Windows XP is a 13 year-old operating system that is still used by a lot of people (including me on my 6-year-old laptop). In fact, there are a lot of ATMs that still use XP. However, in April of this year, Microsoft will stop supporting Windows XP in terms of software updates(in other words, XP will no longer be supported). You can still use it, but Microsoft has said that they will only give anti-malware support until 2015.
With that being said, What can you do with that old computer?
There are two main operating systems, which dominate the market at the moment and they are Mac OS X and Windows. However, there is also Linux, which you might be able to install on an older computer.
I have previously talked about the many benefits of Linux. One of them being that it’s more secure than Windows as software updates are released on a daily basis instead of the second Tuesday of every month. In particular, I recommend XUbuntu. It is a lighter distribution of Linux, which can be installed on older machines to make them run faster than they would with Windows. I have Xubuntu installed on my 6-year-old Windows XP laptop and it is working really well. In fact, I would safely say that Xubuntu has breathed some more life into said laptop. In fact, installing Linux on it is really easy if you use Wubi. This will allow you to install and uninstall Linux on your computer as if it was a Windows application. If you want something that is really lightweight, then I would recommend Lubuntu which was made for older computers.
The other thing that you could do is air-gap the computer. This means, that the computer will be offline and it will have no way of connecting to the internet. Why would you do this? Let’s say that you have a lot of confidential data that you cannot trust the internet with. You would not want them online. Therefore, the best way to keep them safe is to transfer them to your air-gapped computer. Better still, you could even encrypt the entire drive using TrueCrypt. So the only way that you could transfer your data to the computer is via a USB flash drive. Simply put, you could treat it as a data safe where your confidential data is stored.
Last but not least, you could sell it on eBay and get some money out of it. You might not get a lot of money for it, but you never know. At best, you could get about £200 for it if you are really lucky. Just make sure that you wipe the hard drive completely clean using something such as Darik’s Boot and Nuke. That way, the person who buys it has no way of getting at the data on there. Of course, you will want to back everything up before wiping it. Because once you wipe it, then the data is gone for good. You could then use the money you get from the sale to slightly offset the cost of buying a new one. Thankfully computers are now really inexpensive to buy.
If your windows XP computer is really old (i.e. 13 years old), then it’s time to get a new computer. I hate to make people spend money, but it might be time.
In terms of what to do, there are clearly a few options. If you are trying to save some money, then it might be worth trying out Linux using Wubi. However, if you want to get rid of it, wipe it clean and sell it on eBay.
What are you going to do when support runs out for your Windows XP computer? Let me know in the comments.