My main security tips for running XP machiens are as follows:
1. Ensure you have an antivirus and it is up to date, there are several free ones(on my machine, although it isn't windows XP the same principles apply, i use AVG).
2. Add to this an antimalware tool as a second opinion scanner, some of these also give some realtime protection designed to work alongside your antivirus(for me this is malwarebytes, the free version).
3. And have a third opinion scanner, just for when you feel suspicious but niether your antivirus or antimalware finds anything(on my machine i use ESET online scanner for this).
4. Some users would disagree with me on this tip if i were talking about other operating systens, but for XP make sure to stay away from internet explorer as your browser. Internet explorer in XP no longer gets security updates, but firefox and chrome can both be run on xp in a state just as up-to-date as thye are on more modern operating systems.
5. Use an adblocker (i use adblockplus in firefox) to stop malvertising (one of the biggest threats to users thesdays) and a script blocker to further prevtn drivebys (i use NoScript for this), these tools are particularly important on an XP operating system.
6. Remove pluins which you don't use and remove software which you don't use, the less programs running the less potential places for a vulnerability in your system to be exploited from.
7. Disable plugins except when you need them, set them to "click to play" or "ask to activate" when visiting sites where you may need to use them, set them to fully "disabled" at other times.
8. Update firefox, while i think it's very wise to keep that installer on a disc(one never knows when one might need certain installers while offline) i suggest that as soon as you have installed from it then remove the disc and update firefox to the latest version before doing anything else. Infact it's also a good idea to download the latest version of firefox from it's website and keep it's installer backed up rather than just having the old installer backed up.
9. Backup your files!! Everything above should help you be reasonably secure but if all else fails there is nothing as important as having a clean copy of your precious files on an external medium which you can restore them from, just get a few USB flash drives and make sure to backup not just to one device but to kep several backups of any given precious file.
10. Read about what windows updates for more modern versions of windows are fixing, you might not get the updates any more but by reading what is being fixed you get a sense of where vulnerabilities in xp are found(because many vulnerabilities in the latest windows versions are the same right back to the earliest versions), knowing this can sometimes help you use mitigating factors. For example when an update comes out to fix internet explorer on windows 7,8,8.1 and 10 you can see that IE has a problem and that this problem is likely to extend back to IE on XP so you avoid IE after such news comes out, As another example if an update comes out to fix a vulnerability whcih can be exploited if certain system settings are turned on then assume this goes back to XP as well as to the modern machines which are being updated, and do what you can to avoid having system settings in the vulnerable configuration.
11. make systems images if you can, these are not like backups for your files and shouln't be used as such, but they are a great way to ensure you have a copy of a clean and working system with th programs you like all installed, and you can fall back to it if you get infected.
Edited by rp88, 22 February 2015 - 08:15 PM.
Back on this site, for a while anyway, been so busy the last year.
My systems:2 laptops, intel i3 processors, windows 8.1 installed on the hard-drive and linux mint 17.3 MATE installed to USB