Security Windows

Windows XP Update: More Tools To Keep You Safe

Tina Sieber 16-09-2014

Windows XP has been without support since April Windows XP: What's Happening To It Now? Windows XP may be dead, but it's not yet gone. Over 27% of computers connected to the Internet still run Windows XP. Here's exactly what "end of support" means for Windows XP systems. Read More this year. While its market share is declining (~24% in August), many users can’t afford to upgrade their computer Upgrade From Windows XP to a Modern OS in 7 Simple Steps It's time to say goodbye! Microsoft is ending official support for Windows XP on April 8 2014. Are you at risk? If you are still running this ancient operating system, it's time to upgrade. Read More and are stuck with a vulnerable operating system. If you are not yet ready to migrate to Linux The Best Linux Distributions For Windows XP Refugees Read More , here are two more ways to keep Windows XP safe, especially after a reinstallation.


Update Windows XP With Unofficial Service Pack 4

The unofficial SP4 (USP4), which we introduced recently Windows XP Gets Service Pack 4, Google Tests Delivery Drones, And More... [Tech News Digest] Also, the iPhone scores a hot date, the Surface Pro 3 comes to more territories, the Coolest Cooler breaks Kickstarter record, a visual representation of the Internet, and Microsoft commissions a bizarre recruitment video. Read More , has been developed since September 2013. USP4 is a cumulative update rollup for Windows XP x86, containing all post-SP3 updates distributed via Windows Update Windows Update: Everything You Need to Know Is Windows Update enabled on your PC? Windows Update protects you from security vulnerabilities by keeping Windows, Internet Explorer, and Microsoft Office up-to-date with the latest security patches and bug fixes. Read More . It can be applied to a running system (SP1 and up) or it can be added to an installation medium.

Currently in Beta 3, a first release candidate is expected shortly. Future versions of USP4 are expected to contain further security enhancements, including registry updates to fix potential vulnerabilities.

While we caution inexperienced readers planning to download and install unofficial service packs, we feel that this particular product may be safer than not updating Windows XP at all. Please download from the original source only!

Restore Windows XP With RollBack XP

RollBack XP can create full copies of your system and undo changes whenever you want. It’s like creating a Windows System Restore Point How To Fix Your PC Using Windows Restore in XP, Vista & 7 Read More , only better. Snapshots can be taken within seconds while the system is running. Restores are instant, only requiring you to reboot once. You can even restore from an unbootable Windows XP. Best of all, this tool is free for Windows XP users.

Set Your Baseline

After installation, RollBack XP establishes a baseline snapshot. Access the Baseline Manager under Tools & Settings or by clicking CTRL + L to update your baseline after installing service packs or other important updates.


Baseline Manager

Take Snapshots & Lock Important Ones

To take a new snapshot, open the respective menu item, click New, enter a name and description, decide whether or not you want to lock this snapshot, and click Next. The procedure only takes a few seconds. Click Finish when completed.

The free version allows you to store up to 10 snapshots simultaneously. Selected snapshots can be locked, so they won’t get deleted once you exhaust your allowance or allocated disk space.

Explore Snapshots & Recover Files

RollBack XP provides an easy way to look into snapshots and recover files. Navigate to the Instant Recovery menu item, select Explore Snapshot, pick a snapshot, and click Explore. Your snapshot will be mounted as a virtual drive. Select Open Virtual Drive(s) and look for a new drive under Devices with Removable Storage; this is your system snapshot.


Virtual Drive

When you right-click a file on the virtual drive, you will see the menu option to Restore from snapshot. Unfortunately, this option didn’t seem to function. Instead, just copy and paste the file or folder.

To recover specific files, select the respective option under Instant Recovery. Here you can search by file name, file type, or file location. Searching for a file name did not return any results in our trial, but finding folders or file types worked just fine.

Roll Back To An Earlier Snapshot

When you decide to roll back your system to an earlier snapshot, you can exclude files from being rolled back. Alternatively, you can create a snapshot prior to rolling back and explore saved data using the file recovery wizard. The wizard will launch automatically after a successful rollback or you can access the Recover Files option via the Instant Recovery menu. Of course you can also back up your data to an external drive, something you should do either way.


