We all know that Microsoft no longer provides official support for Windows XP since 8th April 2014.
So, you either upgrade to Windows 10 or of course, you learn how to safely keep using Windows XP after 2014. Therefore, what should it be?
In order to help you out, in this tutorial, I will describe some tips that will keep Windows XP secure for a pretty long time.
According to market share studies, there are a lot of users who are still using Windows XP on their laptops or desktops.
Actually it seems that many users aren’t willing to upgrade to Windows 10 due to various reasons. For them, knowing how to keep using Windows XP after 2014 is essential, or a must have.
Because of that, we will be checking on which are the best tips and tricks to use on your Windows XP powered device for as long as you want.
It’s interesting though to know why Microsoft decided to go this way, well, it’s not that hard to figure it out as apparently the not-so-recently released Windows 10 systems are not perfect.
So far, Windows 10 is indeed the most popular platform, followed by Windows 7 and then Windows XP. The fact that Windows XP still holds the 3rd place is quite remarkable.
But an upgrade to Windows 10 might not be suitable for some, especially if we talk about the business segment where we have numerous software programs that can run only on Windows XP or even on older versions of the Microsoft OS.
In that case you will have to use a virtual machine, things being more complicated on that matter.
But that’s not the only reason why you shouldn’t want to upgrade to Windows 10, although eventually, you will have to do so – you will not find compatible drivers with Windows XP, while the latest laptops and desktops offers support only for Windows 10, Windows 8, and partially for Windows 7.
Therefore, if you want to keep in using your favorite Windows system – XP, don’t hesitate and check the tips explained and detailed during the guidelines below.
How to keep using Windows XP forever and ever
- Install dedicated antivirus
- Keep your software up to date
- Stop using Internet Explorer, or go offline
- Stop using Java for Web Browsing
- Use a day-to-day account
- Use a Virtual Machine
- Choose wisely what to install on your Windows XP computer
- Add more RAM
What’s the risk in using Windows XP even though Microsoft no longer provides official support for the same? The risks are quite important as we are talking about the security field.
The end of Windows XP means no security updates released after April 8th 2014. So, if you don’t know how to properly protect your computer, it might be infected with various malware, bugs, worms and viruses.
Don’t worry though, because there are a few tricks to use for keeping Windows XP secured even after EOS.
1. Install a dedicated antivirus
Even though Microsoft no longer releases Windows XP security patches, you can still protect your computer. You can anytime download and install free or paid antivirus programs.
The free software is ok, but if you really want to secure your Windows XP system you should choose a paid version of antivirus. The best programs that you can use are AVG, Avast, Norton, or Kaspersky.
In case you are asking about what happened to Microsoft Security Essentials, you should know that the software received the last updated in June 2015.
Anyway, even though Security Essential represents the official Microsoft security tool, we recommend using a better antivirus program.
2. Keep your software up to date
It will be extremely important to keep your programs up to date by installing or the latest official updates.
In this way, you can protect your Windows XP computer against basic malware infections and you can also secure your programs and software.
You can use Secunia PSI in that matter, this being a tool that can scan your computer for out-of-date software.
Also, remember to install all the patches that were provided until April 8th 2014. For example, if you need to re-install your Windows XP system, do that but don’t forget to apply the security patches as soon as possible and before going online.
3. Stop using Internet Explorer, or go offline
Why? Well mainly because Windows XP will no longer receive Internet Explorer official support which means that your web browser might not offer the security support you need.
So, the best way to avoid unpleasant situations will be in using Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox, which will bring patches up to date.
Another solution you can apply is to go offline as much as possible. For example, when using different business programs you don’t need an internet connection enabled.
Most of the tools you use might go online for pointing updates or who knows what else. Not all these updates are official and you can catch some malware if you are not paying attention.
So, because of that, you should go offline when this is possible.
If you still want to go online while using Windows XP, check out this guide on the best browsers to use for old Windows computers.
4. Stop using Java for Web Browsing
Java is the most used software by the Windows users especially in web browsing; because of that hackers will basically attack your computer trough Java, especially after official support from Microsoft.
So, stay secured by disabling Java when using your web browser.
How to do that? Just go to the Control Panel and select Java. Then tap on Security and deselect the option dubbed as Enable Java content in the browser. Click OK and then apply the new settings.
5. Use a day-to-day account
Malware can do as much damage as the importance of the account it infects. Keep that in mind when using Windows XP. Also due to the same reasons,, the best approach is to stay away from administrator accounts.
In that matter, you should start using day-to-day accounts.
A day-to-day account comes with important restrictions that can be used for protecting your desktop.
Here is how you can enable limited accounts:
- First of all, log in as Administrator; then set a password and go to Control Panel
- From there click on User Accounts and select your own account
- Moreover, pick Create a new password and type your new pass key twice
- Now tap on Home, then click Create a new account
- Save a new name for your account and pick Next
- Up next select Limited and click Create Account. Good, you have just created a Limited user account.
You can set a password for it by following the steps at the start of this paragraph.
In order to use your limited account, restart your computer and just choose the above-created account and enjoy it in a secure way.
6. Use a Virtual Machine
If the tips from above are way too complicated for you and you rather upgrade your computer to Windows 10, then you should use a virtual machine where to install Windows XP.
As we already stated above, some apps and programs can run only on Windows XP systems, which means that you must use a virtual machine on any other Windows OS, or else the mentioned tools will not work at all.
Installing a virtual machine is not that hard as you can use official software developed by Microsoft.
Anyway, it will be quite annoying to switch between your regular Windows platform to the virtual machine each time you need to use your programs, but at least you will be secured.
7. Choose wisely what to install on your Windows XP computer
Although Windows XP no longer receives security updates, there are numerous ways in which you can still protect your computer against malware or viruses infections.
Anyway, the best manner will be, of course, to be more careful when installing software, when going online, when using your web browser and when downloading something on your laptop or desktop.
By trying to install only official programs, tested and recommended by other users and by using proper antivirus and antimalware programs, you will be safe when using Windows XP.
8. Add more RAM
RAM is very important if you want to keep Windows XP running fast event to this day. One of the most frequent issues affecting Windows XP computers is slow responsiveness due to limited hardware configurations.
Old computers running Windows XP usually have about 1 GB of RAM or even less. The good news is that you can increase RAM on Windows XP to up to 3GB.
So, go ahead and buy a compatible RAM slot to make your Windows XP snappier.
Now, as we pointed out in these guidelines, you can still use Windows XP long after Microsoft ended official support.
Of course, eventually, the upgrade will have to be made as you will not find compatible drivers and software with older versions of the Windows system.
But until then, don’t worry and keep using your favorite Windows OS on your laptop or desktop.
Of course, if you want to enjoy the latest Windows features, you’ll need to upgrade to the latest Windows 10 version.
As a matter of fact, Microsoft just made the latest Windows OS version, Windows 10 v1909, available to all users via Windows Update.
So, if you’re ready to stop using the good old Windows XP, check for updates and then hit the Update button.
Speaking of Windows XP, we’re pretty sure another OS will soon follow into its footsteps. By that, we mean that Windows 7 has all the chances of becoming the next Windows XP. As a quick reminder, Microsoft recently ended official Windows 7 support which means the OS no longer gets security updates. So, now two of the most popular Windows operating systems no longer receive security patches, yet millions of users continue to utilize them.
Don’t forget to use the comments field below for sharing your Windows XP experience and, of course, for sharing other useful tips with us and with our readers. Stay close as we will update this guide with fresh info as soon as we have something that is worthy of your attention.
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in March 2014 and was last updated on January 23, 2020 for freshness, and accuracy.