Not to be too negative or anything, but this could be called the end of an era!
Windows XP support ended April 8, 2014 which means that there’ll be no support updates, no security updates and no or little technical support. Although sneer was rampant online insinuating that Windows XP was better off without updates from Microsoft, the stop of technical and security updates leaves open vulnerabilities in your PC. From January 2014 to April 2014, the market share of Windows XP (All Service Packs Included) was 28.15 % amongst all operating softwares available for desktop devices, as projected by netmarketshare.com, a real time analytics website.
Now, if you are one of the people still using XP on your PCs or maybe on your laptops, heres’ a thing or two about saving your data from software that could steal data or harm your computer.
1.Use trusted websites ONLY:
Now, this would be the simplest of things really, but ultimately the most important. Using only websites that can be trusted to be secure improves your chances of evading unnecessary clutter and preventing the download of malicious content. Use the security protocols of your web browser or alternatively use third party websites like Truste.com. Also, anti-virus softwares have add-ons for your browser that scan for harmful content while browsing online.
2.Use an Anti-Virus(An Updated One!):
Anti-viruses are important, like really, really important stuff! Do Not Ignore! Anti-virus softwares scan bits and pieces of code on each new file that is downloaded/transferred to your PC for matches off it’s database, ensuring that the file does not cause any harm. Run regular checks and preferably use licensed versions over free versions. Also regularly update virus definitions and updated versions of the anti-virus program you use as and when they are available.
3. Say good-bye to Internet Explorer:
All the IE jokes aside, Internet Explorer 9 is most recent version of IE which supports Windows XP, which means that it is more than likely not updated for security patches and such on a regular basis. This is so because IE is currently at version 11 meaning that XP is supported by a version that is at least two (albeit arbitrarily defined) versions behind the latest one available. Therefore, consider switching to a browser such as Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox, or any other which supports Windows XP.
4. Use a limited account:
User accounts in MS XP are of two types: Admin type and Limited accounts. Use the latter for daily needs as it will prevent any hack that has bypassed your antivirus from installing itself and making permanent changes to the computers administrative access account, which effectively prevents it from making damaging changes to your computer. This could go a long way in securing you from damaging your data irreversibly. Additionally, store the data that is most important to you in a folder that can only be accessed with admin rights. In this way your data is protected and you don’t have to worry about it!
5. Backup Drivers and Data(Regularly):
Seeing as Microsoft has decided to stop supporting XP, software and hardware manufacturers may take it as a signal that they too, may stop supporting it. As a result you may not get a fresh copy of the driver for a critical application that supports XP. Download drivers till they are radily available.Use a website such as driveridentifier.com to identify and download drivers that you need.
Also important is backing up your data. Use backup software or manually backup your data to an external drive and scan regularly for viruses or corrupt disks. Regular checks go a long way in ensuring that your data is secure and you do not lose any valuable information.
6. Upgrade to Windows 8:
Consider upgrading to the all new(and might we add sexy looking with that tile interface?) Windows 8! Upgrading ensures you are covered to the best possible extent from attackers with an interest in harming your computer and stealing your personal and private information. Use migrating software or talk to your local vendor for advice on how to save data already on your computer before making the switch.
Even though XP is no longer supported, it still works like a charm. So if you consider yourself an XP aficionado, you needn’t be too worrie.! XP is still here and kickin’.
P.S: This piece was written on a laptop running Windows XP SP 3 (I know, right!)