Alexander: Prepare yourself for end of Windows XP updates next year

  • Article by: STEVE ALEXANDER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 23, 2013 - 8:49 AM

Q: I’m surprised that I haven’t seen anything in your column about the end of Microsoft support for Windows XP next April. I was warned of dire consequences. Is this a big deal?

Carroll HilleslAND, Plymouth

 

A: Potentially. The loss of Microsoft support means there won’t be any more security updates for Windows XP, now 12 years old, so any new hacking attacks developed against it won’t be blocked.

This vulnerability could affect more than just owners of XP computers. It’s conceivable that someone could exploit a newly found XP vulnerability, take over thousands of existing XP PCs and put them in botnets, groups of compromised PCs used to attack websites or send spam.

That may sound a little far-fetched, but it really isn’t, because experts say there are still about 500 million Windows XP computers being used, or about one-third of world’s existing PCs. That’s despite XP being four generations old, having been succeeded by Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8.

You can mitigate this security risk by getting a newer Web browser. Security experts recommend Google Chrome (see tinyurl.com/bqgtntg) or Mozilla Firefox (see tinyurl.com/plmrs8y.) In addition, antivirus programs for XP will still be available, but it will be more important than ever to keep that software up-to-date.

Rather than run these risks, you should consider replacing Windows XP. I doubt your PC can handle an operating system upgrade, so you’ll need a new one. I suggest a $350 to $400 Windows 7 laptop.

 

Q: I was disappointed that the Windows Movie Maker program you recommended last week won’t work on Windows Vista, which I have. Are there any other options?

Kevin Amundsen, Centerville, Minn.

 

A: There are. Microsoft makes four versions of the free Movie Maker program for Windows 7 and 8, Windows Vista and Windows XP. Find the one you need at tinyurl.com/mnabm7p.

 

Q: My husband took video on our Android smartphone, but the image is sideways when viewed on a PC screen. Is there a way to rotate it?

Alan and Judy Jameson, Ponte Vedra, Fla.

 

A: Download the free Windows Movie Maker program described in the previous answer. After opening the program, click the blue icon in the upper left corner to open the video file you want to adjust. Click “new project,” and then, on the right side of the screen, “click here to browse for videos or photos.” When you’ve loaded your video, use the control in the “Home” tab of the toolbar to rotate the image 90 degrees right or left. Store the adjusted video, and you’ll have a permanent upright copy.

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