Windows XP (and Linux/Ubuntu)

what to do when XP is no longer secure

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Windows XP was more secure than previous versions but now has become very vulnerable
Windows 7,  8.1 and 10 are the current replacements for Windows XP, 2000 , Millennium and Media Edition. Vista was only supported until 2017. Windows 7 and 8.1 carry on until 2020. Microsoft's page is confusing.

With a quick search of the internet showing refurbished Windows 7 machines selling for as little as 60 it really is time for people to 'bite the bullet' and upgrade from XP. Microsoft offered a free upgrade to Windows 10 until 2016. After that you have to purchase it. They claimed that Windows 10 would overcome the shortcomings of Version 8 and 8.1, which had such a bad press and has failed to be taken up by the majority of users. See my page Help33b for more detail on Windows 10

The death of Windows XP - a personal view: 
Microsoft's decision to end support for XP seems even more cavalier when you realise that 80% of the cash machines in the UK run on that old Operating System.  I am amazed that the combined muscle of governments, business and especially the banks have not been able to twist the arm of Microsoft to continue support for XP, although they continued to update the security support for a while.

 By 2019 it was estimated that at least 20% of PC users worldwide who were still dependent on the popular 15 year old Operating System (OS), So what is to be done ?

I am pleased to say that expert, Leo, is saying similar things in this video.  Except that he seems to encourage those people who hate change to carry on with XP as long as they fortify their anti malware protection. I disagree with this. It can lead to disaster.  But he DOES also suggest the Linux (Ubuntu) method.

Strategy for XP Users (if you don’t use it I am sure you know someone who does)  See also for the experience of a friend who recently upgraded

So, what is to be done until an XP based computer finally becomes so insecure it should be detached from your router. The computer would still be useful for all the things we used to do before the internet became commonplace such as word processing, printing, record keeping, playing games, CDs or DVDs and photo (viewing and improvement), as long as it is off line. Most desktops and early laptops can be disconnected by detaching a cable from the router. Newer laptops will be wireless but this can, and should, be turned off if you still use old Windows OS.

But before you begin to suffer from Internet withdrawal symptoms XP users must plan what to do. Can they upgrade their present equipment to an Operating System which IS going to be kept secure? If they are keen to stick to Windows, this means Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 (supported until 2020) n.b. for people who hate change Windows 7 is the most like XP. Windows 8.1 would be a another new learning curve.

But looking at the comments from people who have struggled to install later Windows, even on comparatively new machines, l would not recommend the task, especially if your PC is quite old. These days Windows requires a smarter PC;. more hard disk space, more memory, even more capable graphics. All Windows type 'updates' you attempt will require the removal of XP and your precious programs and data, although it might just be possible to install the new OS alongside XP in a separate partition.


See .

Are there any alternatives to this method ?

One similar Operating System, which is free, is called Linux. One version, Ubuntu, (Ubuntu  13.10)  is fairly undemanding when it comes to computer specification (memory, speed etc) and this can easily be loaded on to an XP machine either in place of, or in addition to, the XP program. Ubuntu can be downloaded free onto a CD or memory stick from comes complete with an Office compatible suite and a great deal more besides.

Installing Ubuntu on an old PC is straightforward. See You will have to make sure that the machine will start from a CD. Most machines already are set up this way.  So, put your Ubuntu disk in the drive and restart the machine.Ubuntu displays a series of red dots on screen. Eventually you are asked whether you want to just Try out Ubuntu from the disk or Install it.  By all means have a look at it.first.  It takes a while to start from the disk. If you are happy to install, reboot the machine. You will see an option to install it alongside your current Operating System or instead of it. Read any release notes. Agree to download any updates.  Agree to download a 3rd party MP3 player plugin. If you replace your OS it will delete all data and will take less space. If you install it alongside it will require 4Gb of space to install it and connect it to the internet. It will need to create another partition on your hard disk.  The program makes it easy to resize partitions. Ubuntu supplies a number of free programs to replace Microsoft ones. e.g. Firefox for browsing, Thunderbird  or Gmail for email, Office Writer, Calculator, Impress ((Powerpoint) and there is an online software centre where you can download additional programs e.g. Picasa.  n.b. While these programs will read Microsoft format data, such as Word, Excel, Powerpoints, there might be slight differences and techniques. Ubuntu readily offers to connect to the internet either wirelessly or by cable.It also has drivers for most peripherals such as printers and scanners.  So it really is a reasonable alternative to Windows.and it has a better security record

Buy new ? See Help32

Many people will find the better option is to buy a new (or refurbished) machine, complete with Windows 7 or 10. This might be a laptop or desktop. New PCs and laptops can be found from around 250 including the OS. and this is probably be the way most people will go. You can even buy a computer without an OS and buy a copy of a newer windows to install onto that. Look on the internet for Windows 10 disks.  But make sure that they have not been registered to someone else or you will for ever get a prod from Microsoft that your Operating System is not genuine (and will not get the important upadates).

Another option ?

With the increasing popularity of tablet computers (See Help39) many people will decide on this route, keeping their old XP machine for ‘work’, printing, photography DVDs etc and using the tablet for all Internet access. Tablets have various operating systems, such as the Apple OS, Android, Windows and Chrome. All of these have proved to be much more secure than older Windows and are regularly and automatically updated, free. Prices of tablets vary from 40 to over 600 according to size, capacity, speed, capabilities and popularity. This is a subject on its own (see my page on Tablets). All tablets have touch screens and easily connect wirelessly to the same ‘router’ that almost everyone uses these days to connect to the Internet. They are fine for accessing the net, emails, photography, Skype, Facebook, Twitter.etc. But not so brilliant for writing your next novel. Most use an on-screen keyboard, although larger keyboards can be attached wirelessly. Printing is easier if you have a special wireless printer, although other printers which are attached to your network (e.g. via a PC) can be used.

So, many people may do just that. Keep the disconnected XP machine and exclusively use a tablet for the Internet. Not a bad idea

Minimum Specifications for Windows OS

These are approximately the same for Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 (32bit versions)  64 bit versions require a slightly higher spec.

Chip speed: minimum 1 ghz, 1Gb Memory (RAM), 40Gb hard disk, Directx9-capable graphics + a CD drive and Internet access

Linux versions e.g. Ubuntu, are much less demanding and will run on a PC with a low specification and small hard disk or even directly from a CD or USB stick, should you want to try it out. The basic version is Ubuntu 12.04 (32 bit), which is guaranteed to be updated and secure until at least 2017.

Ubuntu is similar but not identical to Windows, so there would be a short learning curve. Remarkably it recognizes your mouse, keyboard, screen and most printers without difficulty. There is the opportunity to install it OVER your XP, thus clearing the data you have or, if you have some spare space on your hard disk, you can install it alongside XP. You can then access things like your old Word documents, spreadsheets and Presentations using the free Microsoft Office compatible Libre Office suite.

So, if you are prepared to use a slightly different OS this would be the cheapest (indeed FREE) option. And you can try it out using a memory stick or CD even before installing it.

For instructions on how to upgrade to another Windows from XP see

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