Are you still a Windows XP user?

If you’re still an old Windows XP user or even Vista user, you’re probably worried knowing that after long years of support Microsoft has now ended its support for the world’s second most popular operating system way back on 8th April 2014.

Microsoft warns you that if you continue to use its OS first introduced before the iPhone even existed “your computer will still work but it might become more vulnerable to security risks and viruses.” And if that isn’t enough to encourage you to upgrade or get a computer, maybe the fact that “you can expect to encounter greater numbers of apps and devices that do not work with Windows XP” will.

But given the millions of PCs running the OS and the scarce amount of time and resources many people have, some people will certainly be still be XP users or Vista well after its “expiration date.” If you’re going to be one of these daredevils, here are some suggestions that might help …

1)      Comparitech has produced a guide where it explains the options depending on which Windows version currently being run for upgrading.
2)      If you continue with XP then install an alternative browser — not Internet Explorer.
3)      Make sure Microsoft Office is fully patched if it is installed. Note, some older versions of Office will run things such as Flash by default if embedded in documents. If using an older version of Office, tighten up the security options.
4)      Review the third-party software you have installed and uninstall anything that isn’t needed.
5)      For the third-party software that you keep – consider disabling or uninstalling the browser plugins. Or at least set the browser to “always ask” what to do about things such as PDF files.
6)      Have an up-to-date security product with antivirus and firewall installed.
7)      Keep your XP computer connected to a NAT router, which will act as a hardware firewall. (Practically speaking, this means you shouldn’t be roaming around outside of your home with an XP computer.)

Living in the past may not be easy. But if it’s your only option, you should try to stay as safe as possible.

“Folks that continue to use XP at home can do so with some reasonable amount of safety, but they absolutely need to review their Internet and computing habits as April draws near.”

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