I love Quiet Man's sense of humour, and reading his articles. BUT - have you noticed there is always a but?
I attended the release of Windows 95 in, just, 1995 (it was running late), in my former home city of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. The theme of the release,apart from the appropriate Rolling Stones song "Start Me Up", was "Think outside the square you live in". In years to follow, this devolved to "Think outside the box". Edward (aka Eduardo) de Bono in 1967 called it ... Lateral Thinking.
BC's jeffce, from Malware Response Team, has a good article here. I've corresponded with jeff, he seems an approachable fellow.
- As a SHORT term aid to XP users, you should enable displaying full filenames, down to extensions. Adobe have an article here, which details How To, for XP through to 8.x.For prior to that time,you might need to search further afield. Try searching eg "Windows 98 display full filename", &c. For the Adobe article and others, if you/they are using Firefox, with NoScript installed,you will need to temporarily or fully allow the site to display.
- If you are using Firefox without NoScript installed, you should install it immediately.
With 1. above, for all Windows versions listed by Adobe, and before, I would not display hidden files and folders and system files - not for Novices.
Once 1. above is implemented, it should certainly help your friends (and you, perhaps) to NOT fall for the trap listed here, with apparently innocuous PDF files.
CryptoWall, CryptoLocker, Coin Vault - the list goes on and on, and can be read about on the front page NEWS on this site - very doom and gloom, but necessary for the User to know, and brought to us by Grinler and his Team, zealously.
With the demise of support to XP from, was it, April 8? - XP Users have never been more vulnerable. And I had a fondness for XP, also enjoyed Windows 7 before I blew it away to embrace Linux.
BUT - there I go again - to say, as a blanket statement eg "Get a newer version/upgrade", &c discounts the possibility that some of your friends may be elderly and/or impoverished/on Social Security. Any regular Windows User will know that from Vista on, the minimum system requirements for hardware, memory, chip &c - the REAL requirements, not just those advertised - skyrocketed.
Not to mention the wastage involved in throwing out a perfectly good, working computer (and maybe peripherals such as printers) - that were perfectly good with XP.
I read Grinler's News every day, and in this article, I was mortified to read of a fellow who lost 2TB of data of mostly personal and sentimental value. My link brings you in at page 3 but by all means read the whole Topic- page 3, because it mentions ListCWall (available here) and RKill which was developed by and at, BC. I get those two confused, as I don't need them, under Linux ... Yet! So I may have made a boo-boo somewhere referring to them.
Uplifting news I read today, from News, read, in part, from another User:
hope this helps at least one person. The important part was my son's baby pictures were all recovered.
page 4, same topic.
I said above about Lateral Thinking, and a key element that should be in everybody's strategy or arsenal, is ... Linux. I am part way through developing a Topic found in this very Forum, here, about this strategy.
If you search under (without the quotes) "Beat the Black Hats" (space between k and h, or not) you may find that this Topic is ranked No.1 in Google and No.2 in DuckDuckGo and Yahoo.
Given the change in venue of this Topic from XP to General Security, I have no hesitation in shining a light on Linux.
BUT - there I go again - I am neither trying to poach Windows Users from this or any other Forum, nor to gloss over any flaws in Linux Security. It IS demonstrably safer than a Windows ONLY alternative. And as you will find if you read my Topic, there will always be some Jerk who wants to trash your machine because of a mad on against the world (he should employ his talents at an IT Security firm and do something useful). Sad to say, he is a fellow Australian.
Think about all of this, and ask any questions you like, here (your Topic) or there (mine). If there, or even here, I may refer you to previously published and ongoing Topics over at Linux, but don't feel you are getting the Bum's Rush.
For your friends, come armed with specs on - CPU, RAM, HDD storage capacity, and GPU/Video Card if any.