Which browser works with XP

trevor1940 used Ask the Experts™
I'm visiting someone  tomorrow who is Running XP
I'm told they can't connect to the internet because IE crashes

I don't know if they store any accounts info in IE if so how might I back up this up prior to doing a reset and restore afterwards?

Assuming a reset fails where do I download Firefox and Chrome versions that work with XP?
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I think it's time to ditch XP. It is an unsupported product. BUT...

First, follow instructions below from Microsoft Community:


Second, I believe Chrome ended support for Chrome on XP. It will still install and run, you just won't get any updates.

Chrome Download link:


I don't use Firefox, but from what I hear, it still works.

Firefox Download link:

Tyler BrooksNetwork & Systems Administrator

You can also download older versions of Opera here. It's not my favourite browser to use but I've had to fall back on it a number of times when the Chrome and Firefox aren't cooperating with older hardware. I believe even the current version still supports XP with security updates as well which I don't believe is true of any of the other major browsers.

Windows XP with Service Pack 2 is the minimum Windows version that meets the Firefox System Requirements.

Opera 36 is the last supported version for Windows XP. According to the Opera May 4, 2016 release notes, As of Opera 37, the minimal system requirement for Windows users is Windows 7. Windows XP and Vista will no longer receive feature updates, only security and stability updates.
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Most Valuable Expert 2015

The current FF works fine in XP-Mode. Use the PortableApp version:


You can use it directly from a USB stick so you don't have to install anything at the customer's site.

But I also strongly advise against keeping on using XP. Upgrade the PC to a supported OS.
Most Valuable Expert 2013
Top Expert 2009
Since you can't install anything later than IE v8, IE is not a good choice for XP => a LOT of web sites won't work with this older version.

But Firefox works just fine -- it makes an old XP box just fine.

If your friend wants to continue to use XP, it actually works reasonably well with a couple of minor tweaks ...

(a)  Uninstall the "End of Support" update (if it's installed) => and set it to never show again (or, for that matter, just turn off automatic updating altogether).    This will eliminate the "nag" and will also let Microsoft Security Essentials work fine on XP with one exception (noted below).

(b)  Install Firefox as the browser.

(c)  Install Microsoft Security Essentials -- or any other antivirus of your choice that works with XP.   If you use Security Essentials, there's one BIG caveat ... it works fine; but won't properly update the definitions.   But there's a very simple work-a-round for this:  

     ->  Put this shortcut on the desktop:  https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/971606  [Call it "Get Virus Definitions"]
     =>  Now to update the MSE definitions at any time, just double-click the shortcut; then click on the link to "Download the file for a 32-bit version of Windows" => and when the download has completed, just double-click the file you just downloaded.   Wait until the cursor returns to normal; and your definitions are now up-to-date.
Dr. KlahnPrincipal Software Engineer
IE 8 is the last release of IE that is supported under XP.  By the time the necessary security options are set, I find it to be useless on about half of sites -- and half of the remaining sites whine about IE 8 being obsolete.

I'm running Firefox 36.0.4 on this XP system.  It's an improvement over previous versions but it crashes about twice a week.  I would note that Firefox after version 29 is not for systems short on memory.  When Firefox opens, it starts at around 250 MB and I've seen it go up to 400 MB.  Since DDR and DDR2 memory is now dirt cheap this is no longer much of an issue; filling a system to 3 GB costs less than $50.  (There is no gain by putting more than 3 GB into a 32-bit system; the 3 GB to 4 GB range is used by video cards.)
Gary CaseRetired
Most Valuable Expert 2013
Top Expert 2009
No reason to restrict the system to an older version of Firefox ... the latest (50.1.0) runs just fine => and I've not seen any crashes with it.   I agree you do want a reasonable amount of memory on the system.
Scott SilvaNetwork Administrator

Most IE failures to browse anywhere I have run across are usually damaged TCP/IP stacks from spyware or malware that has either failed, stopped working, or was improperly removed...

I have to agree on trying to get the user to move off XP if they plan on going on the internet.
There are way more holes in XP left than just the browser, and they will get infected...
Top Expert 2013

i Always start by updating XP to SP3 at least
>>> "There are way more holes in XP left than just the browser, and they will get infected" <<<

My opinion is that there was and is too much scaremongering.  Windows XP used as a home PC can be made a lot safer by disabling loads of non-essential services (Black Viper Page archived) and functions like remote assistance using the standard methods like services.msc and system properties.  Many of the weaknesses stem from application settings (for example Windows Media Player, Adobe Acrobat Reader, Internet Explorer 8, etc).  I am still using XP SP3 with Firefox v. 50.1, as are a great many other people, but all I hear of at the moment is viruses affecting Windows 7 and 10 computers.  If the holes were patched up so well in XP's successors, why are 7 and 10 still so vulnerable?

I don't want to engage in an argument.  The question was rhetorical and the paragraph above is my own personal opinion.

There are loads of issues though.  If you are still using Outlook Express for POP3 email, Gmail (and probably other mail services) will tell you that you are using an insecure application and you have to specifically go to webmail and "allow insecure client" in your settings.

Firefox blocks a few plugins like Silverlight, Adobe Shockwave, and Acrobat PDF plugin for Firefox and Netscape because it deems them to be insecure.  My advice would always be to download and then open PDF files in a separate instance of Acrobat Reader anyway, and Shockwave (like Java) is only essential to a small minority of people who probably have more modern PCs anyway.  Silverlight is mostly found on Microsoft sites to display their videos, and I have never had the need to have it enabled.

