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XP Extinct?

Posted on 2014-01-24
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Last Modified: 2014-01-26
Hello Everyone,

I am not sure of this is the appropriate forum for this question but here goes...

I have used XP for years and do not want to change. I am tired of being forced into newer versions of Microsoft OS's. XP has worked well for me and my family and I would like to stay with it.

I heard that XP will no longer be supported in a few months. What can we XP users do to keep running?

Thanks
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Question by:pcwizz1
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LVL 95

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by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 39808049
Disconnect from the internet.  Never insert another device on the XP machines.

Here's your REALITY:

On April 8, Microsoft will stop releasing updates to Windows XP.  When that happens, all the malware creators are going to do a dance and throw a party.  Because so many people will still be using it.

Here's the issue - all the bugs that get patched every month - MOST of them are issues for ALL operating systems because even Windows 8.1 still shares code with XP.  So, when Microsoft stops patching XP, the bugs fixed in Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8 will be patched but the malware authors will know just what to attack in XP.  So if your XP is on the internet, browsing web sites, getting email, etc, EVERY DAY is going to get more and more likely you're going to be infected with malicious software that will steal your identity, encrypt your files, take over your pc, etc, etc.  Antivirus won't help much because these things are going to attack holes in windows.  And third party companies cannot patch Windows reliably - if at all - because they don't have the code windows was built on.

That's my concern.  

XP was nice (after SP2 was released).  Vista was AWFUL.  7 was excellent.  8 is very good (if you can get past the start menu redesign - which is what it is - a redesign - it's still the start menu, it just looks radically different).
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Expert Comment

by:aadih
ID: 39808050
Keep using it. Many antivirus software vendors will keep supporting it for a while. Eventually it will be extinct. It's a matter of time before you are forced to move on. Take your time, but do not resist the change forever to your own detriment.

No need to be paranoid, but it's wise to be practical.
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Assisted Solution

by:Mysidia
Mysidia earned 250 total points
ID: 39808086
I suggest install Windows 7, or look at extraordinary compensating measures,  as no security updates will be available for XP.

Start by visiting this page: http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/virus-removal/cryptolocker-ransomware-information#prevent
Look at the section   discussing software restriction policies  "How to manually create Software Restriction Policies to block CryptoLocker:"

HOWEVER,  I do recommend expanding on this list.   Instead of blocking *.exe files;  block ALL executable files  being executed from a user's profile directory,  except shortcuts.

e.g.  Set a path rule to block
Path if using Windows XP: %UserProfile%\
instead of
%UserProfile%\Local Settings\*.exe


Something in depth to take a look at would be the NIST Windows XP hardening guide: http://csrc.nist.gov/itsec/SP800-68r1.pdf


* Make sure the system is clean;  if you still want to keep using it (which is inadvisable);  a reinstallation from known good media  onto up-to-date hardware; with careful attention to any disk partition alignment issues, and  full update may be advisable.

* Make sure to update to the latest version of XP3;  make sure you get the final security update for XP when it does come out.     Make sure you get the latest updates for all installed versions of .NET and Microsoft Office programs,  and if installed: Adobe  Acrobat reader, Flash, as well.

* Install the latest version of EMET;  this is best if running on hardware with the appropriate CPU features present and fully enabled in the BIOS (NoExecute):
http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=41138

* If using Internet Explorer; stop using it, switch to Chrome for business.
After Chrome is the default browser.
Go to Start > All Programs > Set Program Access
and Defaults. Disable access to Internet Explorer,  for all users.



* Uninstall any version of the Java runtime JRE if installed
* Install a software firewall to block any remote access to the XP machine.
* Unbind;  remove or uncheck "Windows file and printer sharing", NetBEUI, etc, from all network adapters.

* Get all software you want, running on the system now,  before XP's end of life.
Freeze the system after the EOL date, and only update existing programs.    Installing or trying new software will be at much higher risk, in terms of possible exploits.

* Install and use a sandboxing solution such as Returnil or Sandboxie freeware, Steadystate, Deepfreeze,  Bufferzone
  Ensure all web-browsers,  Microsoft office programs, and internet applications run in the sandbox

* Disable UPnP and remote DCOM.
  These tools may help:
     https://www.grc.com/freeware/dcom.htm
     https://www.grc.com/unpnp/unpnp.htm

* Open up  Start > Run > services.msc and  Turn off the "Server",  "Webclient"  and "Computer browser" services,  by double clicking them in the list;  change the service startup type from Automatic or Manual to "Disabled";    click "Apply",  then click the  STOP button to stop the service.

