The Best Windows XP Software That Still Works
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Are you still hanging onto Windows XP 5 Reasons Why You Love Windows XP & What You Sacrifice 5 Reasons Why You Love Windows XP & What You Sacrifice Nearly 30% of computers are still running Windows XP. It was a stable and reliable system for years, but all good things come to an end. Almost no good reasons to keep using Windows XP... Read More years after it stopped receiving updates? If so, you’ve probably noticed that major software is also dropping support for the archaic operating system (OS). If you need to use XP for work or another purpose, it’s important to make sure you’re using the best software possible.

We obviously can’t review every piece of software, but let’s take a look at some major app categories and see what works and doesn’t work anymore on Windows XP.

Note: Some of these apps are offered in both 32-bit and 64-bit flavors. In all likelihood, your copy of Windows XP is 32-bit What Is the Difference Between 32-bit & 64-bit Windows? What Is the Difference Between 32-bit & 64-bit Windows? Do you know whether your computer is 32-bit or 64-bit and does it even matter? Yes it does! Let's take a look at where these terms come from and what they mean for you. Read More . Thus, you should make sure to avoid any 64-bit downloads on these sites.

Browsers

Let’s start with one of the most important categories. We’ve written an entire piece on the most secure browser to use with Windows XP Which Browser Is Most Secure on Your Old Windows XP System? Which Browser Is Most Secure on Your Old Windows XP System? Windows XP remains a risky OS for surfing the web. The best thing you can do is ditch Internet Explorer. We'll show you the best browsers for Windows XP. Read More . Check that for full details, we’ll summarize here.

Internet Explorer and Google Chrome have both dropped support for Windows XP, so you should avoid them. Firefox’s extended support release version will support Windows XP until June 2018. Opera also continues to update an older version of its browser for XP users. If you’re willing to try something different, Maxthon’s current version is available on XP.

windows xp software still works chrome

So if you avoid the dead browsers and stick to the few that still have support, your browsing is still safe on Windows XP — for now.

Download: Firefox | Opera | Maxthon

Office Suite

Next to browsers, an office suite is probably one of the most important programs you use.

If you want to stick with Microsoft Office, you can’t use any modern version on Windows XP. Office 2013 and 2016 (and by extension the always-updated Office 365 An Introduction to Office 365 -- Should You Buy Into the New Office Business Model? An Introduction to Office 365 -- Should You Buy Into the New Office Business Model? Office 365 is a subscription based package that offers access to the latest desktop Office suite, Office Online, cloud storage, and premium mobile apps. Does Office 365 provide enough value to be worth the money? Read More ) only work on Windows 7 and newer.

The latest Microsoft Office version that works with Windows XP is the 32-bit edition of Office 2010. Microsoft will support Office 2010 until October of 2020, so it’s still valid for a few years.

windows xp software still works office compatibility
Image via Keynote Support

Office 2007 and earlier are compatible with Windows XP, but Microsoft no longer supports them. Support ended for Office 2007 in October 2017, and dinosaurs walked the Earth when Office 2003 was current You Can Still Buy Microsoft Office 2003 Online & We Show You Where You Can Still Buy Microsoft Office 2003 Online & We Show You Where While Office 2016 is being rolled out, some people are still longing for Office 2003 instead. Here's how to get your 2003 fix. Read More .

Microsoft allows you to download Office 2010 if you have a valid product key How to Legally Download Office 2016 & 2013 Free From Microsoft How to Legally Download Office 2016 & 2013 Free From Microsoft If you own a product key for Microsoft Office, it's really simple to download the installation files direct from Microsoft and it's free. We'll show you all your options. Read More . If you don’t have one, you can purchase an Office license online, but you should be careful when doing so. Copies of Office 2010 on Amazon are ridiculously expensive, and there’s no guarantee that a key purchased from eBay or other sources is legitimate.

