XP – If you are still using what you should be doing.

So you are still using XP?

I would seriously recommend you take 10 minutes, sit down, have a coffee and consider why you are doing this. Right a business case for continuing to use against upgrading. Now read the rest of this blog and do the same.

Regarding the risks in not upgrading or replacing, I can appreciate there is a train of thought that says I have been using this for 10 years, why should I change. I also understand there is a financial reason, as upgrading or replacing could be £3-500.

But consider these facts:

1) Microsoft released XP in 2002 and is therefore now 13 years old. It has been patched hundreds of times and is no longer being repaired.

2) Microsoft Windows 7 and 8 are a similar operating system to XP and daily bugs and issues are found and repaired. These repairs are not being made to XP so anyone able to understand the bugs in Win 7 & 8 are able to take advantage of exploits in XP.

3) New versions of programs are not being made as XP compatible. So you may find that upgrading to Sage, QuickBooks or many other programs you depend upon will not work. You will therefore be forced to upgrade to Windows 7 or 8 at the same time as you upgrade the software which will add to the cost and timescale.

4) The same with new hardware, many new devices are no longer being supplied with XP drivers. When or if you printer goes wrong you may find you cannot buy a replacement and will be forced in to upgrading your PC at the same time.

5) Programs based around XP, such as Outlook Express, Internet Explorer 7 & 8, Office 2003 etc are also not supported any longer and again exploits in these programs are no longer being repaired. Does your business depend on these?

OK, if my argument for upgrading is insufficient or you have a critical piece of software or hardware which will not work on XP? Please read on…

Following are the recommendations we are giving to all users of XP:

1 ) Use passwords for all login’s and programs where passwords are available; change regularly, ie weekly.

2 ) Ensure all email and local data is backed up and held securely.

3 ) Reduce access of shared data to only those authorised for access. Archive data not requiring access.

4 ) Change all user accounts from Administrator to a limited one. That includes managers who may like the option to manage changes quickly. Admin access would allow unwanted programs to install.

5 ) Do Not use (disable) Internet Explorer 8 or lower – Use Chrome or Firefox and remove all unwanted plugins. NB some banks may require Internet 10 or higher so you may be stuck.

6 ) Clear Search history, cache and saved settings such as passwords from browsers regularly or on exit.

7 ) Do Not use Outlook Express 6 – Instead use an alternative such as Mozilla Thunderbird. Outlook 2000 or 2003 is no better, Outlook 2007(SP3) or Outlook 2010 will work with XP, 2013 will not.

8 ) Install Malwarebytes Professional – to prevent unwanted exposure to spyware
http://www.pcsouthwest.co.uk/products/anti-malware . This is around £20 for 3 machines for 1 year, ensure it is setup to scan regularly.

9) Install a good antivirus program such as Avast, configured to  scan regularly http://www.pcsouthwest.co.uk/products/anti-virus this is around £25 per PC per year, ensure it is setup to scan regularly

10 ) Ensure the highest levels of Spam control are set at the domain.

11 ) Use anti-spam software such as Spamfighter – http://www.spamfighter.com/

And lastly watch the news for exploits in XP and any warning which may tip you off to upcoming issues.

If you are concerned and would like to discuss your XP use please email at support@pcsouthwest.co.uk or call on 01392 361999

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