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April 8 marks the end of Microsoft's support for Windows XP; an operating system that's still very popular and widely used. After that deadline, Windows XP will no longer be patched, but that doesn't mean it can't be used safely. Here are some things you can do to keep Windows XP secure:
By default, user accounts in Windows are "administrator," meaning the user can install programs and make system changes. Downgrading the account will prevent programs that may be malicious from getting access to the system.
Chrome is free, and far more secure since it's being kept up to date by Google. Mozilla's Firefox is another alternative.
If you're using an older version of Microsoft Office, make sure the security settings are set high.
Don't download programs from a third party download site; make sure it's from the actual source.
These links may be deceiving, and malicious links could appear to be coming from someone you know.
This will act as a hardware firewall, which will protect against attacks.
If you don't need to be online with your Windows XP computer, then cutting it off from the outside world is highly recommended.
For a complete list of security precautions for using Windows XP, consult page 13 of this document from F-Secure recommended by Steve Gibson.
===Reprinted from TechGuyLabs.com