It’s the final countdown to the Windows XP April 8 deadline, which for those of you that don’t know means that come this date, security support and updates will be officially cut off by Microsoft. I know, it’s not exactly welcome news for the 29% PC users on a global basis that are still running XP, but heck – Redmond’s running a business and they want you to upgrade.
Name-bashing may be all well and good, but what you really need to know is how to keep things safe and secure once the deadline passes. So if you’re still dependent on Windows XP – and there’s a one in three chance this is the case – here’s a look at a few pointers to keep you on the straight and narrow:
Change Web Browsers
The general consensus right now is that if you’re using Internet Explorer 7 or 6 for web browsing, it might be time to think about switching. You can go for the latest version of Internet Explorer or switch sides to Google’s Chrome or Mozilla’s Firefox – in any and all cases this will make sure you still get important security updates post April 8.
Again, it’s probably in your best interest right now to cut ties with Outlook Express and head over to any of the best online email services out there, like Gmail, Yahoo Mail or whatever takes your fancy. When support ends for Outlook 2003 on April 8, you’re in dangerous territory.
If you have Security Essentials for Windows XP, the good news is virus definitions will continue being updated by Microsoft until early next year at least. However, you’re still technically counting down to the end of its days and so now’s really the opportune time to think about switching or upgrading.
Last up, try to avoid the habit of using Administrator accounts as standard whenever you use your computer – set up limited access user accounts instead. And if you do need to use Administrator privileges for anything, do so while offline to prevent unauthorized access to key areas of your computer.