If you don’t mind using an alternative, the latest version of LibreOffice still works with Windows XP. LibreOffice is an excellent open source office suite Is LibreOffice Worthy of the Office Crown? Is LibreOffice Worthy of the Office Crown? LibreOffice is the king of free office suites. It's unlikely to replace Microsoft Office in a business environment, but it's an excellent alternative for casual users. Here's what's new in LibreOffice 5.1. Read More that provides a comparable experience to MS Office at no cost. We recommend giving it a try, since paying for Office 2010 on an ancient computer doesn’t make much sense. If you hate it, give Office Online a try Don't Pay For Word! 5 Reasons You Should Use Office Online Don't Pay For Word! 5 Reasons You Should Use Office Online Office Online is the free and cloud-connected version of Microsoft Office. Limitations are compensated by features, useful even to users of desktop Office. Best of all is its Read More .

Download/Access: LibreOffice | Office Online

Antivirus

Microsoft’s official antivirus, now integrated into Windows 10 as Windows Defender 4 Reasons to Use Windows Defender in Windows 10 4 Reasons to Use Windows Defender in Windows 10 In the past, Windows Defender was overshadowed by other options, but now it's quite a contender. Here are a few reasons why you should consider dropping your security suite in favor of Windows Defender. Read More , was known as Microsoft Security Essentials on Windows XP. Unsurprisingly, the company no longer supports it What's Next? Support Ends for Microsoft Security Essentials on Windows XP What's Next? Support Ends for Microsoft Security Essentials on Windows XP When Microsoft stopped supporting XP in 2014, they also announced that Microsoft Security Essentials would no longer be available, with updates for existing users available for a limited time only. That limited time has now... Read More , so you’ll have to install a third-party solution instead.

One of the best options is Panda Antivirus, which still supports XP. It’s a cloud antivirus, which means most of the heavy lifting is done on the company’s servers instead of your PC. As long as you disable the “Panda News” option to hide ads, Panda doesn’t nag you all the time either. If you don’t like Panda, you can also try Avast Free Antivirus. Avast packs a ton of extra bloat in that you don’t need, though, so we recommend Panda.

As a supplement, you should also download Malwarebytes. This features an on-demand scanner and still works with XP. It’s a great secondary option to remove malware that your antivirus doesn’t catch and get an extra opinion.

windows xp software still works malwarebytes

For other solutions, check out our list of the best Windows antivirus programs The 10 Best Free Anti-Virus Programs The 10 Best Free Anti-Virus Programs You must know by now: you need antivirus protection. Macs, Windows and Linux PCs all need it. You really have no excuse. So grab one of these ten and start protecting your computer! Read More . Some of them might still work with XP, but there’s no guarantee. For example, Bitdefender 2017 does not support XP and its special XP security suite isn’t free.

Download: Panda Free Antivirus | Avast Free Antivirus | Malwarebytes

Backup

Nowadays Windows includes solid backup options built-in The Ultimate Windows 10 Data Backup Guide The Ultimate Windows 10 Data Backup Guide Windows 10 makes data backups effortless. We have summarized every native backup, restore, recovery, and repair option we could find on Windows 10. Use our simple tips and never despair over lost data again! Read More , but Windows XP’s backup solution is pretty bare. You can still use it by visiting Start > All Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Backup. If it’s not good enough for you (which is likely), an alternative will better protect your data.

Our pick for the best backup software for beginners The Best Backup Software for Windows The Best Backup Software for Windows Your data is fragile – it only takes one small accident to lose everything. The more backups you make, the better. Here we present the best free backup software for Windows. Read More is AOMEI Backupper Standard, which still works on Windows XP. It’s free and backs up only to external drives, not cloud locations. This is a simple way to make sure your XP files aren’t lost to ransomware 12 Tools You Can Use to Help Beat Ransomware 12 Tools You Can Use to Help Beat Ransomware One of the biggest issues facing computer users is ransomware. And while a ransomware infection is notoriously difficult to fight, it isn't impossible. See how these tools can help. Read More or similar attacks Windows XP Security Risks: They're Real And Heading Your Way In 2014 Windows XP Security Risks: They're Real And Heading Your Way In 2014 Given the extensive coverage, you could easily think Windows XP end of support was just a hype. Sadly not. Without security updates, the aging operating system becomes a Trojan horse in your home or business. Read More .

