Sunday, April 6, 2014

Windows XP support ends April 8th 2014. Are you ready?

On April the 8th Microsoft releases the last update for Windows XP. For an estimated 200 million users they will now be cast loose under their own sail. Are you one of them? Do you know one of them?

With one in five Windows users still using Windows XP, you or someone you know is still using Windows XP. If you are using Windows XP this post is for you. If someone you know is using Windows XP, then this post will help you help them.

Are you ready of the end of Windows XP support? Do you know what you need to know?
  1. Make sure you have Windows XP updated. Make sure all updates are applied before the 8th of April 2014 and then apply the last update on the 8th of April. Don't wait.

    My biggest concern is I don't know what Microsoft will still make available online and what they will withdraw.
  2. Microsoft Security Essentials is a very good antivirus program and is available from Microsoft for free. After the 8th of April Microsoft will remove the ability to install Microsoft Security Essentials. However Microsoft have committed to providing upgrades to Microsoft Security Essentials for another year if it is already installed.

    For many clients I've removed their existing antivirus program and installed Microsoft Security Essentials. My testing showed Microsoft Security Essentials was as good, if not better than the leading free antivirus programs and as good as the paid programs I've installed on users' computers over the years. It is lightweight in terms of the performance hit a computer takes so it is good for older slower computers.

    Microsoft Security Essentials is available from

    The approach I use is to first make sure you can access the Microsoft site. Then if you can access the Microsoft site remove the existing antivirus program. Then install Microsoft Security Essentials. Make sure the latest updates are applied and run a full scan of your computer. Complete this before the 8th of April.
  3. Install Google Chrome to provide better online protection. Google have committed to providing updates to Google Chrome under Windows XP for an additional 12 months. This should provide better security whilst surfing the internet. Microsoft have long since stopped upgrading Windows XP computers to a later version than Internet Explorer 8 and since they're not looking after their users, it is best to go to a company that is.
  4. If you're still using Outlook Express for email perhaps it is time to consider moving to a web based email service such as Gmail, Yahoo Mail or Outlook Express has looked after users well even though it has not been updated since 2006.
  5. Make sure now more than ever you are backing up your important data. Check out and set up a backup script for your important data. Make sure your data is safe.
  6. Implement an image backup if you can. This will enable you to reinstall an image of your system should your system fail such as a hard disk failure, a catastrophic malware infection, or system corruption from which you can't recover. If may also assist in the situation that it would not otherwise be economic to recover. Recovering a system image will enable you to restore your system to the time the last system image was created.

    At this stage I don't have a system image program I can recommend. I will however perform some research in the future to determine if there is a suitable low cost or free program people can use. Check this post in future for any updates.
  7. If you need to use your Windows XP computer for important work consider reducing your exposure to the internet. Reduce your use by using your mobile phone, tablet or another device for general browsing the internet and even email if you can. Another option is to consider using a secure boot disk (a CD) using software provided by the American Armed Forces which allows you to browse the internet in a safe environment and ensures your computer does not get infected. If people are interested in this option I'll provide further information.
At this stage I don't know all the implications of Microsoft Windows XP reaching end-of-life and only time will tell where we'll find issues. As I find issues I'll either add them here or to the MyAnswers solutions found at

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 for IT support.

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