Windows XP "Hardening" As Time Runs Out

In terms of computer security, "hardening" refers to just that - a toughening of the sorts of shields we can implement to try and secure, in this case, a 13-year old soon-to-be-abandoned operating system in the form of Windows XP. In April 2014, Microsoft will stop issuing new security updates for XP, and it will inevitably become more susceptible to security vulnerabilities. Other than buying an upgraded version of Windows, or a new computer, or even switching to an alternative operating system such as Linux, what can you do to avoid Bad Things happening?

While I would say you can't truly harden an unsupported operating system, there are things you can do mitigate risks as much as practically possible, such as outlined in this article in PCWorld. To the suggestions in the article, I would definitely add that you should uninstall Java and Adobe Flash, two very popular vectors by which personal computers are infected with malware. 

Remember that modern malware often targets personal and financial information, and so the stakes can be high. You don't just risk losing a few infected files, but possibly your identity and financial standing; so it really is something to take seriously. This is a potential worry with any computer connected to the Internet - which most are - but doubly so on one running an old, unsupported OS.

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