Roll Back System

Note that when you reset to your baseline, you will lose everything, including snapshots. Rolling back to the baseline, however, will preserve snapshots and enable you to recover files.

Reset To Baseline

Schedule Snapshots & Rollback Events

You can set the tool’s Task Scheduler Run Programs Automatically Using Windows Task Scheduler Read More to create or restore snapshots at a desired interval or time point. This feature is ingenious because rolling back to a snapshot on a schedule (for example on every restart) effectively deep freezes your system. In other words, should you ever break something or pick up malware, a simple reboot will take care of it.


Task Scheduler

What If Windows No Longer Boots?

RollBack XP is more than a simple Windows tool. It launches before Windows boots and thus can be accessed even when Windows fails to start up. Click the Home button on your keyboard to launch RollBack XP’s sub-console, which will allow you to restore any previously made snapshot or recover data.

Feeling Safe?

The tools above can help you secure and restore your system, but they won’t protect you from being hacked 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 and having sensible data stolen! If you are forced to stick to Windows XP, however, make an effort to use software that offers updates for Windows XP Which Browser Is Most Secure on Your Old Windows XP System? What is the most secure browser for Windows XP? We look at Firefox, Chrome, Opera and more to see if they are the best browsr for Windows XP. Read More , including anti malware and antivirus tools, keep that software updated, and generally bulletproof your machine 4 Ways To Bulletproof Windows XP Forever Windows XP is slated to be exterminated for good by Microsoft in April of 2014. It is the last stage of a multi-year effort to kill off the operating system. Windows XP is one of... Read More .

Keeping Windows XP secure 7 Ways to Ensure Your Loved Ones' PC Will Never Need Fixing Are you tech support for your family or friends? Do you receive frantic calls because they've installed malware or somehow managed to break their computer and they need you to fix it? This can be... Read More is a Sisyphean undertaking; you can only lose. We recommend that you upgrade your computer as soon as possible. Meanwhile, what do you do to keep Windows XP running smoothly?

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  1. Sylvie
    September 22, 2014 at 12:17 am

    I suspect there is a little bit more involved than just downloading and installing. I've looked at Ubuntu and my eyes started to glaze over with all the incomprehensible tech talk. When you are a geek, everything looks easy.

    • Litruv
      September 24, 2014 at 5:25 am

      ..H..ow.. ?
      You stick it on a dvd and hit enter a couple times once you reboot?

      • PoobuntuMiffed
        February 10, 2016 at 6:01 pm

        You lie, Litruv (lying by omission is still lying).
        So, follow your advice... burn Ubuntu to a DVD and boot to the installer. Install it. Then try to use it for day-to-day desktop/consumer tasks.
        Then you watch how there's no graphics acceleration for video (the hardware video acceleration for x264 VC1 etc is unsupported) in Nvidia for cards below the Geforce 210.
        Which is basically all older hardware that "they" say Linux is useful for resurrecting from lack of Windows support. Er, pull the other one - older hardware needs all discrete card acceleration enabled and pulling it's weight to save CPU and RAM.
        Nvidia are the BEST graphics card support under Linux, too, AFAIK.

        Well done for ignoring this, which is just ONE of the most obvious issues.
        Then, Flash video isn't accelerated anyway, unless you're lucky, and Flash hasn't been updated since version 11 for Linux. Good riddance, but still required for consumers to use until further notice.

        Then there's dependency hell when it comes to updates and runtimes.
        Then, the choice of desktop environment, at least one of which will have major bugs making it unusable for a reliable main machine... and then there's bugs not getting fixed between two to three or more major (including LTS) versions of the OS. Whilst unimportant superficial bullshit gets updated with immense pride. So goes the free-for-all that is FOSS, but this bugs-gamble that is using Linux is such a pain!

        Did I mention the hell that is trying to get ANY laptop to power-save properly (even going so far as to cause HARDWARE DAMAGE by overheating in some clock-speed-(heat)-sensitive models).

        Or how hard it is to get a quality DVD burn done, on decent hardware. Or accessing NTFS at any kind of reasonable speed (clue: 45-55MBps on 100MBps-capable hardware isn't worth it).

