Windows XP EoL

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Old 03-08-14, 04:22 PM
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Windows XP EoL

I am sure this will be addressed a kazillion times in the next 30 days, so I thought I'd get started. Wifey has W7, and I just can't get used to it. I have heard too many stories against the use of W8. The way I understand it, XP will have no defenses after 4/8 as far as keeping malware at bay, and hackers will have a heyday with passwords used on banking accounts, etc. Not sure how much of this is true, or if there are real concerns with leaving XP on a machine that will frequent the internet and be used for banking, Ebay, etc.

It's sorta like Chrysler telling all those tech schools who have Vipers for their student work studies they have to crush them. Oh the horror. But I feel the same way with XP. It works. It works so well, many companies and governments still use it. What, in your opinion, will happen at EoL and beyond.

Ray, now's your time to extol the virtues of Linux.
 
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Old 03-08-14, 04:41 PM
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I also would like to know the problems with keeping my XP. I use firefox in place of IE, will that help?
 
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Old 03-08-14, 04:56 PM
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FF will help a little...but its the basic security holes in XP that keep getting fixed. And another problem is that they probably will stop updating Security Essentials for XP. Now, other antivirus and antimalware companies may...who knows? A good Linux package is prob the best idea if you don't like current Windows offerings.

Larry I heard about the Vipers...almost made me cry, I swear.
 
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Old 03-08-14, 05:54 PM
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To tell you the truth Larry no operating system is un-hackable . Anything can be hacked including Apples OS as was announced recently from a statement Apple made not too long ago about security patches being made for the Iphone but not the Mac desktop or laptop. I like Linux for some things but it isn't Windows and never will be unless more drivers are made for it and then you wouldn't notice the difference.

I personally like Windows 7 and support for Windows 7 should be around for a fairly long time. True it does take a little while to get used to it but it still has some of the same feel to it that you remember from Windows XP. That was one of the main reasons I finally jumped the ship from Windows XP to Windows 7. For laptops I mainly like Linux although Windows 7 Home Premium isn't bad either and for a newer laptop I would use Windows. If you use Linux though on any old computer I strongly suggest PCLinuxOs.

I wouldn't say don't buy a Windows 8 computer but I personally don't like those apps and some things to me from what I have read about Windows 8 are harder to find on Windows 8 which is another thing that turns me off to it. But then that is not from personal experience but rather from very negative reviews I have heard about it both from consumers and magazines. So you will hear both the good and the bad about Windows 8.

One thing I didn't mention and now add is that banks too are beginning to change over their ATM machines as they too know how vulnerable Windows XP soon will be. If you do have a Windows XP computer though it should be o.k. to use it for a while after support but I wouldn't use it for anything you have to log in for.
 

Last edited by hedgeclippers; 03-08-14 at 06:07 PM. Reason: Additional information
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Old 03-08-14, 06:01 PM
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They are updating MSE for XP for another year. May 15th 2015 I think is the end of it. And then yes, you will have to go with another solution from another company..

As far as the security updates, despite MS trying to tell you the sky is falling, for regular home users it's really not, as long as you have a hardware firewall (router), good strong Wifi security settings, and an anti-malware solution. After MSE expires then you have issues unless you want to pay for antivirus.

The problem lies in companies who use XP and XP embedded in their business machines, kiosks, POS systems, and even ATMs.. Those will become vulnerable because they are prime pickings for attacks.. No self-respecting hacker is going to bother with some random Joe's computer.
 
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Old 03-08-14, 06:13 PM
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There are many ATMs, in banks, that still use XP so it's not just home users whom are affected. As far as hacking XP goes, most hacks are due to users clicking on attachments or malicious web pages. Cross Site Scripting is one of the things that can make a page malicious. Noscript in Firefox helps although it's nowhere near 100% protection. I was able to blow through my XP box using metasploit, from kali linux, on my local network. It gave me a shell, without a user name & password. That will only work if file & printer sharing is enabled. The command was:
msfcli windows/smb/ms_08_067netapi RHOST=192.168.1.3 PAYLOAD=windows/shell/bind_tcp E

Those are the 3 main vulnerabilities in XP.
 
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Old 03-08-14, 06:27 PM
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Matt I have to agree with you about MSE but disagree with you concerning having to have to pay for anti-virus. I personally think free versions will be around for a little while but the question is exactly how long? No one can say for sure really unless you are working for individual anti-virus companies.

As for the average Joe not being affected probably not right away but later on down the line I do see problems for the individual user. Fire walls too only go so far in protecting you and without good anti-virus helping you you can still have problems. I agree though the sky isn't falling and I even kept Windows 98 going for at least 4 years without support from Microsoft. I wouldn't though do the same thing again but believe waiting 2 years isn't entirely a bad thing either
 
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Old 03-08-14, 08:40 PM
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The way I understand it, quite simply, the "danger" would be when someone finds a hole in Win7 or Win8, they might try to see if it will also work in XP. Once Microsoft quits providing security updates, though they'll patch the holes in their newer operating systems, XP users will be SoL.
 
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Old 03-09-14, 12:34 AM
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Don't assume that the "holes" are in the OS, itself. Holes, in applications, can allow access. If I can't connect to your machine, I might be able to get your machine to connect to mine using a reverse shell. A firewall will usually allow that outbound traffic, especially if port 80 is used. The firewall will think that it's normal web traffic.

One another note, anti virus is like DNA. If the AV company has a "DNA" sample of the virus, it can protect your machine but it can't protect you, from any of the thousands of the new viruses that are released daily, until they have that sample. I prefer to lock my registry & use noscript on firefox.
 
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Old 03-09-14, 11:10 AM
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Win xp eol

I already had a laptop with Win 7 so I ordered a new desktop with Win 7. Now I can use the same swear words for both. I am slowly getting used to Win 7, but it is taking a long time for an old geezer like myself.

Good luck with whatever you decide.

I have Linux on both, also. Talk about confused. I guess more options bring more opportunities. Sorry for the digression. Have a nice day.
 