* On a standalone system, you also want to  specifically disable services:  Terminal Services,  TCP/IP NetBIOS Helper, Telephony, Messenger, ClipBook, Indexing Service,  Distributed Transaction Coordinator,  "Help and Support",   NetMeeting Remote Desktop Sharing, Remote Registry,   Uninterruptable Power Supply  (unless you use this function),
Upload Manager,    Wireless Zero Configuration  (unless your computer is connected wirelessly),  and Workstation service.
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Expert Comment

by:Merete
ID: 39808100
If you use good sense with web browsing and have excellent anti virus software and dont need to see any of the new youtube videos or the newer web pages as you'll need to run your browsers in compatibility mode , flash probably won't run right as the newer flash won't install on older systems, your video card will stress as no new drivers will fix the video isuues, then you'll be fine.
People are still using windows 98 2nd edition but only for paper work as they can't really interact much with the newer internet features.
Keep your XP for now but keep in mind as we age so do our systems..
HDD's fail after a while, same with the video card the PSU, Capasitors on the Mobo.. all your hardware has a life expectancy of around 6 to 8 years max maybe more with some, but will become unstable and then they start to fail and you'll have to replace parts.
Replacing parts may void your OEM and or nolonger be available let alone fit in to your Case.
Buy some software that can backup your files.

If it helps I see it all the time, but windows 7 is the same as XP just more bling.
the layout is same similar and it's easy to navigate.
You have Experts Exchange million or so members using windows 7 and can help you.
Remember when XP came out how we all were so scared of changing over.
Microsoft fixed it based on our complaints with XP SP1 and XP SP2 etc.
All the programs I had in XP runs fine in windows 7 x32 and windows 7 x 64.
So just wait till these things are fixed which they are now in windows 7
I'm still using Office 2003 ;)
Even the video card manufacturers couldn't keep up with all the new windows and drivers were a mess.

I feel the same with Windows 8 .1 all that new learning, technology, why?
And it seems to be all about LinkedIn twitter and Facebook, Ipads ipods/I just wanted a computer to work on my images and graphics/video editing  not a social media system.
But that's the generation gap..
Windows 8.1 is already being fixed with sp1 so that we can have those familiar things like the start menue and mouse and keyboard.
The layout we are used to.
The newer windows can be used just like the old and just ignore all the newer stuff.
Our TV is our new smart computer already and it connects to our Ipads and windows phones. Computers are slowly fazing out..
Just like in the movies.

Regards Merete
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by:John Hurst
ID: 39808109
Microsoft has said very recently they will keep some XP updates going until 2015 now because some ATM manufacturers apparently cannot readily change.

Still, it seems to me to be not a good idea to stay in the past. When I started consulting, I rid my clients of Windows 98 and now I have gotten rid of most of the XP machine. They are all using Windows 7 Pro.

If you need a reason for yourself, 32-bit XP is a slug with today's applications. Windows 7 Pro 64-bit or Windows 8.1 Pro 64-bit (what I use) can take 8 Gb of memory and possibly 16 Gb depending on machine and BIOS.

What can we XP users do to keep running?

For how long? Forever? Forget that. Plan to move up when you buy a new machine and go 64-bit for speed and memory.

Does it die in 3 months?  No.

.... Thinkpads_User
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You wouldn't let your users design their own business cards, would you? So, why do you let them design their own email signatures? Think of the damage they could be doing to your brand reputation! Choose the easy way to manage set up and add email signatures for all users.

 
LVL 23

Assisted Solution

by:Mysidia
Mysidia earned 250 total points
ID: 39808236
re:thinkpads_user
"Microsoft has said very recently they will keep some XP updates going until 2015"

Not operating system updates for the desktop OS.  Antimalware updates,  for security essentials users.  This makes sense,  as some of their competitors will not be dropping antivirus support immediately for XP, either.

However, antivirus updates are not enough.    Most malware and exploit attempts cannot be detected by antivirus software;  detection rates are 50% or less in many cases,  and they certainly in most cases cannot effectively repair damage or defeat malware persistence.    An antivirus  is a useful thing to have,  but it is a last ditch effort.

No replacement for having an up-to-date system, with up-to-date security mitigations.

Windows XP Embedded has its own independent lifecycle, and support to 2016;    XP embedded security patches will not be available to desktop users though,  so the paid extended support for ATM manufacturers is a moot point, as it will not help home users.






You know...  I say  Windows 8.1 should be usable to all  Windows XP users....  AFTER you install Clasic Shell (or  Stardock Start8 and ModernMix),  and configure it to present a Windows XP or Windows 7 style start menu, as long as your existing software works....


I recommend tossing XP as soon as possible,  but you know...  I have users that need to operate some large scale network hardware that can only be managed using Internet Explorer 6, and require Java Version 5;  later browsers don't work, even in compatibility mode.     We are talking multi-million dollar high-end network infrastructure distributed geographically, that has an expected lifetime of  perhaps 15 years or longer,   but updates are bugfixes only, no enhancements, so management tools will remain dependant on the same runtime for the years to come.

If you have an excuse like that, then you may need to keep XP around,  but otherwise: you should get rid of it, sooner, rather than later.
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Expert Comment

by:Kwoof
ID: 39808250
You will need to move on...at least to Win 7.  Not only will Microsoft end support....but computer parts will end support...printers, chipsets, other accessories.

