Old PCs and Windows XP Home

As XP operating system is no longer maintained or monthly updates sent out, is it safe to continue to use without having to upgrade to Windows 7 or 8?

Also the free Microsoft anti virus package is also no longer maintained or updated regularly. Which is the best free anti virus software that does not take up too many overheads in respect to memory etc?

I also use a free version of Malwarebytes, I find this quite useful, although it is limited. Is it with upgrading to the he full version of Malwarebytes at around $29-00 US Dollars per year licence? Is there a problem with Malwarebytes software might clash with any anti virus package? I have never had any problems on my PC's.
 
As XP operating system is no longer maintained or monthly updates sent out, is it safe to continue to use without having to upgrade to Windows 7 or 8?

Also the free Microsoft anti virus package is also no longer maintained or updated regularly. Which is the best free anti virus software that does not take up too many overheads in respect to memory etc?

I also use a free version of Malwarebytes, I find this quite useful, although it is limited. Is it with upgrading to the he full version of Malwarebytes at around $29-00 US Dollars per year licence? Is there a problem with Malwarebytes software might clash with any anti virus package? I have never had any problems on my PC's.
PC security is like securing a house. Updates close the open doors and windows and fix the broken locks while anti-virus is the alarm system that may or may not detect someone getting into the house. Leaving the windows (no pun intended) open and counting strictly on the alarm system while you're away is asking for trouble.

I'm not sure what sort of shape your PC is in and how old it is, so I can't offer advice on whether you would have problems updating it. Since it has XP, I'm assuming it's pretty old.

Make sure that you don't use the MS IE web browser, as the version you have isn't being maintained anymore and the newer versions won't run on XP. Use Firefox or Chrome instead. Your web browser is the first port of call for viruses, so it's pretty important to not take chances with that.

Make sure that you have backups of all your important files. The latest wheeze being used by virus writers is to encrypt all your files and then demand money for the key to unlock them again. When I say "backups", I don't mean to just by one of those backup thingies that automatically backup changes. All that will do is backup the encrypted files and you'll be in the same boat. You either need a backup system that keeps multiple versions, or else you decide what's important when you get it and backup that file manually. If you're just using your PC for ARRSE and random browsing, you may not have many files that really matter (unless your porn collection is irreplaceable). Occasionally burning a CD or DVD with your important files on it may be enough, provided that you don't throw out the old CD or DVD. You'll have to decide how much data you have that really matters to you.

Finally, think really hard about whether you ought to be doing on-line banking or shopping if you are using a PC that you aren't sure you can trust. If you have to do occasional on-line shopping you might think about using a pre-paid credit card so that you can limit the risk to no more than what's on the card.

I'm more familiar with Linux than I am with Windows, so I can't give you much advice on anti-virus software.
 

Lupercal

Clanker
As well as following terminals advice to back up properly, I would definitely upgrade to windows 7 at least, and as terminal says, download either chrome or firefox as your browser. MS IE isn't the most secure way of browsing the interwebs, although it is getting better. As for free anti virus, there are plenty out there, I use Avast home http://www.avast.com/en-gb/index. I have several devices including my phone all linked to the same account, plus it has a sexy voice telling you when its updated. I call her Susan. I should probably go outside more....
 
Whilst reminding all (including me) that Uncle V's question isn't fully closed out yet and that terminal gives some good-sounding advice, I'd like to remark that I'm in the same boat with my desktop. I don't do internet banking or anything that would cause me to lose money if stuff were to get hijacked but I do have several years of ntlworld e-mails that I wouldn't like to lose.

Is there a way that the e-mails can be saved in a manner that they can still be read, even if the new host pc isn't hard-wired to a VirginMedia connection?
 

Lupercal

Clanker
I would probably save them as document files and either back them up onto a separate harddrive or open a cloud account such as Dropbox and save them there. Possibly even both.
 

Lupercal

Clanker
Fair point... depends on the age of the machine, the processor speed and the amount of RAM available in the old rig, although a reasonable PC (laptop or desktop) running win7 or win8 doesn't cost that much these days, and with warranties and what not, you might be better off buying new or refurbed.
 
I do have several years of ntlworld e-mails that I wouldn't like to lose.

Is there a way that the e-mails can be saved in a manner that they can still be read, even if the new host pc isn't hard-wired to a VirginMedia connection?
I don't know how ntlworld do their e-mail. If it's web mail, then it will depend on whether they give you an option to save or export your e-mail to your PC.

If it's traditional POP/SMTP mail where you use a special e-mail program to download your e-mails to your PC and read them, then you need to find where the e-mails are being saved on your hard drive and back up those files. The mail normally gets deleted from your ISP after you have downloaded it.

There's also something called IMAP, but I've never seen that used for home personal email. It's something more commonly used in business and set up by someone who knows what they're doing.

You know if you're using the first option (web mail) because you use a web browser to read it. If you're using the second option (POP/SMTP), you will be using something like Thunderbird.

For POP/SMTP mail, the file format depends on what e-mail program (referred to as an "e-mail client") you are using. If it's anything from Microsoft, then they will use a proprietary file format that doesn't work with anyone else (as is usual for most of their stuff). If it's anything else, there are industry standards and if you switch to a using a new e-mail client you can usually read the files directly (if its the same format) or import the files (if it's a different format).
 
