Why You Should Upgrade Your Computer From Windows XP Now?

Microsoft Windows XP 3.31.14

 

Microsoft is no longer supporting XP, it finally happened on April 8 2014.  The Windows XPocalypse, coined by Chris Hoffman of PCWorld, is finally upon us. Microsoft has supported Windows XP since 2001 and at the time support for the OS stopped it was still the second most popular operating system around the world. Many computer users will now be forced to upgrade from the familiar Windows XP. No one will actually be “forced” to upgrade their operating system of course, ha ha, but it is strongly recommended and we will go through some main points as to why it is important to leave XP behind.[1]

 

Windows XP Time Bomb

Security Issue

If you are still running Windows XP you will have noticed by now that the computer has not exploded or experienced any traumatic failure. This may be the case however the computer running XP is a ticking time bomb. This is because Microsoft will no longer roll out security updates for Windows XP making your computer more susceptible to hackers and other cyber threats. Malicious entities could exploit the bugs that Microsoft will no longer be fixing to gain access to your laptop or desktop and steal your personal information.[2]

Computer Frustration Windows XP

 

Microsoft gave in to the uproar and backlash from XP users and accommodated them by officially extending Microsoft Security Essentials updates for Windows XP users through July 2015. Although this may seem like an out for XP users that want to continue to use the older OS, experts warn that anti-malware solutions on outdated operating systems are limited. Some anti-virus providers will also extend support for XP users, but not all. Andreas Marx, AV-Test’s CEO, researched almost 30 major antivirus vendors and found that they all planned to continue support for their products under XP even after XP passes on. [3]

 

 

OMG SLOW DOWN Windows XP TurtleUpgrading Is Still Highly Recommended

This does not mean you should continue to use Windows XP. If at all possible you should upgrade any XP system to a more current operating system. After Microsoft stopped releasing the security updates there is a good chance that your antivirus may not be able to stop malware attacks exploiting unpatched vulnerabilities. Another unavoidable circumstance is that a partnership usually exists between a fully patched operating system and the antivirus, however after April 8th, Windows XP will not be able to hold up its side of the deal.[4] According to a recent report from Avast’s chief operations officer Ondrej Vlcek, computer systems with users that choose to stay with Windows XP systems will be “six times” more likely to be hacked by third parties than those running Windows 7.[5]

 

 

 

 


Windows XP Security Threat 2

 

Although according to experts you should upgrade from Windows XP right now if at all possible, not everyone can cut the XP cord immediately. If you cannot upgrade to Windows 7, there are still some things you can do to protect yourself. But keep in mind these tricks are like sticking your finger in a leaking dam. [6]

 

 

Protect Yourself on Internet Explorer

 

One thing you can do is if you use Internet Explorer, it is time to let go. Internet Explorer 8, the most current version available for Windows XP, is already several generations old and will no longer receive security patches from Microsoft. Google Chrome has stated that it will continue to support Windows XP until at least April 2015, and Mozilla Firefox has not announced plans to stop supporting Windows XP. So if you switch to Chrome or Firefox and you can use a secure, modern browser.[7]

 

If you are one of the many that need to stay with Windows XP make sure to use antivirus software that is continuing to receive updates. Even though most antivirus solutions will still continue to support Windows XP Microsoft warns, “Our research shows that the effectiveness of anti-malware solutions on out-of-support operating systems is limited.”[8]

 

 

Outlook Express Thunderbird 2

 

 

Also, Windows XP users that use Outlook Express should switch, if you would like to stick to the Outlook experience, switch to the full version of Outlook included in Microsoft’s Office Suite. Mozilla is still supporting Mozilla Thunderbird with security patches for now, however it is not clear how long they will be supporting Thunderbird on XP. You can always just use a web-based email service in Chrome or Firefox as well. Microsoft has also stopped support for Office 2003 on April 8, 2014. If you still happen to be using Office 2003 or, even worse, Office XP you should update your software to a newer, supported version of Office to reduce security risks. [9]

 

 