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Old 03-09-14, 11:23 AM
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I downloaded Linux last night. A little fearful to let it takeover. Gotta build up some courage. Can I keep XP on the machine in case I want to upgrade to W7 (if that is what it is called)

Edit: all the downloads are in .iso format. How does one install Linux or Umbutu?
 

Last edited by chandler; 03-09-14 at 11:57 AM.
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Old 03-09-14, 12:22 PM
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.ISO is a disc image (an exact bit-for-bit copy of a physical disc that can be used to create other exact copies). You use it to create a bootable CD or DVD using an image burner program. IMGBurn is the one I use (just use the "Custom Installation" option and uncheck the two pieces of junkware it tries to install).

Once you have it installed, run the program and select "Burn Disc from Image", select the .iso file wherever you saved it, and then hit the Burn button. Make sure you use a DVD not a CD if the image is more than 700MB.

Once the new disc is burned, shutdown the computer and reboot from it. You may need to hit F12 at the POST screen or go into the BIOS and change the boot order if it won't boot from the CD.
 
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Old 03-09-14, 12:39 PM
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Originally Posted by hedgeclippers View Post

I personally like Windows 7 and support for Windows 7 should be around for a fairly long time. True it does take a little while to get used to it but it still has some of the same feel to it that you remember from Windows XP. That was one of the main reasons I finally jumped the ship from Windows XP to Windows 7. For laptops I mainly like Linux although Windows 7 Home Premium isn't bad either and for a newer laptop I would use Windows. If you use Linux though on any old computer I strongly suggest PCLinuxOs.
7 is expected to (as of now) be EoL'd in 2020.. But then again XP was originally slated to EoL in 2009.. So that remains to be seen.

I wouldn't say don't buy a Windows 8 computer but I personally don't like those apps and some things to me from what I have read about Windows 8 are harder to find on Windows 8 which is another thing that turns me off to it. But then that is not from personal experience but rather from very negative reviews I have heard about it both from consumers and magazines. So you will hear both the good and the bad about Windows 8.
The whole issue with 8 was that 8 is designed for a touchscreen, not a keyboard and mouse. Microsoft FINALLY addressed that to an extent with 8.1, but it has not fixed all of the user issues and has even created others. 8 is still today's Vista. As far as things that run on 8, there are FAR more things that will run on 8 than will run on any flavor of Linux.. That's why I can't change over, because for most of my programs there is no Linux version available - and this is going to hold true for most people.

One thing I didn't mention and now add is that banks too are beginning to change over their ATM machines as they too know how vulnerable Windows XP soon will be. If you do have a Windows XP computer though it should be o.k. to use it for a while after support but I wouldn't use it for anything you have to log in for.
Lots of specialized business equipment (like ATMs) has not been changed over because of the expense. Not only in the base OS cost, but the cost of writing new software and drivers for old hardware to get it to run a 7 or 8 platform. Those industries have also been pivotal in getting the XP lifecycle extended to where it is now (it was originally going to be EoL'd 5 years ago, per the normal lifecycle policy).. So they were kind of counting on another stay of execution this time, but the governor never called. So now everyone's in a mad scramble to get things upgraded.
 
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Old 03-09-14, 12:45 PM
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Originally Posted by hedgeclippers View Post
Matt I have to agree with you about MSE but disagree with you concerning having to have to pay for anti-virus. I personally think free versions will be around for a little while but the question is exactly how long? No one can say for sure really unless you are working for individual anti-virus companies.
The problem with most of the 'free' versions is that they usually lack real-time scanning. They need to be run manually (or automatically using the Task Scheduler), which means they don't scan files as they come in and they don't watch for suspicious activity.

As for the average Joe not being affected probably not right away but later on down the line I do see problems for the individual user. Fire walls too only go so far in protecting you and without good anti-virus helping you you can still have problems. I agree though the sky isn't falling and I even kept Windows 98 going for at least 4 years without support from Microsoft. I wouldn't though do the same thing again but believe waiting 2 years isn't entirely a bad thing either
And again, most of these security holes are exploited by someone who has actively penetrated a network (like the one Pulpo described).. Which is not something the average Joe has to worry too much about because it's not something a hacker will bother with. A hardware firewall with good Wifi security in place will keep intruders out. However if you catch a virus that punches a hole in the firewall with a remote access invitation to the author, that's a whole other story.
 
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Old 03-09-14, 12:58 PM
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Copied Linux from hdd to 16gb thumb drive. Even with boot order changed, it won't load. Tried to burn it to CD, but file is too large (1.13gb).

Edit: you can't "copy" to a thumb drive. Must use a universal downloader. Getting it.
 
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Old 03-09-14, 01:37 PM
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No you can't just 'copy' it. First of all the computer must support booting from a USB drive - which if it's old enough to have XP on it, there's a possibility that it can't.. Second, the ISO file being present on the drive doesn't mean it is bootable - because the computer does not see an actual ISO file as bootable..

In addition to all the files on the original disc, the ISO contains a 'blueprint' as to the locations of where these files are supposed to go, including the Master Boot Record, which is what actually tells the computer that the drive is bootable.. So you need to either make a bootable DVD using the method I told you, or you need to make your thumb drive bootable using a special program like Unetbootin.. (UNetbootin - Homepage and Downloads).. It can make a bootable flash drive for many available Linux distributions or any ISO file you already have.
 
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Old 03-09-14, 01:43 PM
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Got it. Made bootable flash, and it worked. Haven't installed it, but can work off flash until I get comfortable with it. Thanks, Matt.
 
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Old 03-09-14, 01:45 PM
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And I forgot to mention, nearly all Linux distros have what's called a "Live CD" version that will run from a CD or flash drive (albeit a bit slower) without actually installing it. If you just want to try it without committing to wiping your hard drive, that's the best way to do it. Unetbootin has some of these in its Distribution list. Just look for "Live" in the Version dropdown.
 
