Expert Advice on Windows XP EOL

Expert Advice on Windows XP EOL

With the end of support date for Windows XP fast approaching, we asked our network of TechTalk contributors & PC experts for their advice for XP users:

1. If a relative or friend of yours is still running Windows XP on April 9th, what advice would you give them?

Upgrade if at all possible. (to 8.1)
Leo Notenboom

Think of XP like an old car that’s slowly rusting. Users may think they can get by with XP even after support ends, as long as they have an anti-virus or firewall program. That’s as dangerous as thinking that you can drive on bald tires or squealing brakes.

Remember, the bad guys have had their sights set on April 9th, 2014 for a long time. As soon as Microsoft drops support, they’ll start releasing their own “updates” by using vulnerabilities they have discovered, but have not yet exploited. From the cyber-criminal’s perspective, it would be stupid to make public an exploit now, when there’s a chance that Microsoft might still release a fix or patch for it. Many of these exploits, such as security holes in browsers, or buffer overrun issues in Windows components, can’t be mitigated by your anti-virus or firewall protection. So it’s a matter of WHEN you will have a serious problem, not if.

There’s only one exception. Let’s say you have an XP system that’s NOT connected to the Internet — perhaps it sits it a corner and is only used for word processing, or video games, or a legacy database program. If you have a really good reason for not wanting to upgrade, there’s not so much urgency to do so, because almost all of the dangers involved come from the online world. But you’ll still have to deal with the possiblity of a virus infection that enters via an infected flash drive or CDROM.
Bob Rankin

I would reply that anyone still using a PC that came with Windows XP installed is very, very old, and while it may serve their needs, an OS upgrade on such old hardware would not beneficial, if it even works at all. Given the price of a new PC (especially compared to what one would have cost back in XP’s heyday) and all the added features and apps available, it is time for a new PC in my opinion.
James Fisher |

Explain what is happening with Windows XP and what End of Support means. Quite a few folks I encounter each day think it means that Windows XP will suddenly cease to work on 8 April 2014. I explain about the update process and then encourage them to upgrade to a more modern device and operating system. Some believe that if they keep security software installed and up to date that it will continue to be safe even if a vulnerability is found. Unfortunately, Microsoft and other providers of security software have fed this misconception by offering software that will run on the expiring OS into the foreseeable future.
Richard Hay | Windows Observer

I would advise them to upgrade to Windows 8 as soon as possible. If they are uncomfortable with the Windows 8 presentation, then they should move to Windows 7 (though Windows 8 can be set to operate in much the same way as Windows 7, if that is desired: If they insist on staying with XP, a robust antimalware suite is a must have.
Josh Kirschner|Techlicious

2. People who are running Windows XP might not be able to upgrade their Operating System to Windows 7 or 8 due to hardware incompatibility. What advice would you give them?

If the issue with upgrading is hardware, I would strongly encouraging making the investment in a new PC. You can find plenty of options for under $500 that will offer far more performance and storage than their current device (for example: And, if their computer is that dated, it may only be a matter of time before they experience a hard drive failure or other serious issue, so an upgrade is certainly a good idea.
Josh Kirschner|Techlicious

If new hardware is in the budget now might be the time, other wise consider a Linux distribution.
Leo Notenboom

Since Windows XP first came out 13 years ago the landscape of computing devices has changed significantly and there is a lot of new form factors and hardware to replace that aged Windows XP machine. The hardware that is found in today’s machines and devices are much more advanced and capable than they were in those days. I imagine some of our smartphones of today have higher specs than the PC’s did 13 years ago. I think Windows XP users would find the speed of their system to be profoundly faster.
Richard Hay | Windows Observer

This would be extremely rare. Maybe a really old printer, scanner or some other peripheral would cause this. My advice is to upgrade the hardware components that are holding you back. The cost of doing so will almost certainly be less than the damage caused by a virus infection or identity theft.
Bob Rankin

3. If someone digs their heels in and simply refuse to upgrade their Operating System, what advice can you provide to make them more secure?

unplug that PC from the Internet!
James Fisher |

Make sure that the anti-malware tools are current and up to date,
turn on the XP firewall, and use common sense above all to avoid
malware. And if you haven’t beem, start backing up regularly. When
(not if) you get malware reverting to a backup images is the quickest
and most reliable way to recover.
Leo Notenboom