The all-around performer EaseUS Todo Backup Free also works fine on XP.

A long-time name in backup, CrashPlan, is phasing out its home plans, so you should jump ship if you use that service CrashPlan for Home Shuts Down: What Now for Online Data Backups? CrashPlan for Home Shuts Down: What Now for Online Data Backups? CrashPlan is a popular cloud based backup provider. Their recent announcement to close the Home solution has left users in the cold. But here's what you can do next to safeguard your data. Read More . If you don’t mind paying and want to back up your files to the cloud, Backblaze is an excellent option for just $50/yr.

Download: AOMEI Backupper Standard | EaseUS Todo Backup Free | Backblaze

Miscellaneous

Let’s briefly take a look at several other important categories of apps that still work on Windows XP.

Media

For local media, nothing beats VLC Media Player The Top 5 Free Media Players for Windows The Top 5 Free Media Players for Windows Strong media player apps always rise to the top and it's not important which one you use. The best media player for you is the one you most enjoy using. We suggest the following... Read More — it plays every kind of audio and video imaginable.

Music streamers will be disappointed that Spotify has dropped support for Windows XP, but you can still use the Web Player (even though it has some issues Everything Wrong With the New Spotify Web Player Everything Wrong With the New Spotify Web Player Did you know Spotify has now given its Web Player a makeover? Well, we say "upgrade," but this feels more like a downgrade. Here's why. Read More ).

windows xp software still works spotify

Most other streaming services Are You Using the Best Music Streaming Service? Are You Using the Best Music Streaming Service? Do you use a music streaming service? If so, how do you know you're using the best one for you personally? Read More , like Google Play Music and Pandora, have a web player that should work fine in a supported XP browser.

Download/Access: VLC Media Player | Spotify Web Player | Google Play Music | Pandora

Image Editing

One of the best easy-to-use editors, Paint.NET, no longer supports Windows XP. Thankfully, the latest version of GIMP, another popular image editor GIMP vs Photoshop: Which One is Right for You? GIMP vs Photoshop: Which One is Right for You? Photoshop is the most popular image editing app out there and GIMP is the best free alternative to it. Which should you use? Read More that’s open source, works fine on XP.

You can also try a browser-based solution like Sumo Paint.

windows xp software still works gimp

While you’re at it, you should install the excellent image viewer IrfanView. It’s much better than Windows Picture and Fax Viewer and offers tons of extra features.

Download: GIMP | Sumo Paint | IrfanView

Cloud Storage

Dropbox, perhaps the biggest cloud storage platform, does not work at all on Windows XP. Microsoft’s own OneDrive service also no longer works on XP. Unfortunately, Google Drive’s desktop app (now named Backup and Sync) is a no-go too.

Thus, to interact with your cloud storage, you’ll need to sign into the web portals and use them in your browser. It’s not ideal, but at least you can still access your files.

Access: Dropbox | OneDrive | Google Drive

Utilities

Two of the best file compression and extraction programs The Top 3 File Compression & Extraction Softwares The Top 3 File Compression & Extraction Softwares Need to compress a large file? There's no shortage of file compression and archiving apps for Windows. But which file zipper is best for you? Here are our three top picks. Read More , PeaZip and 7-Zip, are still going strong on Windows XP. PeaZip is more aesthetically pleasing, while 7-Zip is a Windows classic.