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Old 03-09-14, 01:58 PM
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From inside of a PCLinuxOS operating system you can also make a bootable flash drive. I know you have already made a copy of Linux but for future reference and making a DVD-R copy I use ISO-Recorder that you can get here ISO Recorder . Matt is right too as you know you don't have to install Linux. Here is the link to the home page that both Ray and I use for Linux So cool ice cubes are jealous » PCLinuxOS . I like it better as it is a rolling distro and yes Matt I agree Linux does have its problems but this distro seems to be better.

Be sure if you make a DVD copy though to use DVD-R and not DVD-RW as copies made onto DVD-RW don't hold up as long although you can use them in an emergency when you don't have anything else.
 
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Old 03-09-14, 02:27 PM
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Lol nobody uses RW's.. RW pretty much amounts to a marketing gimmick from back when the R discs (both CD-R and DVD-R) first came out and were expensive and reuse was quasi-economical for people/businesses that ran daily backups that fit on a single disc - they could do a 7 day rotation without throwing a disc away daily. Now that the price of R's has dropped drastically while the price of RW's has remained basically the same (plus now we have über-cheap high capacity flash drives), they are silly to use.

Considering I buy DVDs in spindles of 100 for $10, and a single DVD-RW costs $1.50, I could screw up a burn 14 times and still come out ahead.. Not to mention most drives take about a half hour to erase an RW before you can even start burning.
 
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Old 03-09-14, 02:37 PM
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I wouldn't say nobody Matt I use them but not entirely for computer use and then as I said only if I run out of DVD-R disks. I still have DVD recorders and use them for that at least until they all die. But no I am not a fan of them and eventually they go bad for videos too but then too I don't want a bunch of recorded disks around that I can't use again. We still have antenna tv so that was the only good solution we could find at the time. Might be better solutions we just haven't looked.
 
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Old 03-09-14, 02:46 PM
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Chandler, I'm glad you haven't tried to install it yet. If you are going to install it on a a machine with windows & have a dual boot, make sure that you partition the drive properly so don't lose windows.
 
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Old 03-09-14, 03:00 PM
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XP will have no defenses
Not exactly.

Point of fact, XP's defenses will not change in the least. What protections it always has had, it still will have. Its exposure only will change if and when the hacker/cracker community finds new vulnerabilities, and writes new malwares to exploit them. This is exactly the same as before the sunsetting, same as it always has been. The chief differences now will be how long it will take the "good guys" to respond to the new threat, and your ol' pal M$ no longer will have your back. Doubtless it will become "more exploited" over time, but it will not in the twinkling of an eye become as insecure as the a Salvation Army collection kettle.

Only "free" support for XP is ending. M$ will continue to update and patch and in general support "special" XP clients, at least until 2020. More than 40% of M$'s biggest customers, their corporate clients, will continue to run XP. 400,000 ATMs run a fork of XP called POSReady 2009. I am confident most if not all of the patches created for these "special" customers in time will make their way onto the Interwebs. But just like your parents warned you when you were a teenager, the key to staying out of trouble will be to stay out of those 'bad' places and be particular about whom you associate with.

You know how movie vampires only can come into your house if you invite them in? That's the way most malwares are. Your habits are as responsible as the OS for becoming infected. It's not like viruses and trojans and worms are endlessly scurrying about the Internet, looking for a window left unlatched or door left ajar. Yes, some do that very thing, but for the better part, you have to seek them out and show them the way back to your PC. There are exceptions, hosts that are targeted, but those primarily are 'big fish', high-profile systems, and political "hot button" web sites. But for the home user, these are not a big risk.

Follow the money.

April 9th is being called "XPocalypse," but I think it will be the biggest nothing in IT since the Y2K scare. Most of the people forecasting TEOTWAWKI for anyone still using XP have a vested financial interest in you buying ...something ...to avert it. M$ certainly wants to "scare" you off of XP, and they are leading the charge by declaring that all support for XP will be ending. And that is simply a bald-faced lie. It bears noting that M$ also sponsors or advertises on a great many of the more prominent IT web sites, so you can hardly count on those sources to offer a balanced assessment of the risk. Have you noticed how few of them are offering "survival advice" for the THREE HUNDRED MILLION (300,000,000) PC users who clearly show no desire to give up XP? Because that's about how many PCs still will be running XP the day after the sunset. Do you think that is an accidental oversight, or maybe just mass amnesia?

And the people in the security software business see XP's sunset as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make a high-pressure sale to 300 million new customers.

There also are rumors that the hacker/cracker community has been ferreting out XP vulnerabilities and hoarding them, rather than exploiting them, and they plan to release the exploits en masse on the 9th of April. But what I know about their community gives me reason to doubt this.

The primary reason hackers/crackers do what they do is for the notoriety it brings. Public notoriety boosts their image among their peers, and status among their peers -- their fellow crackers -- is the coin of the realm. But it is not a monolithic community. There is no overarching governing body to dictate if and when an exploit can be used. The fact that one cracker has identified a vulnerability means another cracker conceivably could do the same. So if "Cracker A" discovers an vulnerability, if he does not exploit it immediately, he risks "Cracker B" finding the same vulnerability and upstaging him. By not exploiting it ASAP, he risks losing his pay-off.

The scale of the notoriety an exploit brings is based on the visibility of the victim, and the technical difficulty of the crack. Granted, 300 million potential victims would make for a high profile, but XP is low-hanging fruit. I do not think it will attract the best and the brightest.

And the biggest reason I tend to doubt this story is the "news" originated with none other than a company selling Internet Security software. Follow the money.

So I have no plans to give up XP. But don't take that as me encouraging you to do the same. I run with scissors, too. Yes, I have material reasons for not abandoning XP, but I also have back-up if I'm wrong. I never do any IT work without a net. I also have PCs running Win7&8, and UNIX/Linux. And I have taken precautions to safeguard all of my valuable documents, on the odd chance that I have misunderestimated the threat. I can't look you in the eye and tell you I would be so bold if I had not first protected myself from the consequences of being dead wrong.

