There are several competent free antivirus and firewalls out there. If you want to buy one to get the more advanced features, there are reasonably priced alternatives. For example, ZoneAlarm Pro AV + Firewall for $35, or Avast! Internet Security for $40. Both are pretty well equipped at those price points.
Also, if you're taking all these other precautions, why ditch Office - especially for strictly offline use? I think that suggestion is a little silly. Although to be fair, I think not upgrading to at least Win7 is a bad idea in general. More and more software is going to drop support for XP as time wears on.
I'm definitely not a fan of Microsoft but I have to commend them for supporting XP for this long. 13 years is a long time for a company to support any product, much less a tech product. What other companies offer you a 13 year warranty? Your response is going to be: I should get updates because Microsoft is making them anyway for other companies. Sorry, you're not entitled to anything at this point. Also, you call this "MS's extortion gambit". When will MS cease to run an "extortion gambit"? Do you expect them to keep supporting XP into the 2020s? 2030s? I challenge you to think of more than one or two companies that support their software for more than 13 years.
With all that work and ditching Office, wouldn't it be much better just to go to Ubuntu? or pay for Windows 8 which comes with windows antivirus built in instead of paying $40 a year which adds up to the cost of a license anyway.
If you have a desktop I would say if your computer is a single core with 1gb of ram... its time to upgrade to something new, you can pick up a Off Lease business class PC for around $180 with a fast dual core and 2gb ram with windows 7... sometimes cheaper. And even thought they are used and with only a 90 day warranty they house much better components then a $400 Desktop.
Are all these 'doomsday' articles on XP bordering on FUD? Have no fear Linux is here.
Why waste that old Hardware, its bad for Planet Earth.
Get the most worth out of your PC as long as it works well.
How to Break free from the cycle of Planned Obsolesce?!!??
Stay safe with Linux.
There is a very good chance Linux OS will run well with older hardware with lower specs
Switch to the free, safe, secure & awesome OS: www.ubuntu.com/download
Its the worlds most popular free OS. It has free upgrades & security updates. It has a free office suite, LibreOffice that comes standard along with other great apps/programs.
For those who like the Windows look, I would recommend: www.kubuntu.com & for older computer with lower specs www.xubuntu.com or http/lubuntu.net
Or try Linux Mint: http/linuxmint.com
Because the Linux option is free & now so easy (user friendly) one must give it a try. You have so much to gain.
Lots of people give their time, effort & money to make these great products that they just give the world for free. So they may not have the huge ad budgets & would need users like us to spread the word. Although its free, you are welcome to donate if you like the software.
For those worried about Office 2003 support ending try LibreOffice or OpenOffice.
Time to check out the free, safe, secure & feature-packed LibreOffice. Its truly multi-platform & takes just a few minutes & clicks to install.
Try it now you have so much to gain: www.libreoffice.org/download
You can be sure the total number of XP users is double the 20-30% with all the pirated copies included. Even if web browsers eventually are no longer compatible with sites there are plenty of off line usefulness like Office suite and Publisher. Maybe it will come down to not being able to print, but Asia is very resourceful and if a product is in demand it will be made.
Really maybe if Linux grows up and loses the erector set style it brought over from UNIX and decides to become standards based like Windows where a certification means the App will install and run without intervention/tweaking required and with actual Help files that go beyond function description, then yes maybe a significant shift will occur.
Heck I'd rather just use a good Linux distro at that point, dodge the Googleware and be less web-dependent. Although, reading posts from users like indian-art drives me away from that option. Ack! I mean really... use LibreOffice but it falls directly under the category of "Well, at least it's free". When I look at how many years of heavy use I get out of an OS license, Windows isn't really that expensive. I spend more on RAM than I do on Windows, and that doesn't even count the occasional middle-of-lifecycle upgrade.
OK, so now it is April 9, and I just got an official looking notice of "updates ready to install, computer will restart in 15min". I clicked restart and my computer acted like normal, restarted and everything seems to be working. Now I'm wondering if that was some sort of tricky ruse, and if I now have a virus.
I can't just go ahead and restore my last image backup because that was before the last MS updates (one month of updates because I had it turned off due to the svchost.exe nonsense).
I will immediately run a malwarebytes scan and hope for the best. I think I need to re-think my response to XP end of support. It should be:
1) image backup in case XP updates fail and crash my system. (done)
2) get all XP updates (custom, not the recommended) from the MicroSoft site one day before end of support. (done)
3) turn on automatic updates to get any last minute XP updates from MicroSoft. (done)
4) turn off automatic updates when last XP date has arrived. (not done)
5) another image backup, post XP updates, in case of future system crash (not done)
In everything I had read about the end of XP support, I never saw any detailed and explained list of what should be done, and in what order. Can someone please comment on my new list, the update notice I received today, and any suggestions that may help prevent or recover from future problems.
Antivirus does help you but not entirely. What happens if something does manage to come through and infect the machines. What you need are layers of protection, updated external backups along with something that will help you take your machine back to the state before the infection takes place.
I have one machine with Windows XP for some legacy software. I have AV installed along with Malwarebytes. Plus I installed this new freeware I found while surfing the Interweb called RollBack XP. What this does is it takes 'snapshots' of your entire system which you can use to go back to if your machine gets infected.