FIRST, A LITTLE HISTORY
XP was pretty much the very first operating system Microsoft made that was fairly stable and didn’t crash (a lot). Previous Windows versions were quite buggy and tended to crash a lot, and trying to do more than one thing at a time was asking way too much. In short, XP worked very well. So well, in fact, that’s probably why you’re still using it. XP was first released in 2001. Microsoft has since release four successors to XP (Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8 and now Windows 10). By the time Microsoft got to Windows 7, they found their customer base wasn’t very keen on upgrading like they have done so in the past. It seemed that building a decent product hurt their business model. So, Microsoft decided to stop supporting XP in 2014.
WHY YOU SHOULDN’T BE USING XP
The sad truth is that any computer is vulnerable to malicious programs when networked to the Internet (Apple products included). Computers aren’t smart enough on their own to know that it might be handling over control or giving out information to unwanted parties. We have to tell the computer who’s on the naughty list. Microsoft stopped pushing security updates out to XP in April of 2014. Even with a virus program installed, you’re not going to be safe, because you’re not going to core OS updates for XP. This is very bad if you’re using the XP PC on the Internet.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
- Get a New PC. This is the best solution. More than likely, your XP machine is going to be too slow to run the latest versions. This is not a sales pitch. BITS doesn’t sell computers. See my other post on why BITS doesn’t sell computers for more info. The plus side is that you’ll have a faster machine. In fact, with some of the built in tools of the modern PC, it will not slow down (as much) as your XP machine did over time.
Ok, I lied. Here is a small sales pitch…. BITS can do a file migration to your new PC if you choose to go with a new machine. We can transfer your files over in a seamless fashion, so you don’t miss anything.
- Convert to Linux. Linux may be something you haven’t heard of. It’s an open source (free) operating system. If you have an Android phone, you’re using a version of it. If you use an infotainment system on a commercial airline flight, you’re using Linux. Linux is based on an operating system that predates Windows: Unix. Even if you’re using an Apple product, you’re using Unix. If you want to keep your old XP machine for some reason, and still want to get on the Internet for Facebook or sell something on eBay, you can turn that very old PC into a safe machine by installing Linux on it. You see, there are different flavors of Linux out there (did I mention that it’s all free?), and some are made specifically to run on older PCs. Or Linux can be installed to dual boot, meaning you can have two computers in one (depending on hard disk space and hardware) You might even be able to run some of those old Windows applications on your new Linux box as well. And, of course, BITS can do all of this for you.
- Unplug From The Internet. If you have programs on that XP machine that you cannot live without, and they won’t run on a new Windows version, and you have no need to go online, you can safely continue to use that XP machine if you do not connect it to the Internet.
BONUS ROUND: In either case of getting a new PC or converting to Linux, you could run what’s called a virtual machine within that PC to run an isolated “virtual” XP PC on it (depending on computer hardware), so that you can keep your XP computer and be safe at the same time.
The bottom line is that you should stop using XP directly on the Internet. There are alternatives. So, again, if you’re using XP, please stop using XP on the Internet. It’s for your own good.