Windows XP End of Life Implications

If you are still using Windows XP, here are some important tips for use after the end of life on April 8, 2014.  You may need to upgrade or replace the computer if you need to continue it’s use.  If you do not need the computer, it should be turned off, disconnected and retired.

  1. Antivirus and security software.
    1. The most important method of protecting your computer these days is to unstall Antivirus software andd keep it up to date.  Originally Microsoft planned to discontinue updates to it’s software on Windows XP but recently announced updates through July 14, 2015.  Given our experience with customers PCs getting viruses with MSSE installed, we don’t think this is the best solution even before Windows XP EOL.
    2. TranSoft Labs can provide a managed antivirus solution for Windows XP.  The advantage of this managed solution is that it does not have to tell you when it has a problem or detects a virus.  The management console will tell us if it does not report that it is running and up to date.
    3. Other vendors gennerally will support Windows XP for the next couple of years.
  2. Security Patches
    1. The second most important method of protecting your computer is security patches.  Since Microsoft will discontinue releasing patches for Windows XP, this will not be an option for Windows XP or it’s integrated applications like Internet Explorer and Outlook Express.  We will discuss those below.
    2. Since patches will be released for newer Windows operating systems, it will be even easier for malware writers to reverse engineer those patches to find vulnerabilities in Windows XP.  Only time will tell but this probably means that soon after April, viruses that target Windows XP, may find there way in even with a local up to date antivirus program operating normally.
    3. Of course third party applications should be kept as up to date as possible.
  3. Internet Browser.
    1. You will need to dump Internet Explorer.  Since it will no longer be supported and is the primary access to the internet, you will need to replace it with a browser that is supported.
    2. Firefox is our recomended replacement as it has more of the classic interface that most user can adjust to easily.
    3. Googe Chrome is another alternative but it must also be kept up to date.  It’s user interface is diferent enough that it may require some getting use to.
  4. Email Client.
    1. Outlook Express should no longer be used.  Either use an alternative like Thunderbird or set up an online web service for email.  We recomend as it is the only widely used online free email that says it won’t read your email.
  5. Other web applications.
    1. Other applications that access the web should be evaluated carefully.  They need to be supported and updated as needed.
  6. Conclusion
    1. After April 2014, using Windows XP is risky.  Windows XP is all ready 6 times for likely to get a virus than Windows 8.  That will get worse.
    2. We recomend that you take steps to replace all Windows XP operating systems with Windows 7 or 8 before the end of April.