Adobe Reader only offers version 11 (not the newest Acrobat Reader DC) for Windows XP. Thus, if you need a dedicated PDF reader The 6 Best PDF Readers for Windows The 6 Best PDF Readers for Windows Did you think twice before you installed Adobe Reader? It's the most widely used PDF reader, but not necessarily the best. We went out to find the best PDF readers for your needs. Read More , Foxit Reader is a great option. Don’t forget that modern browsers can open PDFs PDF Reader vs. Browser: Which PDF Viewer Is Best for You? PDF Reader vs. Browser: Which PDF Viewer Is Best for You? A PDF reader is often one of the first tools people install on their new computer. It's not glamorous or sexy, but it's a vital tool in your productivity arsenal. Or is it? Read More too.

CCleaner, the excellent cleaner utility 6 CCleaner Tips and Tricks to Effectively Clean Your Computer 6 CCleaner Tips and Tricks to Effectively Clean Your Computer CCleaner is a must-have tool for every Windows user, but are you using it effectively? Here are six awesome things CCleaner can do that you might have missed. Read More , still works on XP as well. It’s a great way to free up space on an old, tiny hard drive.

Windows XP doesn’t have the built-in Snipping Tool to take screenshots, so you can install ShareX or PicPick to take screenshots The Best Tools to Grab Screenshots in Windows The Best Tools to Grab Screenshots in Windows Are you often taking screenshots? Upgrade your tool to one that meets your needs. We put several free tools to the test and present the best ones for ease of use, editing, and sharing screenshots. Read More instead.

Download: 7-Zip | PeaZip | Foxit Reader | CCleaner | Sharex | PicPick

What Windows XP Software Do You Use?

Now you know which software still works on an old XP system Why Windows XP Won't Be Going Away Anytime Soon Why Windows XP Won't Be Going Away Anytime Soon People cannot let go of Windows XP. In businesses and homes the world over, it will stick around. We spoke with three Windows XP users from different generations and backgrounds to find out why. Read More and which no longer receives support. Considering it’s been over three years since Microsoft dropped support for the OS, it’s amazing how much popular software still works with Windows XP.

However, do note that the developers behind any of these apps could drop support at a moment’s notice. Remember that they’re all running on an insecure operating system, so you’re not safe from security holes.

To install many of these tools at once How To Install & Uninstall Windows Programs In Bulk How To Install & Uninstall Windows Programs In Bulk A mass installer or uninstaller can save you heaps of time. Remember the last time you set up a new computer? We are going to teach you how to do these tasks in a flash. Read More , visit Ninite, which makes it a cinch. And now that you know what software to use, make sure you’ve made Windows XP as safe as possible How to Tweak Windows XP and Stop Worrying About the Apocalypse How to Tweak Windows XP and Stop Worrying About the Apocalypse Are you forced to stay with Windows XP? Using an unsupported operating system is risky, but don't despair! We show you how you can carry on running Windows XP, if you must. Read More in other ways too.

Which software are you using on your Windows XP computer? Is there another big app that works on XP that we missed? Share what you have installed down in the comments!

Image Credit: undrey/Depositphotos

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  1. mike
    November 10, 2017 at 9:05 pm

    Unfortunately, some time soon, I will have to allow XP to slip away with the old PC that is ready to die. However, that doesn't mean I have to put up with that poor excuse for an operating system now made by Microsoft. I would call it a bloated form of spy/sales pitch-ware. So I am working for either figuring out a way to keep a ghost of XP alive through VM hosting on Win 7 or learning enough about Linux to build my own version of XP in the Linux world. Microsoft can go take a flying leap.

    I just read an article about an automotive design consultant who embodied my feelings. Basically, (thankfully) on a vehicle, say a car; the steering wheel is in the same place and works the same way. You don't have to take a month course on how the car works every time you buy an new one. Unfortunately, people who create new software think it is necessary to foist "features of dubious utility" on users and redesign everything else. It reminds me of the old sales tactic of putting a floppy in a crate to convince the buyer he has really bought something.

    I like the Linux world because ideas get floated and if they die, we can continue to use a version that works for us and this "new and Improved" version dies an ugly death (die Unity, die).

