how long can i keep running my copy of Windows

Keeping Your Windows XP PC Secure

In April of 2014, Microsoft ceased all support for the Windows XP operating system.  However, according to our market research, that hasn’t made all users convert to a newer operating system.  The chart below is rendered dynamically so it is always up to date.

Loyalty to Windows XP continues despite EOL

As you can see, roughly 5% of PC users are still using Windows XP, despite not having Microsoft support for over two years.  The biggest risk this presents is the lack of security patches.  Security patches are offered by Microsoft, which fix security vulnerabilities.  Unfortunately, with these security gaps left exposed, the hackers have an open door to infiltrate your PC.

Staying Secure – Or Trying…

Continuing to use your PC with the XP operating system can be risky.  Which is why we wanted to offer a few tips to keep your device as secure as possible.

  1. Be sure you are using a security solution that offers application whitelisting technology.  This will not patch the security holes, but if malware is attempting to execute on your system, a solid security platform will help to prevent an infection.  PC Matic offers application whitelisting technology, and is compatible with Windows XP.
  2. Remove all programs that are known for security holes on their own.  A few of these programs include Adobe Flash, Adobe Reader and Java.  If you use these programs regularly, it is best practice to be sure they are updated to avoid any security holes that may need to be patched.
  3. Since your operating system cannot be updated, it is important to mitigate the risks of other security holes.  Be sure all applications that you are using are up to date.
  4. Back up your data.  Realistically, you are at a higher risk of a malware infection due to the security holes within your operating system.  If you are attacked, it will be much easier to recover if you have your information backed up.
  5. Using XP offline will also significantly decrease the risk of malware exposure.  You could also use XP on a virtual machine, which if infected would then impact only the virtual machine.

Overall, it is important for XP users to understand the risks of using an operating system that is not only outdated, but not able to have security patches.  The above steps will help mitigate the risk of a malware infection; however, in no way replace the security found on an operating system that has security patches available.  If you choose to continue the use of XP, please proceed with caution.

Stay safe out there!

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