But to hedge my bets, this is what I'm doing with my XP systems:

1. Install antivirus+
2. Reinforce antivirus with anti-malware
3. Reinforce anti-malware with portable antivirus
4. We DO need no stinkin' patches!
5. Install a 3rd-party firewall
6. Update all thine apps
7. Image the disk and back up your PC
8. Abandon Internet Explorer
8.a. Block scripts
9. Archive the resources necessary to do a re-install
9.a. Installation media
9.b. Product key codes
9.c. Service packs
9.d. Microsoft Security Essentials

Because this post already is so long (and I haven't finished writing the rest), I'm going to break it off now and continue with an explanation of those nine points in the following post.
 
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Old 03-09-14, 03:33 PM
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I don't know where you got the idea that hackers & crackers want notoriety. The best of them are unknown & want to stay that way. Both times that Target was compromised are two examples. They took the money & ran. They didn't claim responsibility.

May I add a #10 to your list? Pen Test your network.
 
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Old 03-09-14, 03:40 PM
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Detailed explanation of my Nine Point Plan for XP

Lots of people have their own reasons for staying with XP. They all can't be talked out of it, despite the risks, and I figure it's better they be as best informed as possible rather than shunned for their decision.

1. Install antivirus+
You probably already are running an antivirus. Consider adding a Security Suite or Internet Security app. These double as a "chaperone" for your Internet browsing activities, and, if all goes according to plan, will protect you from going to the bad places and meeting the bad people. But heuristics are fallible, so the software company must have advance knowledge of the threat to provide complete protection. IOW, even these do not make you ten feet tall and bullet-proof.

2. Reinforce antivirus with anti-malware
Periodically, once a week or so, run an anti-malware app. At the moment, MalwareBytes is the gold standard.

3. Reinforce anti-malware with portable antivirus
This should banish any doubts that I am a card-carrying Geek. I have a thumb drive that runs what are called "portable apps." They run from the thumb drive without being installed on the PC. They will run on any Windoze OS. One of those apps is ClamWin antivirus. At least twice a week, I run a definitions update on this portable antivirus. The rest of the time, that thumb drive is safe and sound, disconnected from the PC. Even if I have to find a "clean" PC to update ClamWin from because I got caught short on a portable antivirus definitions update, this still gives me my last best hope to clean a virus off my PC.

4. We DO need no stinkin' patches!
If you don't have SP3 installed, install it. Then manually update your patches. Do this several times, because M$ will not offer certain patches until after certain other patches have been installed. Once you're finished, go to "My Computer" and disable the updates function.

5. Install a 3rd-party firewall
XP's firewall isn't horrible but it is one-way. It might keep evil stuff out but it does nothing to prevent the evil stuff that already has got in reaching out through your firewall to its headquarters. This is important because most malwares are not delivered to your PC fully-formed. They have to contact their hive on the Internet to call down the rest of their pieces parts. And they also need Internet access to propagate, to infect other systems. The 3rd party firewall is a precaution I saw no need for while so long as XP was a fully-supported OS. But in light of the upcoming changes, that no longer is a risk I am willing to run. The most highly touted freeware firewall at the moment is Comodo.

6. Update all thine apps
Update all of your applications, browsers, office applications, photo editing, anything, everything. And keep them updated, because those updates might be addressing security risks. The greatest risk to an XP PC after the sunset will be from Zero-Day vulnerabilities, the ones that are too new for the "good guys" to have responded to. This step helps minimize your exposure.

7. Image the disk and back up your PC
Do both. Once you have your PC as armored as you possibly can get it, make one last pre-sunset backup, and vow to keep it safe an unmodified for all eternity. Or until you give up XP, whichever comes first.

And make a disk image. Preferably using a self-booting Linux-based imaging application. A Windoze back-up is no good without a running OS to install it onto. This method assures that all the Windoze files are closed and free to be copied, and you have the software to do a reinstall from, even if something trashes your Windoze OS.

Unless you exclude all your personal files (which sort of defeats the purpose), chances are neither your back-up nor your disk image will fit onto a single DVD (maybe not even a Blu-Ray). And I have had too many failures with backups involving spanned CDs or DVDs to trust anything of value to them. This necessarily means you are going to need considerable external storage space. If you do not already have one, consider the cost of a large capacity external hard drive (or network storage device) part of the cost of getting to keep XP.

A back-up along with a disk image is a belt-and-suspenders approach.

8. Abandon Internet Explorer
It always was a security sore spot, and it can only get worse. No point trying to uninstall it because it's forever intertwined into the OS (M$ has weathered the odd multi-millon-dollar antitrust law suit to keep it that way) and can't well and truly be uninstalled. Just stop using it.

Switch to Firefox or Chrome or Opera or whatever. I use IE and FF and (a Chrome fork called) Iron because they all have special capabilities I find useful (but I will be giving up IE). And I will not install Chrome. Everything G**gle passes out like candy is a snitch, and Iron is Chrome with all the snitchwares exorcised.

8.a. Block scripts
Today's Internet thrives on scripts, Java and PHP and the like. So do malwares. Running a script in your browser is the same as inviting Count Dracula in for a bite of supper. Block scripting as much as you are able. FF has add-ons for that very purpose.

8.b. Change banks
Consider never using XP again for online transactions. If you have a PC running an alternative OS, use it instead. No need exposing your financial information to that risk if you can avoid it.

9. Archive the resources necessary to do a re-install

M$ will be keeping the XP activation and patching servers online for the foreseeable future, if only for the benefit of those "special" clients. But we benefit from that because that enables us to reinstall the OS.

9.a. Installation media
If your HDD fails, the easiest way to reinstall is to use the pre-sunset disk image you took the precaution to make, then apply your most recent Windoze backup on top of that. But if something catastrophic happened to your PC, if the motherboard failed and you can't find an identical replacement, if your waterbed sprang a leak and drowned it, or if a city bus crashed into your house and ran over it, the disk image won't work, because much of what it contains is hardware-specific. Now you're going to need installation media.

So long as your hard drive was not involved in this Greek tragedy, you're golden. Most new PCs are delivered with a hidden partition on the HDD that contains installation media, in lieu of a CD/DVD, for refreshing the OS or performing a full-fledged factory clean install. Install the HDD in the new PC, fire it up, and invoke the restoration procedure. That will give you a factory-new install, but you still will need a recent backup to install on top of it, else you'll have lost all your personal stuff.

