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Dos and Don'ts for Home Networks

Goodbye, XP: Microsoft to stop supporting Windows XP on April 8, 2014

Thursday, March 13, 2014
Sean O'Malley  

Windows XP will no longer be supported after April 8, 2014.On April 8, 2014 Microsoft will stop releasing security updates and bug fixes Windows XP. If you still have any computers running XP, you should switch to a supported operating system before then. If you continue to use Windows XP after April 8, you run the risk of your computer becoming infected with malware.

Preferred path: upgrade or replace

Compare your computer's specs with Microsoft's minimum system requirements for installing Windows 7. If your computer meets these minimums, you should upgrade your operating system. If not, consider replacing that computer.

If you are unable to switch, for example because you have a critical application that will only run on XP, please take the following steps:

  1. Disconnect your computer from the Internet
    • If the computer must remain connected to the Internet, make sure it is behind a firewall and that the host firewall is blocking all traffic to that computer.
    • If you have multiple XP computers, consider isolating them on a separate network. That way when they do become infected with malware, they will not affect the rest of your area.
  2. Use your XP computer only for the functions/applications that you absolutely have to. Do NOT use it for email, web browsing, etc.
  3. If you must use a web browser, do NOT use Internet Explorer. Instead, use a browser like Firefox, Chrome, Opera, etc. Keep that browser current and make sure its vendor still supports XP.
  4. Stop using built-in XP applications like Windows Media Player that can open files off the Internet.
  5. Make sure your anti-virus and other security software is still actively maintained and supports XP.
  6. Regularly back up your XP computer(s) and keep at least one copy of your backup offline - for example, on an external drive that is not normally left connected to your XP computer. That way, when your computer becomes infected, you will have a better chance of having an uninfected backup.
    • If you do need to restore from a backup, consider restoring to a new machine. If you restore onto an XP machine, you likely will be infected again in short order.

For advice on how to upgrade to Windows 7 or Windows 8, contact the OIT Service Desk.

Related Links

The End of Windows XP 
System requirements for Windows 7