Microsoft Windows XP on New Computers

It's rare but the older version of the operating system is still available

Microsoft ended support for Windows XP in April 2014, and no longer provides security updates or technical support for the Windows XP operating system. Instead, Microsoft encourages users to migrate to a modern operating system such as Windows 10. Nevertheless, some retailers still offer refurbished computers for sale equipped with Windows XP, because the hardware requirements are less than what's required for Windows Vista through Windows 10.

Windows XP logo screen

Lifewire recommends that you avoid Windows XP computers.

Risks of Running Windows XP

If you decide to a computer running Windows XP, plan for serious security problems you'll need to deal with:

  • Vulnerable to new bugs: Hackers are constantly searching for bugs in existing operating systems. When those bugs are exploited, companies that make the operating system patch those bugs. In the case of Windows XP, Microsoft won't fix those bugs.
  • Incompatible drivers: Since most hardware manufacturers stop supporting Windows XP drivers, you'll need to use old drivers. Old driver software is as susceptible to new bugs as the operating system.
  • Old Software: Most software companies stopped supporting Windows XP, so you'll be working with outdated software on your computer. Outdated software is at risk for hacking as well.
  • Outdated network cards: The older a network card is, the more likely it is that hackers have found problems that they can exploit and hack into your computer. This makes it especially dangerous to connect your Windows XP computer directly to the internet.

Secure Your New Windows XP Computer

If you do purchase a computer with Windows XP and you cannot upgrade to a modern operating system, follow special security precautions:

  • Install antivirus software: Even if you took steps to secure the computer, install free antivirus software to ensure ultimate security.
  • Update all software: Even though the OS isn't receiving patches, improve security by keeping anything you install on the computer frequently updated.
  • Avoid internet browsing: Because of the risks, it's not advisable to connect a Windows XP computer to the internet. If you do, avoid using web browsers.
  • Install minimal software: The fewer applications that are installed on the computer, the lower the odds are that there will be a software vulnerability that hackers can exploit.
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