Can I continue to use Windows XP safely if I install the
for-pay version of Malwarebytes, which is now considered
to be antivirus software?
William Parks, Newmanstown, Pa.
Readers periodically ask whether they can continue to
use the obsolete Windows XP operating system. This is a
reasonable question, considering that XP is still used
by about 7 percent of all PCs.
best answer is no. You shouldn’t continue to use
Windows XP, which was introduced in 2001, because it no
longer receives security updates from Microsoft (they
were discontinued in 2014.) And XP has already proven to
be vulnerable to internet security threats. Microsoft
issued an emergency security patch for XP in 2017 after
a widespread ransomware attack, in which PC data was
encrypted and only released if the user paid a fee.
can you safely use Windows XP if you take precautions?
Yes, but so many precautions are required that most
people would find it easier to switch to a newer
advice for Windows XP users has revolved around
halfhearted protective measures that might or might not
work — install all available XP updates, use current
antivirus software and avoid using the old (and flawed)
XP-compatible versions of the Internet Explorer browser.
a more comprehensive list of protective measures has
been compiled by a former IBM engineer (see tinyurl.com/mno32gl).
He says these precautions will make XP safe for another
two to three years. After that there probably won’t be
any XP-compatible software that still receives security
updates. His list includes:
Never download anything.
Avoid social media sites, including Facebook and
Use only the Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox browsers,
and disable vulnerable browser add-on programs
(sometimes called plug-ins) such as Java, Flash Player
and Adobe Reader.
Use "whitelisting" software that allows only
specified programs to run on the PC and limits your web
browsing to only approved websites (see tinyurl.com/ydhud5y4
Don’t use XP’s firewall software, its Media Player
audio-video program, or the XP-era versions of the
Outlook and Outlook Express e-mail programs — all are
vulnerable to tampering. He also recommends using two
firewalls — one in your home router and the other on
Log in to your PC with a nonadministrator account (see
tinyurl.com/y7msv23m), which makes hacking the PC more
The Mozilla Firefox browser recently stopped working
with my printer. The printer still works with Google’s
Chrome browser and with nonbrowser programs, such as
Photoshop CS2. What can I do? Do I need to upgrade from
Windows 8.1 to Windows 10?
Jeff Dean, Tucson, Ariz.
Because the printer works and you can print with the
Chrome browser, the problem probably lies within Firefox.
Try altering the Firefox printer settings or changing
the typeface Firefox uses to print (see tinyurl.com/k469mzl).
If that doesn’t work, switch to Chrome. You don’t
need to upgrade to Windows 10, which causes problems
with Photoshop CS2, introduced in 2005.