The Best Windows XP Software That Still Works
Are you still hanging onto Windows XP 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 . Thus, you should make sure to avoid any 64-bit downloads on these sites.
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 . 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.
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.
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 ) 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.
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 .
Microsoft allows you to download Office 2010 if you have a valid product key . 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 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 .
Microsoft’s official antivirus, now integrated into Windows 10 as Windows Defender , was known as Microsoft Security Essentials on Windows XP. Unsurprisingly, the company no longer supports it , 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.
For other solutions, check out our list of the best Windows antivirus programs . 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.
Nowadays Windows includes solid backup options built-in , 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 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 or similar attacks .
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 . 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.
Let’s briefly take a look at several other important categories of apps that still work on Windows XP.
For local media, nothing beats VLC Media Player — 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 ).
Most other streaming services , like Google Play Music and Pandora, have a web player that should work fine in a supported XP browser.
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 that’s open source, works fine on XP.
You can also try a browser-based solution like Sumo Paint.
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.
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.
Two of the best file compression and extraction programs , 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 , Foxit Reader is a great option. Don’t forget that modern browsers can open PDFs too.
CCleaner, the excellent cleaner utility , 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 instead.
What Windows XP Software Do You Use?
Now you know which software still works on an old XP system 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.
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!
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