Saturday, April 5, 2014

If you really want to keep your Windows XP

These tips are in no particular order. Note that some tips may require also following other tips that might come after or before them.
  • Always log on as a Limited User unless you absolutely must update some software.
    Lack of administrator rights blocked over 90% of the Windows OS* malware in 2013.
  • Keep all your software and applications up to date. Make a list of programs that need regular updates and check for updates at least monthly.
  • Don’t use Internet Explorer; install the latest versions of Opera, Chrome, or Firefox.
  • Install and use the NoScript and Ghostery plugins for Firefox.
  • Uninstall JAVA. At least, disable it in all browsers.
  • Uninstall or restrict use of Adobe products. A recommended alternate PDF reader is Sumatra (I have not used it). Use the built-in readers in Chrome or Firefox instead of a plugin. 
  • If downloading an Office document, preview it in a viewer instead of the full program. Disable any macros.
  • Uninstall Microsoft Security Essentials and use a 3rd party antivirus such as the free options from Avast, AVG and others.
  • Upgrade to Microsoft Office 2007 or newer. Better still, move to a non-Microsoft suite.
  • Upgrade to Internet Explorer 8 (the highest level that works with XP).
  • Don’t access the internet (including email) from your XP computer. Don’t install unknown software downloaded from the internet by other computers.
  • If you must browse the web, restrict the ability of malware to get to you:
    • Ensure you are behind a router – the first-line firewall – and that Windows firewall is active.
    • Configure your email reader to display only text – no pictures or links.
    • Use Firefox with NoScript. Learn the controls in NoScript and don’t casually allow everything.
    • Browse only to sites you are familiar with.
  • If you must use email on XP, restrict the ability of malware to get to you:
    • Use webmail. In particular, gMail online is practically immune to transmitting malware to your system.
    • Use a mail client other than Outlook or Outlook Express.
    • Configure your mail client to display messages as “text only.”
    • Do not open email attachments or follow links until you have independently verified with the sender they are benign. Read our article on evaluating an email.
  • Shut your computer off when not using it.
    You may discover you have very little need for XP. Plus, older computers are less efficient and you’ll save on your energy bill. 
* Logging on as a Limited User will block most malware that attacks flaws in and installs to the Windows operating system. This does not include malware that attacks flaws in individual programs such as JAVA, email, Microsoft Office, or .pdf documents.

Additional References
Some of these references are documents and must be downloaded and viewed in their program. Yes, they're safe for XP.
PC Club of Charlotte’s original presentation,266.0.html and

Security researcher Steve Gibson’s comments: (first page) and

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