But if you are installing to new hardware, and your HDD is toast, you're going to need separate installation media. The "factory" CD. Canvas your Geek buddies and see if any of them has an XP CD they can give you. Don't settle for the promise of "It'll be here for you." You want one of your very own.

Note that the version and the license type of installation media has to match the version and type that's on your PC. IOW, if it's XP Home, it has to be an XP Home disk. And it's an OE license (such as would come on a Dell or Toshiba), it has to be an OE CD. If you bought and installed the OS yourself, or bought the PC from a Mom&Pop computer store, it probably is a "Retail" license, and you'd need a Retail CD. The vast majority of all pirated XPs use a Corporate license.

If you think you can't legally install XP onto a second PC, I assure you that is a myth. Item #13 on the Windoze XP End-User License Agreement reads, in part,
13. SOFTWARE TRANSFER. Internal. You may move the Software to a different Workstation Computer. After the transfer, you must completely remove the Software from the former Workstation Computer....
So if your PC is damaged beyond repair, under the terms of the XP EULA you LEGALLY may install XP on an alternate PC.

9.b. Product key codes
If you have to do a reinstall from factory media, you will need your original product key code. It should be on a sticker affixed to your PC's case. If the sticker is missing or illegible, you can discover the key code you currently are using with a free software available here. Note it and archive it. I wrote mine on the installation CD with a Sharpie.

9.c. Service packs
It's been years since M$ supported XP pre-SP3 so you can't get updates from them unless you have SP3 installed. And you can't install SP3 on a bare naked XP install unless it already has SP1.a or SP2 installed on it. On a factory CD, the SP level will be printed on the label. However, your installation media might already be "slipstreamed" with service packs. Best case, your image will be "slipstreamed" with SP3, which means your clean install already will have SP3 on it. Or at least SP2.

But what if you know that the installation media on your HDD's hidden partition only had SP2 on it, or you want to archive the SPs you might need, just to err on the side of safety? You can get them directly from M$. SP2 (266MB) is available here. SP3 (316MB) is here. Both will fit on a single standard-sized CD.

9.d. M$ Security Essentials
M$ will continue to provide anti-malware signatures for its MSE through 14 July, 2015. However, the application itself might not be available after the sunset date. To be sure you have it available for a possible re-install, you can download your own copy of the file from here.


That should at least give you a running start.

May I add a #10 to your list? Pen Test your network.
Indeed you may.
 
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Old 03-09-14, 05:55 PM
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The chief reason M$ is in its present pickle is that XP was too capable. It still does everything most PC users bought a PC for, and most everything even the most demanding user wants. And they can't seem to find that new landmark feature that will convince the majority of old XP users to willingly spend the money to switch.

I would argue that Linux is clear-cut evidence that XP was (and is) all that and a bag of chips. Unlike what comes out of Redmond, from its birth, Linux always has been about functionality. All the many thousands of individuals striving to provide their clients what it is they ask for. That's one reason so many dozens of flavors of Linux are available, because the community has splintered into different groups, each looking to cater to an individual taste. Yet even today, 12 years after XP was released, despite the efforts of all those many thousands of talented and creative individuals, whose only objective is to satisfy the needs of their users, Linux still does not have a single landmark feature that XP did not.

Which is not an indictment of Linux, just an analogy to show why M$ is having such a difficult time "besting" XP. If all the combined creative energies of the Linux community could not find it, what chance does the (vastly more parochial) M$ community stand?

Michael Jackson could never top "Thriller", even if he had lived to be 100. M$ will probably never top XP.


According to an article I've just read in the UK's Micro Mart magazine, there's a sea change coming at M$. XP was the last product they created that sold itself, and the new CEO wants to change that. He wants to stop subsidizing losses from their OS division with the profits from Service & Support. For one thing, he recognizes that most PC users are not Geeks, and they do not salivate over the prospect of getting to learn a new OS. Changing interfaces is a stressful event for them. Why can't they just leave well enough alone?

Vista (pardon my french) was a sales disaster, and Win8 already is circling the drain (a fact not much abated by the 8.1 patch). Micro Mart says the new CEO sees no point in throwing good money after bad and is scrapping plans for Win8.2 to focus resources on Win9. First and foremost, they're scrapping Win8's one-size-fits-all interface, and switching to platform-specific GUIs. Win9's desktop interface supposedly will be something familiar to XP stalwarts. And to answer Win7/8 performance complaints on 32-bit hardware, Win9 will be better optimized for X86's 4GB RAM ceiling. Which would seem to mean they finally are getting serious about building something XP users might actually want to run on the old XP boxes. And he's cracking the whip, planning on a 2015 initial release.

That's only a year, give or take. Which might encourage some to try to stretch out XP's lifespan, in the hope that Win9 finally will be a fitting replacement. Heck, I can do a year standing on my head.

In the meanwhile, if you're still fumbling with the new Win7 interface, try installing (freeware) Classic Shell. It's not a half bad impersonation of the XP desktop. Along with ($5) FileSearchEX (Win7's and 8's search functions are hopeless) and a tweak to add the QuickLaunch area to the tool bar, Win7 is pretty usable. At least on 64-bit architecture, and with a minimum of 8GB of RAM. On 32-bit, with only 4GB of RAM, it's a lost cause.

Win8's Metro interface shows M$ is (or at least was) living in its own private Idaho. Fortunately, Classic Shell also works on it. But to get complete relief, Win8 needs Start8. It's also $5, chickenfeed for getting a real start button back.
 
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Old 03-09-14, 06:07 PM
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Fred....I just have to say...thank you for all your very helpful and informative posts.
 
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Linux doesn't stand a chance against MS & never will. Before Linux, there was Unix & before I tried Linux, I used & still use FreeBSD (Unix). I started with FreeBSD in 1998, then I tried Red Hat Linux. I quit Red Hat when I couldn't open the new RPM because I didn't have the new RPM. The only Linux that I use now is Kali which is for Pen Testing only.