The only piece of advice I can give is to disconnect that machine from the Internet and use it locally. If a vulnerability comes up on that OS and it is exposed to the Internet it will get exploited at some point.
Richard Hay | Windows Observer

If you’re staying on XP, make sure you install the final updates/patches and invest in a robust anti-malware suite.
Josh Kirschner|Techlicious

I’ve seen advice such as “Use Firefox or Chrome instead of Internet Explorer,” and “be careful where you click.” But I don’t think that’s really a good solution. My best advice would be to disconnect from the Internet. If that’s not possible, do frequent full system backups, make sure your anti-malware protection is top notch, and run an on-demand anti-malware scanner such as MBAM as a second layer of defense. But don’t expect that you’ll be safe.

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4. What is the best way to backup your data when moving to XP?

I’ll assume you mean “from”. I remain a huge fan of making a backup
image. Run a tool like Macrium on the old system to image the entire
machine and then you’ll be able to access that image for anything at
all that might be needed on the new.
Leo Notenboom

Assuming you’re going to move to a new machine, or do a reformat and install Win7/Win8 on current hardware, I’d recommend the free Laplink PCmover Express ( to move your files, settings and user profiles. It won’t move your user-installed software, though. PCmover Pro ($24) will do that, or you can re-install them yourself. Cloning your hard drive to an external drive will give you the most convenient access to any files you might have missed when making the transfer to a new system.
Bob Rankin

Microsoft’s own Windows Easy Transfer is one way to go ( However, there may still be other data, such as contacts, that you need to do manually. We have a guide to migrating from an old to new PC here:
Josh Kirschner|Techlicious

To insure I had every single possible file from that system I would make an image backup of the drive and make sure that the backup software allowed me to browse that image backup like a directory and recover individual files as necessary in the future.
Richard Hay | Windows Observer

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50 thoughts on “Expert Advice on Windows XP EOL

  1. I still use windows 2k with Mozilla firefox, this is just a scare, xp still runs strong. Yes you almost cannot upgrade to window 8 with a machine designed for XP..not without at least 2 gigs of ram and dual processing.

  2. The simplicity of Windows XP will never replace any another OS. In my Acer TravelMate 4670 that Windows XP has been working much more faster than others OS as I did compare of them…
    Windows XP has been the masterpice of Microsoft anytime…

  3. Last year the statistics showed that 1/3 of corporate Windows users were still running XP…Obviously, Microsoft was not benefiting financially from this…

    Time to try a new OS…LINUX perhaps…

    As if Windows 8 was the answer? (another feeble attempt to try and mimic a Mac)?

    When Microsoft releases Windows 9 next year, the last release stated (from a non-Microsoft source), “Microsoft will attempt to bury Windows 8, like they did Vista.”

    • @Drew_Crawford:

      Ironically, crticising Microsoft just makes the sitation worse for the consumer. Win 7 was rushed out because Vista failed to sell, leaving those of us who had bought a Vista PC feeling robbed (it’s part of the reason why I didn’t buy a WIn8 PC. It was obviously doomed from fairly early on, so I decided not to make the same mistake; this time I’m waiting for Win9 before even thinking about a new laptop).

      In addition there were rumours circulating of Win8.2 (which would be a free upgrade like 8.1 and service packs for previous versions). It appears that Win9 will just be Win8.2 renamed, except that Win9 will cost around $100 (give or take) instead of being free. The advantage to Microsoft is that they get to move on from the tarnished reputation of Win8 AND charge us money for the privilege.

  4. A reason for keeping an old program is not necessarily do to familiarity or not having the financial resources to upgrade but because it will do something that the upgrades will not do. There is a function on XP that I use that has been changed on Vista, Win 7 and Win 8. This is true for other software also. I have been using ACDSee for many years and have an old version. I tried an upgrade only to find that the function that I used most frequently was no longer available. Fortunately, the old version works on Win 7 but I don’t know about Win 8 I haven’t install in yet on Win 8. I am still using MS Office 2000 and it will install on Win 7 and Win 8 even though I have a more recent version which I don’t use because the newer version requires activation, where the one I am still using does not and I have installed it on a number of computers.

