We all know that Microsoft has officially discontinued supporting Windows XP which means, they will not release further security updates for XP nor it’s supported in any way; even though you do own a license unless you pay Microsoft for the Extended support for your Windows XP.
However, the best bet is to upgrade to Windows 7 for all the goodness & security it provides compared to the older versions. Having said that; for some of the organizations may not be able to upgrade or opt for an extended support either. So, how would you keep your old Windows XP computer secured? Here are some tips.
1. Stop using Internet Explorer
Yes, you read it right. Internet Explorer which you use for browsing websites or checking emails etc. is a prime source for much vulnerability – especially its versions supported on Windows XP. Instead, you should be using other secured browsers such as Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox, which are built upon better structure & are more secured with latest security patches, released more frequently.
2. Or, disable browser plugins
Some of the organizations won’t have an immediate alternative to using Windows XP & running older versions of Internet Explorer because their web applications are not yet supported by other browsers. We have seen such cases for when people use Internet Explorer to do stock trading online, mostly because those applications are supported only on IE. These people should insist on upgraded applications than using IE for better long run solution.
The other way (if you must use IE) is, you can disable third-part browser plugins such as Adobe Flash Player, Java, PDF Viewers & other browse add-ins; which are most likely to be the source of vulnerability on your Internet Explorer.
3. Use Windows XP in virtual environment
As we said above, some of your web applications only function on Internet Explorer & for versions supported on Windows XP – in that case, you should first upgrade to Windows 7 & then use it’s ‘XP-mode’ feature to use specific applications in that mode for compatibility. You can contact us for Windows 7 upgrade & our technical experts will guide you on using Windows XP in virtual environment.
4. Use Microsoft EMET
Another possibility is, you can install free Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit (EMET) from Microsoft, which is available on their Security TechCenter.
EMET tool let you force some of the applications to backport to Windows XP using the security measures present in the Windows Vista & later. It helps extend protection from later Windows versions on to your Windows XP machine.
5. Do not use ‘Administrator’ account
92% of the critical vulnerabilities that affects Windows XP can easily be exploited when the user is logged in as an Administrator on the computer; hence giving all permissions to modify the system files. It’s always better to use non-administrator account when using a computer.
Not sure how to do it? Call us toll-free on 1(888)361-8511 for consulation on technical support
6. Turn-off ‘Autorun’ feature
A very common way of infecting computers is by putting exe files that runs automatically when you use USB drive or CD/DVD & then the malware it contains, start damaging your system files – without giving you much time to prevent it. If you turn-off ‘Autorun’ for most times & turn it back on when you need it.
7. Use DEP Protection
DEP – Data Execution Prevention – is designed to prevent execution of malicious code, especially in areas that’s supposed to hold computer memory & not such program codes. So to avoid it, you can turn it on DEP protection for all applications. You can selectively turn it off for specific applications if needed but we won’t recommend disabling it.
You can contact us for Windows upgrades or to fix critical technical aspects of your computers. Call us toll free on 1(888) 361-8511 for consultation.
8. Don’t use Office 2003 or Office XP
Along with Windows XP, the support for Office 2003 & earlier is also discontinued by Microsoft & there could be some vulnerability present & discovered from these Office suites to attack on Windows XP machine. So, we advise to upgrade to latest Microsoft Office.
Not just that, you should also look to keep all the software updated to the latest versions.
9. Use the best security softwares
Yes, we won’t get any further updates for Windows XP – but that doesn’t mean your system cannot prevent known attacks. You should be using the best security software available, including the ones released by Microsoft. Some of them are covered in this topic already.
10. Don’t use Network on Windows XP
Well, in modern Internet times – it’s weird to see a solution that says disconnect from the network. However, because you’re on Windows XP & some networking equipment may be lacking the most up-to-date device drivers. Also, disconnecting from the networks & Internet – you probably won’t have to deal with the Internet Explorer nor any attacks coming through networking channels.
But because, it would not make any great sense to disable networking & Internet on your computer – we strongly suggest you to upgrade to Windows 7 or Windows 8.
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