safe and as functional as possible for as long as possible?
At this point stop using your XP machine to do any kind of online banking, shopping or other secure stuff. We simply just can’t trust it.
If in general, your just going to hang around on the Internet, get a few e-mails and maybe put together the Christmas letter, you can make your XP machine last the longest by doing the following:
Get the most current set of updates. At the very minimum, this will help your machine run it’s best.
- Turn off the BITs and the Windows Security Center services (this will prevent the machine from being too annoying and speed it up at the same time).
- Get a good third party Malware protection system – we recommend MalwareBytes.
- Get a good third party anti-virus system – we recommend Avast Free Antivirus. Note: DO NOT USE Microsoft Security Essentials, it is no longer updated for Windows XP.
- Install a third-party Internet browser – we recommend Firefox or Chrome.
- Install the latest Java and remove all old versions of Java.
- Its a great time to upgrade – yes I said upgrade, especially memory. Lots of computer shops have tons of used memory sticks lying around that you can probably pick up for a song. After all, if your going to use it, it might as well work as best as it can.
- Be diligent about updating software, Microsoft is not going to do this for you.
Again, as if we have not already said it enough – stop using your XP machine to do any kind of online banking, shopping or other secure stuff. We simply just can’t trust it.