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Upgrading XP machine

Posted on 2014-04-02
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Last Modified: 2014-04-04
I have a few elderly relatives on XP machines. If the screen changes after an upgrade that would frustrate them.  

Can the upgrade to Windows 8 be avoiding by finding an anti-virus program that will protect the machine running on XP?
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Question by:kw66722
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by:Patrick Tallarico
Patrick Tallarico earned 63 total points
ID: 39974032
The real problem with XP will not just be antivirus, but vulnerabilities in the system itself.  If there are new vulnerabilities found as new programs attempt to make upgrades to enhance their features, these programs will inevitably reveal new programming vulnerabilities in the XP software itself.  No updates will be issued to fix this, and no patch will be created.
There are options to configure linux to look and behave very much like XP.  Check out
http://lxp.sourceforge.net/
http://sourceforge.net/projects/lxp/
http://www.zdnet.com/why-linux-mint-is-a-worthwhile-windows-xp-replacement-7000027858/

I have had much success transitioning standard windows users to linux, even without trying to make it look like XP.  Generally, I have found that many of the standard features such as internet browsing and word processing can, in many cases, even be made to be easier to access in linux than XP.

There is always the option to stick with XP, and it looks like Trend Micro is attempting to provide a solution to allow people to be relatively protected, for a price.

If windows is the way you want to go, there is always the ability to upgrade to windows 7 and configure the system to look and function like XP.

My feeling is to go with linux because in the case of older hardware, linux can generally perform much better than windows for most tasks.

I hope this helps.
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by:JurajUQU
JurajUQU earned 63 total points
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Or you can do it the other way - configure windows 8.1 to look exactly like XP. But I think the learning curve and process takes about an hour so you shouldn't really need to. The only difference is a big start menu, everything else is better :)

http://computertutorflorida.com/2013/02/make-windows-8-look-like-windows-7-or-windows-xp/
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by:David Johnson, CD, MVP
ID: 39974093
Make sure they are runnning as a standard user and they keep flash/java/adobe pdf reader up to date this will mitigate most 0-day's.. over 92% of the bugs were mitigated by running as a standard user also 100% of the internet explorer vulnerabilities was mitigated by running as a standard user.
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by:_
_ earned 63 total points
ID: 39974109
A direct answer to your question is, sort of.

I'm still running a W2K Pro system, using an older version of AVIRA Free(v10), which still does updates . XP should be able to handle the latest version (v14?), without a problem, for several more years, at least.

Avira
www.avira.com/

different versions and supported OS's:
http://www.oldapps.com/antivir.php

But as already stated, that still leaves the issue of No More OS Updates, for any exploits that have been held back, waiting for this moment to be unleashed.

Still, if they don't usually visit bad places, and don't click on strange emails, they should be reasonably safe.
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by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 39974114
If your elderly relatives are not on the internet, don't worry about it.

If they ARE on the internet, then you are leaving them at risk.  Windows 8.1 is built on Windows 8.  Which is built on Windows 7. Which is built on Vista.  Which is built on XP.  A bug found in a new operating system could VERY WELL be present in XP.  And XP won't be fixed.  The bad guys KNOW THIS.  If I were a bad guy, I'd be drooling at the prospect of Microsoft releasing patches to now documented bugs in newer systems so that I can quickly and relatively easily figure out how to exploit them in XP and attack your elderly relatives computers.

In short, they need to be upgraded to something newer.
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by:kw66722
ID: 39974192
If I go with the Linux solution will the person we able to run Microsoft word or Excel?
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by:David Johnson, CD, MVP
ID: 39974202
no but they can run the open office equivalents
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by:Lee W, MVP
Lee W, MVP earned 62 total points
ID: 39974240
While Linux has gotten friendlier over the years, if they are averse to change, Linux is not the best way to go.  You can tweak Windows 7 and even Windows 8 to work a LOT like XP.  There will definitely be differences and in the case of 8, you might need some free/cheap third party products, but they will provide the most consistent experience.
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by:garycase
garycase earned 124 total points
ID: 39974242
I know a LOT of elderly folks using XP systems for their e-mail, web browsing, and occasional Word/Excel use who have NO intention of switching to a more modern OS just because Microsoft is ending support.