Avast is a great anti virus and it's free. My kids use it (both uni graduates) and I have used it for a few years now. If you look at it, it will probably show you the business version which you have to pay for so make sure you get the home version which as I say is free.
 

philc

LE
All good advice above, however dont get windows 8, about the most dire Windows OS ever.
 
Yes you can continue to use XP and it should be safe, there was an article on it in PC Format a couple of months back which had various tips and the like on how to secure XP in the face of no more updates, it also had a list of various antivirus providers who would continue to support XP for a while.

Sadly it doesn't seem to be available online.
 
I have two PC, a newer laptop bought around 4 years ago, with all my important files, this runs under 'Windows 7' with MacAfee antivirus software, 'Malwarebytes' and IOBIts stuff.

My Old computer running under Window XP Home is just used occasionally, is around 12 years old, bought in 2000 - I never use IE8 for web banking as I was advised that it was "full of holes", I have always used Chrome as I was advised that this is one of the most secure and reliable web-browers. So thanks for the advice. I will look into possibly updating XP Home to Window 7. I know some folks who still use Windows 3, or even Windows NT on their home computers with lots of anti-virus stuff etc....!! Not sure if they have any problems with 'spam' and other stuff.
 

Arte_et_Marte

ADC
Moderator
Just because MS isn't supporting XP any more shouldn't make a jot of difference.

It's a good operating system and if it's still working OK why bother changing it?

Vista is pants, Windows 7 is pretty good, Windows 8 is primarily designed for touch screen and I don't like it at all.

It's not like you have been in contact with them on a regular basis when they were offering support. (Other than receiving security updates and what-not.)

The vast majority of malicious software writers, I would have thought, would have moved on ages ago to more challenging operating systems.

AVG anti virus 2014 still cover XP based machines, it does the job and it's free.

http://free.avg.com/gb-en/free-antivirus-download
 
Or install Linux on it.
 
All good advice above, however dont get windows 8, about the most dire Windows OS ever.

I agree it's crap. We have a couple of laptops with Windows 8 on them and a couple of Macbooks. I find myself these days exclusively using one of the MacBooks simply because Windows 8 is so crap. Even a Chromebook I take out on site a lot is better and easier to use than a laptop with Windows 8 on it.
 
Just because MS isn't supporting XP any more shouldn't make a jot of difference.

It's a good operating system and if it's still working OK why bother changing it?

Vista is pants, Windows 7 is pretty good, Windows 8 is primarily designed for touch screen and I don't like it at all.

It's not like you have been in contact with them on a regular basis when they were offering support. (Other than receiving security updates and what-not.)

The vast majority of malicious software writers, I would have thought, would have moved on ages ago to more challenging operating systems.

AVG anti virus 2014 still cover XP based machines, it does the job and it's free.

http://free.avg.com/gb-en/free-antivirus-download

The support was the provision of updates, patches and hot fixes. It's the lack of these that may overtime make the system less secure, as Microsoft won't be fixing any future issues found in the OS (unless your the Government, who've forked over a wad of cash so Microsoft will continue to support XP for another year or so).

But, you're right up to date anti-virus etc will mitigate the risk, and if its a home PC it's unlikely Anonymous are going to be trying to steal his holiday snaps.

I agree it's crap. We have a couple of laptops with Windows 8 on them and a couple of Macbooks. I find myself these days exclusively using one of the MacBooks simply because Windows 8 is so crap. Even a Chromebook I take out on site a lot is better and easier to use than a laptop with Windows 8 on it.

Windows 8 is fine, especially with the upgrade to 8.1 which allows you to have the standard(ish) home screen with a start menu.

To the OP - as stated by another poster take a look at some Linux distributions, many will run fine on older machines and unlike in the past they support the majority, if not all, hardware and peripherals like printers etc.

They can be a little difficult to get to grips with, as some distributions require a bit more of a hands on approach to some things i.e. having to use the terminal (command prompt in Windows speak), especially when installing or updating software etc, but many of the main distributions like Ubuntu come pre-installed with software (think of the Apple App Store) which does it all for you.

And the best bit is, the majority if not all of Linux distros are free to download for home use. You can also get live disc(?) versions which allow you to try them out without having to actually install or change anything on your computer.
 
- I never use IE8 for web banking as I was advised that it was "full of holes"
Don't use IE8 at all for anything. The "holes" are what the viruses use to get their foot in the door. Once they're in, they can and they will do pretty much whatever they want to the rest of the system, including taking over Chrome.

My Old computer running under Window XP Home is just used occasionally, is around 12 years old, bought in 2000
Your main problems with upgrading are likely to be lack of RAM and possibly graphics system compatibility (the latter is a complex question that I won't go into unless you're interested). Even very cheap desktops today by the way are miles ahead of your old PC. Piecemeal hardware upgrades of very old PCs are seldom worth the money.

I would recommend either replacing your old PC with a (cheap) new one, or just don't use the old one for anything important (e.g. do your banking with your laptop).
 

minkey

Old-Salt
In my opinion whatever you have you will pick up the occasional virus.
Personally I don't allow the pc to save passwords to anything apart from those that may embarrass me but not cause harm.
I run xp, Linux and windows 8.1. The only one that hasn't picked up a bug is Linux but then I don't use it as much, XP is my choice and 8.1 is pants, I don't know it well enough to dig deep and sort the bugs out

Memory lane moment
Why wont the spectrum read the tape the first time around Arrgh
 

AlienFTM

MIA
Book Reviewer
You could try the search function. @Auld-Yin asked basically this at the start of the year
 

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