The death clock is nearly at 0:00:00.
On Tuesday April 8th, Microsoft will end support for Windows XP, the second largest operating system still running in the PC market. 27% of all Desktop computers running today still run XP (according to NetMarketShare). Since it became available for sale in 2001, XP has seen its support deadline extended from 5 years to 10 (bringing regular consumers up to the commercial level of support), then from 10 to 12 (in part due to Microsoft still selling XP on Netbooks as an alternative to Linux as late as 2010).
To some of you this is old news. To others Microsoft’s March 8th warning on your desktop may have been a wakeup call. Or if you’re not the automatic updates type, you may be hearing it for the first time from me.
Never fear. Ben Trube Writer has you covered.
All next week I’ll be covering XPs demise, from what you should do on the last days of support, to how to make 8.1 work for you. A not-exhaustive list follows:
- I have Vista, should I be worried?
- Can I upgrade from XP to Windows 7?
- What’s this Linux thing I hear so much about?
- Argg Windows 8!
- Is the XPocalypse really that bad?
- What is Zero Day Forever?
- Why is Microsoft doing this to me?
- Will my XP machine be safe to use?
Things you should do before next week (See I have your weekend all planned out for you. Isn’t that nice of me 🙂 ):
- Download every Windows Update you’ve missed. Go to windowsupdate.microsoft.com (using Internet Exploder). Click custom instead of express and check most if not all of the optional updates (as well as the high priority ones). Repeat a few times until no updates are left.
- DO install Microsoft Security Essentials if you haven’t already, or at least download the current installer.
- DONT download Windows Live Services or the Bing Bar. You won’t be using them anyway.
- Buy an external hard drive if you have big video files or oodles of pictures. A 32GB flash drive if not. A hard drive will run you $50-60, a 32GB flash less than $20.
- Backup your files.
- Download Zorin 6.4 Core LTS from here and/or Zorin-Lite 7.1 Lite from here. Burn the image to a disk. If you don’t have a CD/DVD drive download this too. Maybe go ahead and buy that flash either way.
- Figure out how your XP machine is connected to Internet, and how to disconnect it.
- Put a strong password (alphanumeric, upper and lower case, and special characters (!@#$*)) for your administrator account. If you don’t know which one this is, it’s probably the account you’re using.
- Create a limited account and also password protect it. If you keep using XP, this is the one you’ll want to use most of the time. (Both these things can be done from the control panel–>user accounts)
- Shop for a new laptop if this is within your price range or budget. Don’t buy anything that says Chromebook, or Windows 7 Starter. Windows RT (on the Surface) is probably also a deal breaker. I like ASUS and Toshiba brands if that helps.
- For advanced users: Create a virtual XP machine with VMWare of VirtualBox.
- Enjoy this comic from here. (It’s a bit of an ad but funny).
- Go outside (assuming it’s not raining).
- Take your XP netbook out for one more spin around the block. Then turn off its wireless.
Have a great weekend!
Disclaimer: Any advice or tips given here will not be valid for all users in all circumstances. Do what makes sense to you and don’t do what doesn’t make sense. These posts are for educational, informative purposes only. Show these posts to your computer friends and have them tell you if I’m right on the money or out to lunch. In any case, please realize that anything you do to your computer is your responsibility. If you have a specific problem and need help, shoot me a comment, but if your computer bricks you were warned.