When support ends for windows XP in April 2014, a computer still using the Windows XP operating system will be left at it’s most vulnerable. Microsoft has announced that there will be no further security updates this operating system which will parade it as an open target to penetrate for hackers. You might as well put a sign up saying “hey come hack me”.
Possible Security Risks If Using Windows XP After April
- Computer systems running unsupported software are exposed to an elevated risk to cybersecurity dangers, such as malicious attacks or electronic data loss.
- Users may also encounter problems with software and hardware compatibility since new software applications and hardware devices may not be built for Windows XP or Office 2003.
- Organizations that are governed by regulatory obligations may find they are no longer able to satisfy compliance requirements. source
Here Are Some Tips To Secure Windows Xp After April
Continuing to use Windows XP after the cut off date is a risk that the user will have to take responsibility for. This will mean that your computer security just got a whole lot more serious.
These tips to secure Windows XP will help but are definitely not guaranteed as we have no experience with the non updated Windows XP at this time.
#1. Set Administrator Password
In Windows XP the main administrators account comes default with no password at all. Therefore in Windows XP Pro and Home you can simply enter the admin account like this:
1. Go to the Welcome Screen where you would usually login to your computer.
2. Press CTRL+ALT+DELETE on your keyboard two times.
3. Type the word administrator in the username box.
4. Leave the password area completely blank (as there is no admin password).
5. Press enter or Ok. If the admin account is enabled then you will be able to login.
If you can’t access the admin acocunt through the login screen then see this article about accessing the hidden admin account in XP.
Also you could make sure there is only one admin account and delete all other admin accounts to secure Windows xp even further.
#2. Use Admin Account ONLY When Required
So let us just say that you are the only user on your computer. Therefore you should have the main admin account and your user account. Your user account must not have admin privileges and you should login to this standard account everyday.
When admin privileges are required you can logout of your account and then login to the admin account. That way if a hacker does access your user account they can only run software and tools that your user account has privileges to run.
So now it is clear that we should only use an account with limited privileges for good security.
#3. Use Software That Supports Windows XP
Some companies have not even mentioned if they are continuing or ending support for Windows XP so we will only mention the ones that clearly have.
Google Chrome: Malware often takes advantage of Web browsers software that is not updated and uses it as a gateway to infect computers. But Google Chrome has promised to protect Windows XP users until 2015, whereas Microsoft has already pulled back support on Internet Explorer. I can see a huge opportunity for Google here if they continue support further into the future.
PCMatic: PcPitStop has declared that it’s product will include Windows XP support as long as there is a demand. This is far more than even Microsoft has done with Microsoft Security Essentials support for XP ending in 2015. As Microsoft has indicated there is a cost to include XP in all future releases of any software, but PcMatic believe that this cost is quite small in relation to the 20% of customers that require this support. An old expired and non supported antivirus program WILL NOT protect your computer.
Email Online: Outlook Express and Outlook that was included with Office 2003 no longer will have support either so you should definitely uninstall this software. the best option at the moment is to use a free online email provider and read your emails in your protected browser.
This video shows how to remove Outlook Express from your Windows XP computer.
A lot of software will no longer be updated for Windows XP and the more software you have that is not regularly updated, the more at risk your computer will be.
#4. If You Can’t Update It – Remove It Now!
Software that is not updated is a major security risk. It is silly that I am mentioning this because it will be Windows Xp itself that won’t be updated. But if you must continued to use Windows XP I suggest that this is the ONLY software that is not updated on your computer.
For example, if you choose to use Google Chrome, always check that the plugins are also updated. Also check your email program as this connects to the internet and downloads files.
You can use a free download called Secunia to scan your computer for weaknesses that cybercriminals can exploit.
#5. Don’t Go Online and Don’t Download!
Ha ha! This is very easy to say and almost impossible to do in this day and age. it is basically telling you to use half of your computer and definitely not the fun part.
This is probably a useless tip, but if you can follow this one tip, then most of your problems will be gone. Lets face it, the majority of virus attacks come via the internet so if you can stay without a connection you can basically stay pretty safe. These extra tips to
So How Safe Is Windows Xp After April 2014?
If you want to work offline then I see no problem with continuing to use Windows XP. However if you plan to go online then your risk is huge.
- Get good antivirus protection that supports Windows XP.
- Check your emails online or use software that supports XP.
- Don’t use an admin account for regular computer use.
- Don’t download anything if you can help it.
Install a Program To Secure Windows XP And Maintain It
I was surprised to hear that many software developers are also dropping support for Windows XP but luckily Pcmatic is one that has not followed the pack. PcMatic will protect your Windows XP computer after April and beyond. They have stated that they will continue support for as long as there is demand. But this software will not only protect your computer, it will also make it faster by cleaning up hidden junk files and optimize your computer for you. You can get a free scan for your computer to see how it works before you buy.