Unix & the C programming language were written as a joke & the authors were shocked when AT&T took it. Read the Unix Haters Handbook, if you are so inclined.
 
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Old 03-09-14, 06:54 PM
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To further perhaps confuse the issue more is a link to what most people think Windows 9 will be like here is the link Windows 9 release date, news and rumors | News | TechRadar . Sounds like at least from the rumors they will change the metro screen and still use some apps but maybe have a better start menu.

I agree Linux doesn't really stand much of a chance against MS and part of that reasoning is because of lack of support for most but not all printers. If you have an old printer it will probably work but probably not with some of your newer printers. Internal modems are not supported either and if you like Netflix then forget Linux. Part of the Netflix issue though relates to a close friendship Netflix has with Microsoft. Hulu Plus on the other hand will work with Linux but may or may not have what you want.

I don't however think Linux is bad it just could use a boost from some of the manufacturers of about everything that goes into a computer. Most manufacturers don't want to get on Microsofts bad side so drivers don't get written for Linux and manufacturers deny permission to Linux driver writers. When they do get it right on their own they sometimes face lawsuits so things certainly need to change as far as Linux is concerned.
 
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...Unix & the C programming language were written as a joke & the authors were shocked when AT&T took it. Read the Unix Haters Handbook, if you are so inclined.
Pulpo I’ve been away from software/system development for many years, but I don’t know where you are getting that from. Sounds like loose inaccurate propaganda to me.

I personally used SCO Unix on a configuration of PC’s and wrote thousands and thousands of lines of “C” code myself, for a system used in that funny building with an odd number of sides (hint sides=5).

Unix was preferred by the NSA so that’s why I used it. Ok, let me be honest, the system was used by the Joint Chiefs. They use the pretty good stuff!
 
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Old 03-09-14, 09:58 PM
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Use Virtual Box first

Larry I suggest if you use Linux in any flavor be it PcLinuxOs or Ubuntu to first install VirtualBox on your Windows XP computer. If you do you then know how the Linux distribution will work for you. Here is a link to the VirtualBox page https://www.virtualbox.org/ . I have tried many different distributions using VirtualBox first and it gives you a better feel for how the distribution will work for you.

One tip though when you install this you have to stay by your computer and give the program permission. It needs to be able to connect to your network and needs a few other resources. You can actually download Linux and keep it on your computer and then when the program wants you to load it from your D drive just click beside that and then you can search for where it is.

So if it is located in documents you would look through documents and then you can run the iso right off of your hard drive. It saves on time and saves on disks if you use them. If the os works well for you you can then actually install it. What I like about doing that is you can switch back and forth between Linux and Windows with ease.
 
  #32  
Old 03-09-14, 11:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Fred_C_Dobbs View Post
7. Image the disk and back up your PC
Do both. Once you have your PC as armored as you possibly can get it, make one last pre-sunset backup, and vow to keep it safe an unmodified for all eternity. Or until you give up XP, whichever comes first.

And make a disk image. Preferably using a self-booting Linux-based imaging application. A Windoze back-up is no good without a running OS to install it onto. This method assures that all the Windoze files are closed and free to be copied, and you have the software to do a reinstall from, even if something trashes your Windoze OS.

Unless you exclude all your personal files (which sort of defeats the purpose), chances are neither your back-up nor your disk image will fit onto a single DVD (maybe not even a Blu-Ray). And I have had too many failures with backups involving spanned CDs or DVDs to trust anything of value to them. This necessarily means you are going to need considerable external storage space. If you do not already have one, consider the cost of a large capacity external hard drive (or network storage device) part of the cost of getting to keep XP.

A back-up along with a disk image is a belt-and-suspenders approach.
You should be doing that REGARDLESS of the OS you're running. I've tried many imaging programs over the years, and none is as easy to use as Macrium Reflect. They offer a free version (non-commercial only) that can be used to create images on a set schedule on any internal/external/network/cloud drive. The only "downside" to the free version is that it does not do "incremental" images - where it updates the existing image with changed files.. This is only a downside because it takes a lot of time (where the computer slows a bit) and it takes up a lot of space (you have to clear out old versions regularly). Howver the UPSIDE of this is that if you keep a "rolling week" or a "rolling month" worth of images, you get what we call "shadow copies". Where if Junior deletes a bunch of stuff on you then opens up Powerpoint and messes up your presentation and saves the mess, you can extract the unmessed version from a previous day's image.

The paid version ($45 per PC or $90 for a 4-pack) allows incremental backups (where it only updates changed files in the image, sving space) and a few other goodies.

On top of that, you should use a 'realtime' cloud backup like Carbonite. This gives you 'to the second' shadow copies, plus it stores your data (including your images!) off-site in case of a disaster like a fire or tornado.



8. Abandon Internet Explorer
It always was a security sore spot, and it can only get worse. No point trying to uninstall it because it's forever intertwined into the OS (M$ has weathered the odd multi-millon-dollar antitrust law suit to keep it that way) and can't well and truly be uninstalled. Just stop using it.
Can't argue with that!

Switch to Firefox or Chrome or Opera or whatever. I use IE and FF and (a Chrome fork called) Iron because they all have special capabilities I find useful (but I will be giving up IE). And I will not install Chrome. Everything G**gle passes out like candy is a snitch, and Iron is Chrome with all the snitchwares exorcised.
Never heard of Iron. I hate Chrome for the same reason.. But there are a couple sites I have to use Chrome for, so I'm hoping they work with Iron.. Thanks for that suggestion!

8.a. Block scripts
Today's Internet thrives on scripts, Java and PHP and the like. So do malwares. Running a script in your browser is the same as inviting Count Dracula in for a bite of supper. Block scripting as much as you are able. FF has add-ons for that very purpose.
This is difficult to carry out in real life. There are too many sites using scripts, and plugins like NoScript really get in the way until you 'train' it by whitelisting the scripts you use - and even then sometimes things get hairy. I use AdBlock Plus, which nails a lot of tracking scripts by default anyway (you still have to add certain ones like google analytics, etc manually though). NoScript is a powerful paranoia tool for someone who is ultra security conscious, but it is way too cumbersome for the average user to keep in line.