    Not so with Microsoft operating systems; we get the next "new thing" whether we want it or not. Don't get me wrong, XP was a good system and I suppose so is the new version, but I was comfortable with the old bugs in the calculator. These bugs were like the your old Teddy bear, providing a sense of continuity and familiarity, like the eye missing from Teddy. The OS is a tool and reshaping the tool and changing the place and operation of its features just to do it for some practical factor engineer's pet philosophy does nothing, but to use a polite word anger me.

    So, I am looking for ways to bridge the gap and if it turns out that going Linux gives me all the features etc. I need with the continuity I want; I will go Linux.

  2. Roger Caldwell
    November 10, 2017 at 9:36 am

    I keep an XP VM running for those things that I still haven't found a suitable replacement for. Office 2003, OmniPage 12, and WordPerfect 5.1 I still use on a regular basis. There are just some tasks that no current software can do as well, or as quick.

  3. dr. Gábor Nagy
    November 2, 2017 at 9:50 am

    The article does not deal with any file manager. ?ossible alternatives (both 32 and 54 bit): Total Commander, FreeCommander, Multi commander or EF Commander.

    As using cloud: I installed Cloud plugin 1.09 for Total Commander, so I can use files and folders on my cloud storage, inlcuding Box, DropBox, OneDrive, Google Drive and Yandex drive. Even on Windows XP

  4. likefunbutnot
    November 1, 2017 at 7:05 pm

    It is my sincere advice to anyone still running Windows XP on a computer for any reason other than some kind specific hardware/software compliance issue that they at least evaluate a Linux install instead. Even ChromiumOS is probably a better choice at this point than a Windows version that old.

    I'd also take issue with the statement that Avast is particularly bloated. It does offer a minimal configuration option that consists of nothing but the Virus and Web Shield products. Compared to most other antivirus products, Avast is a pretty solid choice.

  5. Doc
    November 1, 2017 at 4:41 pm

    Oh, thank you SO much for encouraging people to keep using XP! We really DON'T have enough infected PCs spreading viruses around the Internet as it is! /sarcasm

    • Ben Stegner
      November 1, 2017 at 5:24 pm

      I never encouraged people to use XP. I specifically stated at the end of the piece that XP is a ticking time bomb for security. This is only to serve as a reference for people still using XP -- it doesn't encourage its use.

      • Doc
        November 1, 2017 at 10:24 pm

        Understood. The best way to run an instance of XP is in a virtual machine - preferably in a way that the XP VM can be routinely virus-scanned by the host OS.
        While there are apps and games that won't run under any Windows newer than XP, that's becoming increasingly rare, especially with GOG.com and DosBox...and hopefully, those apps will quickly become unneeded. :)

        • Ben Stegner
          November 1, 2017 at 11:12 pm

          Completely agreed! Thankfully it does look like XP's usage numbers are dropping. I see it at stores sometimes, but I think they're finally getting the picture. Now when Windows 7 support ends, it will be another nightmare...

      • Gazoo
        November 2, 2017 at 3:43 pm

        > This is only to serve as a reference for people still using XP -- it doesn't encourage its use.

        Agree with this assessment. If people are going to use XP despite (many undocumented) security issues or regardless of what anyone says, steering people toward secure applications is extremely helpful.

        Haven't been on Windows for a while now but there are other utils that I can recall, such has xp-spy (?), that helps further lock down and harden the system. In addition, an evaluation of running services and locking those down (time-consuming) will help further minimize damage on a vulnerable system.

      • Gazoo
        November 2, 2017 at 3:51 pm

        > Now when Windows 7 support ends, it will be another nightmare...

        TBH, The nightmare is trying to convince people to transition to a data-mining, data-sharing, user-tracking Surveillance OS with a straight face. Thankfully, you aren't a Microsoft shill or fanboy (I hope) and can provide other privacy-respecting alternatives.

        Windows 10 is what finally forced me into Linux permanently and I've been ecstatic since. I owe Microsoft that much. I also never touched Windows 8 and it's hybrid and disastrous UI.