Some web developers take it on themselves to detect your operating system and block you from viewing their site.  In general it's hardly worth visiting their pages anyway.

>>> "I don't know if they store any accounts info in IE if so how might I back up this up prior to doing a reset and restore afterwards?" <<<

If you can get Internet Explorer open to a blank page at least, use the File menu > Import and Export > Export To A File > Select Favorites/Feeds/Cookies > Select top level Favorites folder > Save to bookmark.htm, feeds.opml, and cookies.txt.  Default is to user's My Documents folder, but you can change this to a USB Flash Drive for backups.  Firefox can import Favorites from bookmark.htm - Bookmarks menu > Show All Bookmarks > Import and Backup > Import Bookmarks from HTM.

A BETTER Way of importing Internet Explorer settings to Firefox is to install it on the XP computer.  When first run it should prompt to import the Internet Explorer settings.  If not:
Bookmarks menu > Show All Bookmarks > Import and Backup > Import Data From Another Browser > follow the prompts.

Unfortunately Microsoft is killing off support for Windows Live Mail very soon.  They are not replacing it or updating it:

"Windows Essentials 2012 suite will reach end of support on January 10, 2017"

Installing Windows Live Mail on an XP computer and importing Outlook Express email messages and contacts from the Outlook Express mail Store folder's *.DBX files and the contacts from the Windows Address Book is the easiest way to then migrate messages and contacts to Windows Live Mail on a Windows 7 or 10 computer.  It can still be done by copying all the DBX files and the "<username>.WAB" file to a USB Flash Drive, but the DBX files can be large.  This would still be an essential backup if reinstalling Windows XP, because a reinstallation creates a new Outlook Express profile and you would have to import the messages into the new profile.

If you need any other help regarding backups, just ask.
Gary CaseRetired
Most Valuable Expert 2013
Top Expert 2009
Agree with Bill => XP works just fine with Firefox v50.1 and is likely every bit as secure as '7 if a few precautions are taken, as he outlined.   While I don't use it as my main machine, I DO have an XP box set up to run diagnostics on disk drives and a few other misc. tasks => and when working on that use Firefox extensively.    The system works VERY well -- in fact it boots appreciably faster than my '7 or '10 systems.    I agree there's been a lot of "scaremongering" that has likely resulted in a lot of unnecessary purchases of newer systems to replace XP boxes that were likely doing everything the user really wanted to do just fine.
I'm glad someone agrees with my thinking.  There is one particular expert with loads of points whose canned answer to anything involving "legacy" operating systems is "upgrade to Windows 10", which would invariably mean buying a new computer.

I did mention in my previous comment that there "are loads of issues".  One I have just encountered is with RealVNC.  I just received an email prompting me to upgrade to the latest incarnation of their remote connection software.  I have paid for two "personal" licences for a long time to remotely connect with and support a family member with Windows XP now Windows 7, and a friend on another continent with XP and now also 10.  I have always been able to upgrade, but the latest version has been updated so that anything prior to XP is assumed to be a legacy OS and will be unsupported.  It's no real issue to me as the last of the "old versions" will still work for what I need, but it could be to some.

I am quite sure that within the next year or so support for utility programs like Ccleaner and popular ones by Nir Sofer on XP will cease and Windows 7 will be the oldest that they support.  Adobe are likely to stop any updates for Flash Player and Acrobat Reader on XP, and many more similar instances will be notified.  In principle, if the last supported version of a program for XP works fine, then updates won't really be too important to an operating system that most residual users eventually (albeit reluctantly) abandon once they see what is set to succeed Windows 10.  For me I have a feeling it will be my existing Windows 7 computers and a friendly version of Linux.


Hi All Just to update you

I was able to get IE to load by resetting it that was just the start of the problem

The PC needed a new CMOS battery which I didn't have with me

He has a belkin USB wifi adaptor this is recognized by the PC but isn't stable enough to connect to the router, I tried it in a number of USB ports always the same PC "finds" the Adaptor but drop's it before can connect to the router

Some one has got him a wifi booster which is a total waste of money IMHO The router signal is strong enough (I had strong signal and could connect on my phone)

I left after around 90 minuets unable to get the PC to connect to the router and smelling like an ash tray

I had similar problems years ago with my Dads PC and solved it by hard wiring with a long CAT5 network cable I could not do that safely here without drilling holes through walls

XP is still a good OS stick some more memory in and for most people it will function well enough

However In this case, as a blind user, he  would benefit from a newer model with the advances in both software and hardware
Gary CaseRetired
Most Valuable Expert 2013
Top Expert 2009

A CMOS battery is a trivial issue (as I'm sure you know -- ~ $2);  and a poor WiFi signal isn't an XP issue.   I agree extenders are a waste of $$ => if you don't want to replace the adapter with a better one (which may also require a newer/better router); an easy fix to that is a powerline adapter [e.g. https://www.amazon.com/Netgear-XAVB5201-Powerline-500Mbps-Homeplug/dp/B00L5TDPWU/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1482001172&sr=8-7&keywords=powerline+network+adaptor&refinements=p_89%3ANETGEAR ]

Sounds like you didn't install Firefox => this is the solution to internet browsing.   Nothing you can do will make IE8 a good choice ... there are simply too many sites that won't work with it.

A nice new computer isn't a "bad" choice -- but you'll still have the connection issue to resolve.


Thanx for your help
Thank you Trevor

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