The best Windows XP software you can still use today

Milan Stanojevic
by Milan Stanojevic
Deputy Editor
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  • When Microsoft announced that they were ending their support for Windows XP which they had done for 12 years, not everybody understood what that would mean if they continued using the operating system.
  • If you plan on keeping Windows XP as the main operating system on your computer, you might as well look for the best software you can still use with this OS.
  • Here's everything you need to know about Windows XP.
  • If you want to discover more Windows XP-related articles, check out our dedicated section.
Top Software Windows XP

When Microsoft announced that they were ending their support for Windows XP which they had done for 12 years, not everybody understood what that would mean if they continued using the operating system.

However, they had to withdraw so as to focus on supporting more recent technologies to continue delivering great experiences, and this included automatic updates that would help protect your PC.

It also stopped providing Microsoft Security Essentials for download on Windows XP, which meant that PCs running XP won’t be secure and would be at risk for infection.

However, computers using XP still continued to work despite the increased vulnerability to security threats and viruses. Internet Explorer 8 is also no longer supported, which exposes your PC to more threats, plus more apps and devices don’t work with this OS.

If you’re still using XP, you’d know that major software providers are also dropping support for it, but there are still some best software for Windows XP to use in 2020 that you can carry on with to both stay safe and keep your PC running smoothly.

We cannot review every possible piece of software, but here are some major software categories which still work for XP even today.


Best software for Windows XP to use in 2020


antivirus blocking system restore

  • Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition

This edition is easy to setup and configure, uses little system resources so your computer won’t have lags, and it doesn’t nag you with upgrade to premium suggestions. It fully supports XP.

Get Bitdefender antivirus free edition

  • Avast Free Antivirus

This comes with a heuristics engine that can detect previously unknown viruses and malware, plus it is the most installed antivirus product, and fully supports Windows XP too.

Get Avast Free antivirus

  • AVG Antivirus Free

This is a fully-fledged antivirus and antispyware software with scheduled scanning, email and link scanners, automatic updates and much more. You get it as a free download and enjoy it with Windows XP on your PC.

Get AVG Antivirus Free

  • Panda Protection

This was previously the Panda Free antivirus and protects your PC from malware and other threats. It works from the cloud so it won’t slow down your computer, freeing it up to work as it should while protected.

Get Panda Protection


Some of the best VPNs to use with Windows XP include Hotspot Shield and CyberGhost but the latter has since stopped supporting XP.

However, you can still use Hotspot Shield Free VPN, known for allowing access to blocked sites like Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Prime, BBC iPlayer and others. it also gives you unlimited bandwidth and data transfer, plus anonymity.

Other features include real IP address masking, secure internet connection even with public WiFi, protection against malware, phishing and spam, plus fast connections for high-speed browsing.

You can also get the premium version for extra features and enjoy anonymity on Windows XP.

Get Hotspot Shield Free VPN

Office Suite

This is another very important software you use besides your browser for connecting to the Internet.

If you still insist on using Microsoft Office, there’s no modern version for XP, as Office 2013 and 2016 only work with Windows 7 or later versions. The latest Office version for XP is the Office 2010 32-bit edition. Otherwise, this will only be available up to October 2020, so you still have a few years to use it.

Office 2007 or earlier versions are still compatible with XP, but not supported by Microsoft since October 2017, but for Office 2010, you can download with a valid product key or get an Office license online, though this can be expensive.

Get Office Online


firefox dynamic theme browser

For XP, the best browsers you can use are Firefox, whose extended support release version supports XP but only until June 2018. Opera also updates older versions of its browser for users of Windows XP.

Internet Explorer and Google Chrome both dropped their support for XP so you can no longer use the two on your PC.

 Download Firefox and Opera for Windows XP

Image editing and viewing

For XP, the best easy to use editors would have been Paint.NET but it no longer supports the OS. However, you can use GIMP to edit images, or IrfanView if you want to view images.

photo editing software for Windows 10

GIMP, or GNU Image Manipulation Program, is a free photo editing software for XP, though it requires some extra skills or time to understand and use it so it’s not as simple as most free photo editors.

It not only lets you add layers, masks, curves, and levels, but you can even clone, create your own custom brushes, apply perspective and much more using its smart selection tools. You can access so many plugins from GIMP’s collection, created by the community of users plus install Photoshop plugins as well.


Irfanview windows 7 photo viewer

IrfanView is your best bet for an image viewer software for XP. Some cool things you can do with this photo viewer include file searches, email and print options, batch conversions for advanced image processing, fast view through directories, Photoshop filter support, Paint option such as drawing lines, arrows, circles, and other shapes, add effects such as sharpening, blurring, and you can also capture screenshots, change cut/crop, and add watermarks and so much more.

Get IrfanView


  • Drive detectors

software that automatically detects drivers

You can use Device Doctor for this. This is a free Windows app that scans your computer hardware and checks for any new driver updates available for your computer or device. It also locates drivers for unidentified devices in the Windows Device Manager.

Once you click Begin Scan, Device Doctor queries its manufacturer driver database and immediately fetches the correct driver files for your computer or device.

It updates drivers for over 13 million individual devices and computer, with more added every week. Other features include consistent updates (including new driver versions soon as they’re released), future proof with Windows versions and 64-bit support, offline scans, and it provides device names for unknown devices before updating drivers.

To use it, you need your Windows XP and 10 MB available hard drive space.

Download Device Doctor

  • Screenshot tool

best software for Windows XP to use in 2018

Windows XP has no built-in tool for snipping or taking screenshots, but you can install ShareX, a great tool that gives clear quality screenshots instead.

Get ShareX

While some software still works with XP, it is important to note that the developers of such software can drop them with little or no notice, so you need to stay abreast of what works currently and in the future for XP.

Which best software for Windows XP are you using in 2020? Let us know which one works for you that we may have missed by dropping a comment in the section below.

FAQ: Learn more about Windows XP software

  • Can I download Windows XP for free?

Although there are many places that might be offering the obsolete operating system for free, we can assure you that none of them are legal. More so, Windows XP was never distributed online, so there’s no way to retrieve it even from Microsoft.

  • Is Windows XP still usable?

While it may be possible for you to install and run Windows XP on your computer, it would be a bad idea. Windows XP went out of support a few years ago, which makes it heavily exposed to all sorts of vulnerabilities that won’t be patched.

  • How can I keep using Windows XP forever?

Again, using Windows XP past its support period is a very bad idea, but it’s your call. Our best advice to you is to keep your antivirus solution up-to-date and even go offline if you plan on using Windows XP in the long run.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in March 2018 and has been since revamped and updated in April 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.