    And as far as comparing this with a car, all I can say is that you can get service on an old car. In 1980 I bought a ’74 dodge that I drove until 2005 when I then bought a ’95 Plymouth and am still driving it.

    Will I still use XP? Yes, because I want to have one computer that still has it, but unfortunately it is my rather antiquated laptop which rarely gets used. But I have backed up the hard drive to an external drive where I have all of my data. So if it should get “infected” I will just reformat the hard drive and install XP and a couple of programs that I would want to use.

  5. I don’t believe you. I stopped Microsoft updates on my 2004 XP machine almost right away…because all they do is fill up my machine with Microsoft crap that slows it down and consumes RAM when in use. Consequently my machine has not slowed down and Avast keeps it free of viruses. I’ve seen Windows 7 on my wife’s machine. Microsoft only gets worse with each new version…more clutter, more control stolen from the user, features that were easily accessed before are now obscure. I wonder if there is an illicit alliance between the hardware mfr’s , support companies & Microsoft that welcomes the ever increasing complexity and hardware demands imposed by Microsoft new versions.

  6. Got a computer running Win95 on the ‘Net and the “bad guys” don’t even bother “spamming” it. I get 100-odd pieces of SPAM thru my filters a day on WIN7, and NONE on the Win95 machine. I run AVG on both. AVG takes at least a half hour for a “tune-up” on my Quad core 2.33 Gig WIN7, and 4-5 minutes tops on my 885 MHz (!) Win95 with an external .5 Gig HD as “Drive D” where I keep 90% of my data! “They” keep saying we “have” to update and pay MicroSnot and megalomaniac robber baron Bill Gates more money, well, Medicare and Medicaid and the new Obamacare are still running on “Physicians Office XP 2001” for your healthcare information and will be for the next ten years according to Health and Human Services (my Doctor showed me the letter from the U. S. Govt.), so I’m underwhelmed.
    “They” tell me my 1964 Honda SuperHawk can’t race with the new motorcycles at the track either. Two weekends ago, I beat 44 bikes less than two years old with riders a third my age on them. I had the slowest bike on the track.
    “They” tell me I “have” to buy a new digital camera. I made more money last month with a 4×5 inch film view camera than 99% of most photographers in the US make in a year, with 25 sheets of film.
    Maybe “they” don’t know anything at all?

  7. You can increase security for your XP computer by running all your Internet access from a sandbox. I’ve found that Sandboxie works quite well. If something bad sneaks by your anti-malware software you simply just don’t copy it outside the sandbox and it is deleted when you stop the sandbox.

  8. For an older computer – download and install Linux. I put Linux Mint 16 on two of my technically-challenged friends’ machines. After I gave them quick tours, they were very pleased. In fact, one commented that “it is not much different to use than XP”. And it’s FREE y’all!

    • @Cheryl R Walker: @Cheryl R Walker: Hi Cheryl. Since you have been using Linus Mint can you tell me please if like Windows XP (1) you can find software drivers for most hardware? (2) can use the internet and the common browsers like Internet Explore & Firefox? (3) most software supported is supported? Your help would be appreciated. Thanks Joe

  9. Can someone who really knows if this will work please a answer the questions at the end of this email.

    Can a computer built with a dual operating system such as the one below remove any possibility of infections targeting XP after its “end of life” cycle next month?

    Windows 7 will be on the first “C:” drive. Internet connectivity, browser & email will ONLY be installed on this Win 7 drive,

    Win XP will be installed on the completely separate second hard drive “probably “E:” (the system will probably assign “D:” to the DVDRW drive). The programs that will not run on Win 7 or in the Win 7 “compatibility” mode will be installed on this drive.

    All of the files I create will be saved only on a third (also compeltely separate) hard drive (probably F:) in a directory and file system I create that serves my own purposes — thereby bypassing completely the supposedly “better and faster” search capabilities of Win 7 with its “MY” “documents, pictures, music, games”) directories (folders) that Win 7 sets up for me (that I really don’t want and find very annoying.

    My questiona are:

    Will the isolation of XP on the second hard drive, despite the fact that it is installed in the same computer as the Win 7 drive guarantee that the machine is protected from any virususes/malware/etc. that target XP?

    Also are there any caveats I should know about in having such a system built?