Remove All Insecure Software

Hackers on any operating system commonly exploit the Java browser plug-in so unless you really need Java for a specific purpose, you should uninstall it. If you have to use Java, make sure to disable the browser plug-in and keep it up-to-date.  Other browser plugins are also frequent targets by cyber attackers such as Adobe Flash and Adobe Reader, so keep them up-to-date to improve security. Modern versions of these plugins update themselves automatically, but the older versions will not automatically check for updates. If you do not need these applications, uninstall them to protect your XP computer system as much as possible.[10]

 

 

 

Take Your XP Computer Offline

Many XP users need Windows XP to run critical business applications, or to interface with hardware that does not work with newer versions of Windows. Oftentimes these workstations do not need to access the Internet, if that is true disconnect that Windows XP machine from the network.  This is the easiest way to keep your computer running Windows XP safe and secure.[11]

 

We Can Help Your Windows XP Problems

 

Use A Limited Account

One tip that could make any Windows PC more secure is: 

Stay away from administrator accounts. This is because if you are infected by malware, it can damage the single user account it infects. Admin accounts give hackers the keys to your computing network.

 

Use Windows XP On A Virtual Machine

You can run a virtual Windows XP machine using XP mode in Windows 7. Virtual machines are a secure way to continue using software that requires Windows XP while also upgrading to a newer version of Windows for the actual computer. Virtual machines allow you to run Windows XP in an isolated container. Windows 7 Professional includes the Windows XP Mode feature exactly for this reason, offering businesses and professional users the ability to set up and use a Windows XP virtual machine without buying an additional Windows XP license.

Windows 8 and Windows 7 Home do not include Windows XP Mode, however if you really need to use Windows XP in a virtual machine, you can purchase a boxed copy of Windows XP or you can use an old one that you already own and install it inside a virtual machine. Microsoft ended support for Windows XP Mode and Windows XP in virtual machines on April 8, 2014. However, if you have to run Windows XP, running it in a virtual machine on a current version of Windows is much more secure than running Windows XP as your actual, primary operating system.[12]

 

 

No More Windows XP Support

 

 

[1] Albanesius, Chloe. “Why You Should Ditch Windows XP Now.” PCMAG. Ziff Davis, 07 Apr. 2014. Web. 04 May 2014.

[2] Albanesius, Chloe. “Why You Should Ditch Windows XP Now.” PCMAG. Ziff Davis, 07 Apr. 2014. Web. 04 May 2014.

[3] Rubenking, Neil J. “What Happens to Your Antivirus When Windows XP Is Dead?” PCMAG. Ziff Davis, 16 Jan. 2014. Web. 04 May 2014.

[4]Rubenking, Neil J. “What Happens to Your Antivirus When Windows XP Is Dead?” PCMAG. Ziff Davis, 16 Jan. 2014. Web. 04 May 2014.

[5] Murphy, David. “Avast Warns of ‘Data Breach Crisis’ as XP Support Ends.” PCMAG. Ziff Davis, 20 Mar. 2014. Web. 04 May 2014.

[6] Hoffman, Chris. “How to Keep Your PC Secure When Microsoft Ends Windows XP Support | PCWorld.” PCWorld. IDG, 28 Feb. 2014. Web. 04 May 2014.

[7] Hoffman, Chris. “How to Keep Your PC Secure When Microsoft Ends Windows XP Support | PCWorld.” PCWorld. IDG, 28 Feb. 2014. Web. 04 May 2014.

[8] Hoffman, Chris. “How to Keep Your PC Secure When Microsoft Ends Windows XP Support | PCWorld.” PCWorld. IDG, 28 Feb. 2014. Web. 04 May 2014.

[9] Hoffman, Chris. “How to Keep Your PC Secure When Microsoft Ends Windows XP Support | PCWorld.” PCWorld. IDG, 28 Feb. 2014. Web. 04 May 2014.

[10]Hoffman, Chris. “How to Keep Your PC Secure When Microsoft Ends Windows XP Support | PCWorld.” PCWorld. IDG, 28 Feb. 2014. Web. 04 May 2014.

[11] Hoffman, Chris. “How to Keep Your PC Secure When Microsoft Ends Windows XP Support | PCWorld.” PCWorld. IDG, 28 Feb. 2014. Web. 04 May 2014.

[12] Hoffman, Chris. “How to Keep Your PC Secure When Microsoft Ends Windows XP Support | PCWorld.” PCWorld. IDG, 28 Feb. 2014. Web. 04 May 2014.