Whitwick & District U3A - Computing tip April 2014
This month we return to Windows XP. As was mentioned in last September's tip, Microsoft support for XP comes to an and on April 8th 2014. What this means is that there will no longer be any new security updates for XP, consequently any PC running XP will be at greater risk of attack by malware. How great this risk is no-one can say, but it is a fair bet that the risk will increase over time.
If you have not yet changed from XP, then there are a number of measures you can take which will lessen (but not entirely eliminate) the risk of attack or infection.
1 Do not use an Administrator account for normal work. If you only have one account (user) on your PC then it is an Administrator account.
To set a new account go to the Control Panel, choose "User Accounts" and then the "Create a new account" link, and on the next screen choose "Administrator" before creating the account. Make sure you have set and remember the password for this new account.
Now you can change your own account from "Administrator" to "Limited". You will still need to use your new Administrator account from time to time e.g. if you are installing new software. If you are downloading software do so via the limited account, Save it (not Run), scan it with your anti-virus, and then install it.
2 Make sure you have an effective anti-virus program installed. This can be a free or a paid-for one. Indeed Microsoft will continue to support their own Security Essentials until mid 2015. There was more on this in last June's tip.
3 Change to a different browser. Don't use Internet Explorer, but use something like Chrome, Firefox or Opera.
4 Use a better firewall. The XP firewall is not overly effective. Install a better one and suitable ones are available for free from Zonealarm and Comodo.
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