    Thanks for any help you might be able to give me in answering this question.

    Joe D

    • @Joe D:
      If XP can see the files from windows 7, then windows 7 can be vulnerable while running xp, if xp is infected.

      The best option is to run xp in a vbox or VMware machine. I do this now about once a month for something.

      I now run SuSe Linux for everything and almost all windows programs. Why be forced in to a upgrade to avoid bad software.
      All windows support ends with xp for me.

  10. I have 4 windows XP machine that work perfectly well for their intended purpose. I would upgrade all of them if Microsoft would offer W8 for the original $39.95 introductory price. The current cost to upgrade to W7 or W8 is more than the computers are worth so I will stick with XP until they fail.

  11. I use Avira, Malwarebytes, Windows Firewall ,Wise Care , Advance System Care and Regseeker. Xp works fine for me .I think there will be third party updates for xp. I am not scared and shaking in my shoes.

  12. It cracks me up about the comment of comparing window XP to and old car. I guess geeks never heard of the term " preventive maintenance ". If you maintain and older car, it will run like clock till the day you decide you want a new car, but, why would I need to buy a new car if my present car is operating just fine????

    You say the " Baddies " have been waiting for the day for support to end for XP. How are the threats any different now to the new ones that will be out there, the answer is they won't and any savvy computer user with enough common sense isn't going to allow their self to be board sided by those waiting to pounce.

    All I see here ia vain attempt by those in the business of selling something that not needed nor required especially when such scare tactic's are being employed to do so.

    Rather then trying so hard to sell this " doom and gloom " scenario in regards to XP, take a tip from the maintenance perspective, give the people what they want for a change by offering services and products to allow users to keep their XP OS running at it's best, you just might be surprised at the business opportunity this presents rather than try to make the consumer buy a product they already know it's nothing more than a pig with lipstick on it.

  13. I have developed a lot of programs for windows 98. Some can run on Vista, but non on windows 7 or later. If changing to windows 7 then I will have to buy software worth 20 000 €. And do 6 months of programming work. I am retired and cannot afford that.
    So the world needs a continuous system and computers that last. May be Linux is the system?

  14. With all the kafuffle and hype about Microsoft support ceasing on April 8, it might as well be April 1, April Fool’s Day.

    I am reminded that I still have, and all running well thank you,
    – Windows for Workgroups 3.1
    – Windows for Workgroups 3.11
    – Windows 95
    – Windows Me
    – Windows 2000 SP4
    – Windows 95
    – Windows 98
    – Windows XP SP3
    And all the Windows OS’s above this to Windows 8.1

    Windows for Workgroups can be seen on my LAN however lost the Internet Explorer and I need to find a fix for this, otherwise they are all working very well and I can screen for viruses on any of the OS’s via my LAN from my XP and above systems.

    Besides this I have Auto0Patcher, which I keep up to date and will do so every other day to ensure that I have all the patches and updates for XP should I need to re-install it.

    All this hype reminds me of the many other key changes and scare mongering that have occurred in my life time. In particular the Millennium change and the sceptics that created such a stir that they almost had people believe that the World might come to an end if we could not change our computer’s time parameters.

    Need to upgrade from your XP SP3, Bull Shift I say, they said this about Win for Workgroups and all the others that followed and nothing has changed, it’s all about the $$$$ Big Bucks $$$$

    And when I reflect, all still on a DOS base with the Furniture (Folder and File structure) moved and manipulated constantly and given a new paint job (different graphic interface) where now the original house that had a coffee table in the Lounge Room, a dining table in the Dining Room, a washing machine in the Laundry and a commode (toilet bowl) in the Lavatory.
    The latest Win 8.1 now has the “Washing Machine” in the Dining Room, the “Dining Table” in the Laundry, the “Toilet Bowl” now sits in the middle of the Lounge Room and the “Coffee Table” is in the Lavatory, no wonder no one wants a second cup of coffee.

    And MS made Billions doing this !!

    Roger H.
    (PC-Bug Fixer)

  15. if you have an old application that will not run on anything later than XP then it is Hobsons Choice. you have to stick with XP even if it is the only application on that PC which you use.

  16. I’ve got XP on two old laptops.

    Will XP still work?
    I’d like to leave the two laptops connected,
    both to the network and two each other.