Just move to 8.1 as soon as any of your software limitations let you...then you can stay there for a long time.
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by:BillDL
BillDL earned 125 total points
ID: 39808303
Hi pcwizz1

I normally consider the following kind of suggestion flippant and ignorant of the question as asked, however I thought I would just throw it in just in case it is something that you might consider as a viable alternative.

Linux.

I am seriously considering this myself, although I do have a Windows 7 laptop and an unused Win7 Pro CD and licence for another Desktop.

You can download the *.ISO files for a variety of different Linux "Live CDs" and use CD/DVD Burning software to burn a bootable disc that boots into and runs Linux directly from the disc and memory without interacting in any way with your Windows XP operating system on the hard drive.  My suggestion would be Linux Mint because of its ease of use.

As long as you just boot to the CD and don't use the Install option, then it's a great way to test out this version that has apparently overtaken Ubuntu Linux in popularity of downloads.  They usually load with LibreOffice or OpenOffice available, and often Mozilla Firefox is the default browser.  LibreOffice and OpenOffice are applications which are very compatible with just about all versions of Microsoft Office documents, and in general are fairly similar to use.

http://www.linuxmint.com/index.php
http://www.linuxmint.com/download.php
https://www.osdisc.com/products/linux/linuxmint?affiliate=linuxmint ($6 per DVD)

It obviously wouldn't be the same as using Windows, and of course there is the issue of fixing it if problems developed, but the Linux support boards are very well frequented for advice.  I have found Linux Mint to be very usable.  The only downside is that the large manufacturers of sound and graphics cards don't usually create Linux drivers for their hardware.  This would be a problem on a very new computer, or one with fancy cards, but there is a lot of hardware support built into the popular Linux distros to support a lot of common hardware.

Of course, you can install Linux to the same (or second) hard drive of an existing XP computer and have the ability at startup to boot into either, but for testing purposes a Live CD would give you an immediate impression if you could adapt to it instead of buying another version of Windows.

This was just a thought (NOT FOR POINTS), and as I said is one that I am considering.  There have been some excellent suggestions from the other experts that directly address your dilemma.

Bill
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by:garycase
ID: 39808513
A bit of counter-point ....

Extinct is an interesting word.    Dinosaurs are extinct -- XP will soon be obsolete, but certainly NOT extinct :-)

As for continuing to use it ... of course you can.    SUPPORT for it is ending ... so if you buy new hardware it's likely you won't be able to install XP on it due to driver issues.

But on current hardware that's running XP ... or in a virtual machine that's running on newer hardware ... you can continue to use it as long as you want.

There ARE issues to consider ...

(1) First (and foremost), all support for it ends.    That means if somebody discovers yet-another security "hole" in it, Microsoft won't be patching it.    More troubling is the question r.e. antivirus updates -- I'd expect they'll continue to be available for a fairly long time; but at some point those will end as well.    So you DO have to be prepared for what to do if your system gets "bit" by a virus or malware infection.

(2)  To protect against the danger noted in #1, all you need to do is IMAGE your XP install the first week of April in a fully up-to-date, virus-free image.    Then if you ever get a nasty infection, you simply restore that image.

(3)  Restoring an image as noted in #2 will, of course, overwrite any data that's changed or been added since the image was made.    So be sure your BACKUPS are always current.    Then if you need to revert to an image, you'd simply need to restore the image; then run your backup utility in "restore" mode (i.e. in reverse) ... and everything will be just fine.

(4)  Eventually, there will likely be some program that you want to run that doesn't run in XP;  or perhaps a new browser version that won't work in XP but is required for some newer website features.   But as long as this doesn't happen, your XP system will run quite happily for years-to-come.    Similarly, you may want to get a new printer that doesn't have XP drivers, or some other hardware with the same issue (e.g. a new scanner).    These are the kind of upgrades that may really force you to a newer OS.

(5)  Another potential issue is a hardware failure that you can't get a replacement for.  But it's likely to be many years before that's likely for most hardware.    If you want to protect against even that possibility, then install a copy in a virtual machine (I like the free VMware Player for this) and get it up-to-date in April before the EOL date.   Then simply copy the virtual hard drive someplace as a backup (this is the equivalent of an image) ... and you can use that virtual machine on any system that can run VMware Player.    This will let you run it for years to come on new hardware -- hosted by new versions of Windows or Linux with no problem.

I know quite a few folks who stay with XP because they like Outlook Express; have old programs they want to keep running; or are simply very happy with the GUI and don't want to change.    Most of them have no intentions of changing just because Microsoft declares EOL.   I suspect there will still be MANY XP systems still running at least through the end of this decade :-)
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John Hurst earned 125 total points
ID: 39808569
Not operating system updates for the desktop OS.  Antimalware updates,  for security essentials users

I am not for a minute suggesting we stick with XP.

I gave up slow, 32-bit, memory-limited processing 6 years ago.

If people need time for their box to die of old age, they have that time. Move on when a new computer is needed.

.... Thinkpads_User
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by:BillDL
ID: 39810969
Thank you pcwizz1
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