The reality is that it's no big deal to just stay with XP.

While Microsoft won't be providing additional security patches, there will be antivirus programs that will work fine with XP for years to come.   Even Microsoft is continuing Microsoft Security Essentials updates for at least another full year.

One thing you should definitely do:  Make an IMAGE of the system and save it on an external drive.    Then if anything was to go awry (hard drive failure;  nasty virus; etc.) you can simply restore the image and all is back to normal.    What I actually do for folks I help is a step further -- I split the system into a C: partition (OS and all programs) and a D: partition -- and relocate all of their data to D:  (Docs, Music, Pictures, Favorites, Downloads, e-mail, etc.), and save the image on D:.    Then if something goes wrong, I simply restore the image from D: ... and there is NO impact on any of their data, since it's not on the same partition.
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by:Patrick Tallarico
ID: 39974250
I would also consider if your relatives are doing anything online that has personal information like banking or purchasing things. If any financial information is being entered onto web sites, security should be a priority.
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by:garycase
ID: 39974266
Definitely agree they need to be sure they're using secure browsers.   Note that both Chrome and Firefox will still support XP, whereas Microsoft will no longer support IE on this platform (actually they effectively stopped supporting it some time ago, as no version since v8 runs on XP).

It's simply not as much of an issue as Microsoft would have you believe IF you're an individual.    Companies often have corporate or legal restrictions that require they be using a vendor-supported OS, so they simply don't have any choice about upgrading.
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by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 39974298
> The reality is that it's no big deal to just stay with XP.
I very much disagree.  The "deal" will get bigger and bigger with each passing month.  Even if some antivirus companies continue to work on XP, I doubt most will find it economically reasonable to continue "supporting" their products on XP.  (Installs on does NOT equal support).  And while I concede a few may actually "support" it for a short time longer, they cannot effectively stop every attack on a continuously growing number of exploits XP becomes subject to.  

Bottom line - they cannot use XP for the next 10 years - they'll have to move eventually - so might as well move them to something that will be supported for about 10 more years in Windows 8.
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by:garycase
garycase earned 124 total points
ID: 39974432
Depends on what you're using the system for.

Many folks do nothing except e-mail, internet browsing, and an occasional letter in Word.   The most significant concern with those activities is the evolution of web pages to a point where IE8 can't render them (already an issue with some sites) -- but this is easily mitigated by just using Chrome or Firefox ... both of which have indicated they will continue to support XP "for the foreseeable future".

Clearly using a newer OS is better -- but if XP works well for what you do, there's no reason to move to something new just because of an arbitrary date Microsoft has chosen to "end support."     Antivirus products will be available for years to come -- and as I noted above, a simple Image of a fully up-to-date, clean system, makes it trivial to recover from anything that might corrupt/infect a system (this is a good idea no matter what the OS).
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by:rindi
rindi earned 62 total points
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Excel and word can both run under Linux using "wine" which is a windows emulator. But on those XP PC's your users are probably also using an old version or Word or Excel, for which support has also ended so they will also be subject to unfixed bugs. LibreOffice which is included in most Linux Distro's is a very good replacement for Excel or Word, actually it is better as it stays within international standards which the m$ Office stuff doesn't. The only thing missing in LibreOffice is Outlook, but that you can easily replace with ThunderBird, which is also included in most distro's, and in my point of view is the best mail client available today.
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nobus earned 63 total points
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i just installed a new pc for a customer with Win 7
he simply refused, and i had to wipe it, and install XP...just to show...
i would not care too much for problems; but for best interventions, it is maybe a good move to keep an image of these PC's available; so if problems occur, you can rest it always to a working state
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by:kw66722
ID: 39979483
For now I am going to make an image of the system and install a different virus program.
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by:_
ID: 39979493
Thank you much.   : )
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