    Please tell me what I should do.


      Yes, it will work. Microsoft is not updating XP, or make new SP-s,or new versions of programs – like IE, or Windows Media Player etc for XP – only for newer versions. They say that viruses and hackers could exploit the XP vulnerabilities. But, in 13 (thirteen!!) years, the hackers and virus makers had more than enough time to discover them. And, of course, MS had also 13 years to fix them. The only problem I see is: will the anti-virus and anti-malware programs will be kept up-to-date?
      BTW, there are already versions of .NET that are not working on XP, only on 7 or higher.

  17. Hundreds of thousands (millions) of XP users world wide will continue to use XP….they simply can not afford another OS. And older computers will not run newer MS OS’s. It will continually devastate all MS users w/ uncontrollable virus escalation in the future.

    • @Bill: Not to mention all of the schools that have older computers and do not have the funds to upgrade or update to newer windows 7 or 8. What are should they do? To up grade in would most likely have to have all or most of the hardware updated and cost as much as a new computer. I lost my job 15 months ago, age 73 and unable to find work that I can do. Definitely unable to get a new computer,when I have problems just getting my Asthma inhalers and medications.

  18. Why is MS taking this mighty steed out behind
    the barn and shooting it? They rode this fine beast for 12 years and made a ton of money. People love this OS. The quest for profits often underrates this quality in a product. Kinda like taking Vitamin D out of Milk. We, even as a group have little power over what MS does in-less it breaks a law. Any one know of any? How about some new ones? I think that’s the ticket, ya some new laws for MS to deal with.

  19. Muriel Jeffs
    I agree. Microsoft just won't understand. People like the way XP acts. I don't see why they can't have a XP2 version and a Windows 7,9 version. Why stick with one interface.

  20. I’ll be glad when Doomsday finally gets here. Then we won’t have to go through all these “scary” articles. XP is great. Did Windows98 get this much attention when Microsoft dropped it.

  21. I won't touch win 8, I've know a couple of people who tried to return their PCs because of win 8. I have 2 homebuilt PCs (about 8 years old) and my wife's laptop. I installed an OEM of 7 and it works great on a one of the PCs. I'll have to buy 2 more win 7s. and guess what, Microsoft won't sell win 7 activation keys anymore. Which is why I'm posting this comment on Cnet. But they are really happy to sell you win 8. I can still get extra win 7 OEMs through 3rd party distributors. Buying hardware just to run win 8 ain't gonna happen while retired and on a fixed income.

  22. XP runs my music creation software better than 7 and probably 8. I have no need or desire to up date to a OS that doesn’t run my
    many $$$$ software packages.

  23. While there are a few programs that I have on my XP based Dell PC that won't run on my Windows 8 Acer Laptop, I've found that upgrading to 8.1 and installing the Microsoft Start Menu has made life bearable. Truth be told, both OS's have their pluses an minuses.

    Unless or until I set up my installed VM Ware with XP for my Laptop, I'll just hang onto the PC for use of my non Windows 8 compatible programs.

    In my opinion, the choice comes down to what kind of setup one is comfortable with. Having now been on the newer OS for six months, I don't think I could go back to XP on a regular basis.


  24. i would love to upgrade my XP computer to Windows 7, But right now I don't have the cash to do that. I would have to change my motherboard because Windows 7 doesn't support my ATI-All-In-Wonder AGP video card. I tried running Windows 7 in it's beta days and my screen would always go black. And of course Microsoft isn't going to help with things like that. It's really interesting how THAT FACT wasn't really dealt with in this article. I'm sure I'm not the only person in these shoes.

  25. I use XP with SP3 on 1 computer and SP2 on the other. I use Avast antivirus and a Firewall with fast fibre-optic. As yet and since 2002, I’ve not had the slightest trouble. We have combatted the bad boys all that time yet now it’s MICROSOFT wants us to upgrade which generates millions ! THEY scare me more ! I am an ex-Senior Lecture in Radio/TV/Hi-Fi and Electronics, now 83 years old. I’ll spend only if there is no way out.