        Oh, and they broke SAMBA and don't seem to care enough to fix it. A major reason for running Linux in the first place - a reasonably-secure file-server. Broken completely.

        Oh, yeah, the most obvious (but at least admitted-to) Restricted Extras installation is easy enough - ONCE you get the proper instructions, which Ubuntu's official documentation is pathetic and incomplete at. Even for this simple, instantly-noob-alienating issue.

        That's just the -Ubuntu-based beginners / mainstream flavour of Linux - i.e. the EASIEST of the bunch. Let alone anything less commonly-used / updated.
        ArchWiki is a very good source of information, conspicuously separate from the Ubuntu / Canonical universe.

        But yeah, just put the iso on a DVD, and "hit enter a couple times" - right?

  2. Col. Panek
    September 19, 2014 at 12:32 am

    This is waaay more complicated than just downloading Zorin, Mint, Puppy, or Lubuntu and installing it. You will never look back!

  3. Godel
    September 17, 2014 at 10:56 pm

    If you browse with XP, consider using Sandboxie or similar as an extra security aid. It may help to keep some of the internet nasties isolated.

  4. A41202813GMAIL
    September 17, 2014 at 2:56 pm

    Problem Is, Do You Trust An Unofficial Source ?


    Regarding M$ Download Center:

    A - Even After APRIL, 8 M$ Still Released Some Updates,

    B - You Need IE To Use The M$ Download Center Because No Other Browser Is Allowed,

    C - M$ 'Tweaked' IE8 To Be Installed On VISTA Only.

    I Love Walled Gardens - Fortunately I Know 2 Sites That Allow The Download Of Legacy Software - They Were 3 But 1 Went Kaput.

    1 Of Them Has A WIKIPEDIA Article - Search "Because Newer Is Not Always Better".

    Because Internet Sites Are Always 'Bloating', I Need A Faster Recent Machine, And Installing XP In It Is Not A Problem, If And When I Buy One.



    ( Five Years And Counting )


  5. Fred M
    September 17, 2014 at 9:14 am

    I look at it this way: XP went bye bye and so did this customer!

  6. Tina S
    September 16, 2014 at 9:30 pm

    In its current form, yes. In future releases, SP4 will go further than simply compiling updates since SP3 and include registry tweaks that will make the OS more secure.

  7. Anonymous
    September 16, 2014 at 8:37 pm

    I set my XP computer to pretend that it is POSReady 2009 which is a variant of Win XP SP3. Now I get Security Updates and updates for IE8 directly from Microsoft Updates - just like before. It works fine.
    Notice that it doesn't cost Microsoft one penny extra for you to maintain your copy of XP this way - since they are already obligated to do these security fixes for their existing POSReady users.

    • Mike Merritt
      September 20, 2014 at 3:09 pm

      This sounds great. I'd rather take my chances with a Microsoft sourced update, than something prepared by an unknown author. How do we know that this "UNOFFICIAL" SP4 isn't filled with Easter Eggs, Call-Homes, Key Loggers, etc ?

    • Niyas
      September 25, 2014 at 7:02 pm

      Read the statement from a Microsoft spokesperson regarding the update hack :

      "We recently became aware of a hack that purportedly aims to provide security updates to Windows XP customers. The security updates that could be installed are intended for Windows Embedded and Windows Server 2003 customers and do not fully protect Windows XP customers. Windows XP customers also run a significant risk of functionality issues with their machines if they install these updates, as they are not tested against Windows XP. The best way for Windows XP customers to protect their systems is to upgrade to a more modern operating system, like Windows 7 or Windows 8.1."

  8. ed
    September 16, 2014 at 5:33 pm

    Wouldn't a regularly updated system already contain the updates present in USP4?

    I heard this update might also include the updates currently being provided to ATMs though. So I may have answered my own question.

    Too bad consumers currently stuck on XP probably have very little idea that Linux distros even exist. Also, many businesses would be simply unwilling to make the change for various reasons.

    I think the govt in Munich switched to Linux and the Italian city of Turin will be switching from XP to Ubuntu down the road too.