9.a. Installation media
If your HDD fails, the easiest way to reinstall is to use the pre-sunset disk image you took the precaution to make, then apply your most recent Windoze backup on top of that. But if something catastrophic happened to your PC, if the motherboard failed and you can't find an identical replacement, if your waterbed sprang a leak and drowned it, or if a city bus crashed into your house and ran over it, the disk image won't work, because much of what it contains is hardware-specific. Now you're going to need installation media.

So long as your hard drive was not involved in this Greek tragedy, you're golden. Most new PCs are delivered with a hidden partition on the HDD that contains installation media, in lieu of a CD/DVD, for refreshing the OS or performing a full-fledged factory clean install. Install the HDD in the new PC, fire it up, and invoke the restoration procedure. That will give you a factory-new install, but you still will need a recent backup to install on top of it, else you'll have lost all your personal stuff.
The hidden partition will not allow you to 'refresh' the OS. If you have a choice it all, the most it will do is save a copy of the /Documents and Settings folder for you to pick through and sort out your stuff after it does a wipe/restore.

Also the copy of Windows on the hidden partions are never 'clean' installs. It is a ghosted image of the drive, complete with all drivers (and all the factory crapware). You can't just take a hard drive and stick it into a new machine and expect it to work unless it is the same model with the same hardware. Windows will do the same thing it does when you take a hard drive out of one working computer and stick it into another - it has a heart attack installing all the drivers, and it works slower on the new computer than it ever did on the old computer.

But if you are installing to new hardware, and your HDD is toast, you're going to need separate installation media. The "factory" CD. Canvas your Geek buddies and see if any of them has an XP CD they can give you. Don't settle for the promise of "It'll be here for you." You want one of your very own.

Note that the version and the license type of installation media has to match the version and type that's on your PC. IOW, if it's XP Home, it has to be an XP Home disk. And it's an OE license (such as would come on a Dell or Toshiba), it has to be an OE CD. If you bought and installed the OS yourself, or bought the PC from a Mom&Pop computer store, it probably is a "Retail" license, and you'd need a Retail CD. The vast majority of all pirated XPs use a Corporate license.

If you think you can't legally install XP onto a second PC, I assure you that is a myth. Item #13 on the Windoze XP End-User License Agreement reads, in part


So if your PC is damaged beyond repair, under the terms of the XP EULA you LEGALLY may install XP on an alternate PC.
This is WRONG in ALL cases except where you have purchased RETAIL software. With an OEM installation (which comes on ALL name-brand and most custom built computers), the product key locks to the first computer it is installed on and it can NEVER be transferred. It will INSTALL onto a second computer, but it can never be activated (legally) and after 30 days you will start getting the "You May Be A Victim of Counterfeiting" nag.

Only a RETAIL (bought at a store for $100-150) copy can be deactivated and then legally reinstalled on a new computer. If the old computer is toast, then it will fail online activation (since the deactivation can't be sent to the servers) but you can activate it by phone.

9.b. Product key codes
If you have to do a reinstall from factory media, you will need your original product key code. It should be on a sticker affixed to your PC's case. If the sticker is missing or illegible, you can discover the key code you currently are using with a free software available here. Note it and archive it. I wrote mine on the installation CD with a Sharpie.
Unless you personally have done a reinstallation using the key found on the sticker, the key kicked back by those programs WILL NOT be the same as the one on the sticker. The one it will find is called the SLP (System Locked Preinstallation) key. This is the key given to Dell/HP/etc for mass installation. ALL computers come out of the factory with the same key on the hard drive. SLP keys can NOT be used to install either RETAIL OR OEM software. The key on the sticker can only be used with an OEM disc, and once it is used, it is locked to that computer forever.

9.c. Service packs
It's been years since M$ supported XP pre-SP3 so you can't get updates from them unless you have SP3 installed. And you can't install SP3 on a bare naked XP install unless it already has SP1.a or SP2 installed on it. On a factory CD, the SP level will be printed on the label. However, your installation media might already be "slipstreamed" with service packs. Best case, your image will be "slipstreamed" with SP3, which means your clean install already will have SP3 on it. Or at least SP2.

But what if you know that the installation media on your HDD's hidden partition only had SP2 on it, or you want to archive the SPs you might need, just to err on the side of safety? You can get them directly from M$. SP2 (266MB) is available here. SP3 (316MB) is here. Both will fit on a single standard-sized CD.

9.d. M$ Security Essentials
M$ will continue to provide anti-malware signatures for its MSE through 14 July, 2015. However, the application itself might not be available after the sunset date. To be sure you have it available for a possible re-install, you can download your own copy of the file from here.


That should at least give you a running start.


Indeed you may.
A better idea is to get yourself an 8GB flash drive, and download WSUS Offline Update. It basically emulates having your own Windows Update server. What it does is grabs every update Microsoft has for each version of Windows (you can do every version from XP forward) including Service Packs, Silverlight, Office, MSE, DotNET, etc and stores it on the flash drive. Then you stick it into the target computer, click UpdateInstaller.eve, and it installs anything that's missing. That's what I use when I get a computer in for service that is missing a SP, or when I have to do a wipe/reinstall. It's much faster than using Windows Update, and you never have to worry about future availability of the updates after the sunset.

Every update for every Microsoft product that updates through the online service fits on a 32GB drive (it takes about 20GB).. I honestly have not broken it down as to what OS takes up how much space, but the 8GB should be plenty for just XP, maybe whatever version of Office you have too.
 
  #33  
Old 03-10-14, 12:05 AM
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Originally Posted by hedgeclippers View Post
To further perhaps confuse the issue more is a link to what most people think Windows 9 will be like here is the link Windows 9 release date, news and rumors | News | TechRadar . Sounds like at least from the rumors they will change the metro screen and still use some apps but maybe have a better start menu.
All I can say is if the next version is really coming out next year, it simply highlights what a disaster 8 has been. I'm not holding my breath though. I was on XP until 7 came out.. I had beta tested both Vista and 7 and I saw NOTHING in Vista worth switching to, even when it got to RC phase. 7 on the other hand was impressive even in beta (the same kind of impressive that had me hooked when I beta tested XP! ).. And then when the 8 beta came out, it was Vista all over again.

