Windows XP Users - What to Do

The Problems with Windows XP Computers

As of April 8, 2014, your Windows XP computers are more vulnerable to computer criminals.

Microsoft has stopped releasing security patches, so holes in the Windows XP operating system will not be plugged. We can expect a variety of attacks to be launched against Windows XP computers seeking to steal financial and identity information.

For more information on the risks for Windows XP computer users, see:
Bad News for Windows XP Users

How to Protect Your Windows XP Computer

The best response is to replace your Windows XP computer with one running Windows 7, Windows 8, or a different operating system. But if you do not replace it, you should take these precautions.

Make sure you have Service Pack 3

Click on the Start button. Right-click on My Computer and choose Properties. If Service Pack 3 does not appear on the General tab under System, you need to update Windows XP.

To update Windows XP:

  1. Go to Start | Control Panel | Automatic Updates
  2. Click on: Install Updates from the Windows Update Site
  3. At the Microsoft Update webpage, click on Express.
  4. Complete the process of installing updates.

Keep Your Antivirus and Security Software Up-to-Date

Even though the antivirus software vendors cannot completely protect your Windows XP computer after April 8, 2014, you are better off with antivirus and security software that is current and constantly updated.

We recommend Norton Internet Security (yes, there were some bad releases years ago, but Symantec has it right now) or, if you need to go with free software, Avast (www.avast.com).

Stop Using Internet Explorer and switch to FireFox or Google Chrome

Microsoft Internet Explorer will no longer be updated for use on Windows XP. So after April 8, don't use Microsoft Internet Explorer to surf the Web.

Shut down or disconnect your Windows XP computer when not in use

If you Windows XP computer is connected to the Internet, it may be vulnerable. So shut it down when you are not using it.

Alternatively, physically unplug the cable to your Windows XP computer. That disconnects it from your network and from the Internet. You can plug the cable back into your PC when you need to use it and shouldn't have to reboot.

Use a different computer to access Web pages and e-mail

If you need to keep your old Windows XP computer around, avoid using it for surfing the Web and for e-mail. Use another, safer computer for those purposes.

Replace Your Windows XP Computer.

You can buy a decent, brand-new laptop for $600 or less. Not only will you have a safer computer, but you will have a much faster, more stable computer.

Yes, it will take getting used to the new screens. Spend some time on some formal training, whether via a Web video, computer book or class at a local computer store or at work. The time you invest will sharply reduce your frustration and wasted time.

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