  26. WOW !! Sounds like you asked advice from the MS Sales propaganda group… lol. Impending doom and gloom and end of the world if you do not get rid of a good working O/S and equipment to get a resource hungry, crapware filled one that requires a new platform and peripherals to support it … lol, Typical sales strategy, but then I guess the family pet does need a new limo and central air … lol. I think I will wait till the venders and the third parties quit supporting the xp O/S before moving on thanks.

  27. I ran Win 8 as a free trial on my XP desktop – it ran fine but my entire family hated it (we also have laptops with Vista and 7 as well as several Apple devices and an Android tablet – none of us have a problem with switching systems) so I didn’t buy a copy.

    There’s a part of me regretting that decision now because I don’t have £several hundred to spend on a new desktop or a full price copy of Win8 (or 7 if I can find one). I have used Linux before – it made for an interesting hobby but there were just too many problems that made it unrealistic for a family PC.

    I guess I’ll just keep running the PC and hope for the best. There are no files on that PC but it is connected to my NAS which at 1TB is too big to back up online. What’s the best way to protect the data on my NAS – somehow disconnect the desktop from it and use a USB stick to transfer files to and from it?

  28. I see experts saying XP is no longer safe.
    My XP system is fast and the interface is SOOO much better than WINDWS 7 or 8, which try to mimic Apple and do it awfully badly. I would move IF I could get W7 or 8 to interface like XP, eg Explorer, control panel, networking.

    Question can I make 7 or 8 look like XP?

    • @Phil:

      There is a lot of ways to configure 7 & 8 but the MAIN way is to use a program called Classic Shell which comes with a sub program called Classic Explorer. Classic Shell is MUCH more than a Start Menu replacement. It has many settings for customizing the interface. I even use Classic Shell on Vista.

      Also you can do a google searches for how to ‘Disable Homegroup’ and ‘Disable Libraries’.

      W8.1 has some additional settings to boot to Desktop in Taskbar Properties.

      Tip: While installing Windows 8 don’t enter an email address unless you want your whole hard drive encrypted.

  29. So, we will see what really happens in the near future. I bet that most of us sticking with XP will not see things go flump! V7 is OK, but I won’t touch V8.1. And, too many of the items I read here are incorrect or not useful. One recent tip installed Malware on all of the computers that I followed the advice and installed the freeware. And, the freeware didn’t work, either. The lesson, too much BS around the ‘Net.

  30. I have Windows 7 laptop and Windows 8 Surface. I still prefer the way Win XP worked and I absolutely HATE my Surface,,you cannot upgrade or load any popular programs. I bought it to have a more portable device. I hate dealing without a mouse. Older yet versions had a neat repair IE link, which solved problems really well…better than today's Help and FAQ formats

  31. I’m still running the XP and don’t plan to upgrade. I tried to go to Win7, but it would cost me over $20,000 in upgrades of professional programs.
    Upgrades in many companies to Win 7 and 8 give no advantage, do not increase productivity, but cost a lot for people training and other program upgrades. A bookkeeper using only Xcel and occasionally Word does not need an upgrade. And that’s a good chunk of users.

  32. well, i’ve run em after support goes for the os, and in a couple of years, i need to move on cause of video issues, this time i’ve got a driver updater, so i’m not looking at bad drivers putting me out of comission, bottom line is that if it fucks up, it fucks up, move on buy a newer one, with win 7 on it, suck the data off the old drive and put it on the new one, and move on, last upgrade in hardware i did was this system 3 years ago, awesome hardware, can run 7 on here easy, soooooooooooo, i’m just going to hook up my external hard drive suck off the 50 gigs of data, and format the drive on this on this one, and load a copy of win 7 i got and keep on truckin.


  33. XP works great! This is all a ploy to make everyone fork over the big bucks to Microsoft for a new version of their OS. If they really want us to upgrade then have a special limited time offer where an upgrade is only $25. It's not like the software is made of gold! Otherwise a great majority of XP users aren't changing until they get a new computer. Even then there's worry some of the older programs might not work on new versions of Windows.

    • @Alexander Remington:

      Actually every new operation system that comes out has special pricing. I gave $40 each for my Win 8 copies. I missed Win 7 but that was my fault, not Microsoft’s. The best insurance policy for computing is to stay up to date. In the short run you might feel inconvenienced. In the long run you’ll be glad. Most excuses against upgrades are rather obtuse, I think.

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