I agree Linux doesn't really stand much of a chance against MS and part of that reasoning is because of lack of support for most but not all printers. If you have an old printer it will probably work but probably not with some of your newer printers. Internal modems are not supported either and if you like Netflix then forget Linux. Part of the Netflix issue though relates to a close friendship Netflix has with Microsoft. Hulu Plus on the other hand will work with Linux but may or may not have what you want.

I don't however think Linux is bad it just could use a boost from some of the manufacturers of about everything that goes into a computer. Most manufacturers don't want to get on Microsofts bad side so drivers don't get written for Linux and manufacturers deny permission to Linux driver writers. When they do get it right on their own they sometimes face lawsuits so things certainly need to change as far as Linux is concerned.
I honestly tried learning Linux a couple times, but I kept getting annoyed by the fact that none of my programs worked on it directly, except through Wine, which sucks. I don't like how lots of people in response to someone grumbling about Windows is to 'learn linux'.. Because it's not that easy to unlearn what you've been doing for decades because everything you know already know about Windows doesn't work in Linux. And while a lot of us did use DOS so we are familiar with command lines/switches/arguments, DOS commands and Linux commands aren't the same either.

But Netflix will eventually work in Linux, because they are now working with HTML5 streams - which is open. The original streams were in Silverlight, which is Microsoft proprietary.
 
  #34  
Old 03-10-14, 01:28 AM
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So it sounds like ordinary non-geek people like me are screwed, blued and tattooed. I am not a dummy by any means but I don't understand ten percent of what has been written in this thread. I have three computers, a laptop and two desktops that are all approximately eight years old or older. The primary computer is at least that old and is used for E-mail, forums, news sites and on-line banking. I do not do any gaming nor do I use my computer to watch movies.

To show just how old things are I am still using Word 2000 and an older version of Excel and it works just fine for all my needs. I did need to download some kind of file converter to be able to read more current versions of Word. I run the latest version of Firefox for my browser and I run AVG free as my virus protection.

I have tried a couple of times to download Ubunto but after several hours of a VERY slow transfer i still had nothing so I gave up. I have never found a site that offered a (relatively) fast download of any Linux OS so I have never even been able to try it to see if I could adapt.


Off topic rant follows.
My refrigerator crapped out last week. I remember when refrigerators had long warranties, anywhere from ten to twenty five years on the sealed refrigeration system. Today anything longer than a single year seems to be a real bonus. We are supposed to be the most technically advanced country in the world but we can't even make a refrigerator that will last more than fourteen years. I see the same thing with this XP "lifespan" thing; the manufacturer cannot make any money on a product that just plain works so they decide to no longer support it and force every satisfied user into tossing their working systems and buying new. This might not be quite so onerous if the new used the same methods that people have already learned but no, they have to have an "improved" version that does 135 different things, most, if not all, of no use to the average user.

I moved from Win98SE to XP kicking and screaming. The only reason being that my computer died completely (actually got quite a run from it according to things I read after the fact). It was not an easy transition for me but I made it. The new computer originally had just 128 units (whatever) of RAM and it was constantly reading and writing to the hard drive. When I upgraded to another one GB of RAM it was like I had died and gone to heaven and last year when I upgraded again to three GB it was another huge increase in performance. I am perfectly satisfied with the configuration and performance of this computer but because Microsoft has deemed it obsolete it appears that I am doomed to spend money I don't have and replace it with something that I don;t want or take a risk of having my banking information hacked along with who knows what other devilment.
 
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Old 03-10-14, 09:11 AM
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Zoesdad: Read the Unix Haters Handbook, written by the people who developed Unix in the first place. I don't care what the Joint Chiefs use. If there any propaganda, it's coming from them not from me.
 
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Old 03-10-14, 06:08 PM
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Zoesdad: Read the Unix Haters Handbook, written by the people who developed Unix in the first place. I don't care what the Joint Chiefs use. If there any propaganda, it's coming from them not from me.
One then must assume that you know something that the NSA doesn’t. Many Unix Operating Systems are in fact not only approved by the NSA, but are in fact recommended in many cases, even for the most critical systems that you may imagine. Systems at the very highest levels.

There is some current criticism of the NSA, but technology naiveté is not one of them.
 
  #37  
Old 03-11-14, 04:06 AM
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To hedgeclippers, Richard, clear your Pm folder. You are maxed out.
 
  #38  
Old 03-11-14, 04:42 AM
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Furd, I could have written your last post [including the refrigerator reference; our expen$ive Kenmore 3-door fridge bellied up at ~7 years of age]. I only moved from 98 to XP when they killed the support for 98 and I held onto XP for a long time, too, although I upgraded to Win7 when I had a crash a few years ago and built a new machine. Figured what the hey. I don't have any problems with Win7 and will be holding onto it until at least the time MS kills the support. And if by then they haven't engineered something a lot better than Win8, I'll probably take my chances with un-supported Win7. I'm too old and set in my ways to jump off MS, having used Windows since, I think, Win 3.1.

Side note: Did everybody catch the MS news item that they may try giving away Win8.1 to stimulate the migration from XP?
 
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Old 03-11-14, 04:52 AM
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Nice pie chart here on OS market shares:

Operating system market share
 
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Old 03-11-14, 10:29 AM
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They're going to try giving 8.1 away because thats the only way they can claim more market share on it (similar to their 6-month-long campaign of selling the 8 upgrade for $15). They have to bolster their awful numbers so they can claim that "See? People DO want 8.. They ARE buying it..".

In reality it's been a total failure, because people don't want to pay to give up their Windows 7. The alleged 'leaked' release date of Windows 9 being scheduled for early next year - if true - only highlights that failure.
 
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