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Which Anti-Virus Is Best For XP?

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014 by | Filed Under: Security Help

Tom from Canton, OH writes:

I am one of those Windows XP holdouts and have tried a few of the PC cleaner programs in addition to the Avast free version for virus protection. I have used a trial of PC Cleaner and I am currently using a trial of Winzip PC Care, which costs $39.95 plus tax. What would you recommend as the top 3 software programs to help protect my computer from viruses, malware or any other destructive software. Will one do it all, if so, which ones? Each one I have used gives me very different results at the end of a scan. I find Winsip is constantly asking me to reboot my computer after the fixes have been completed. which is tedious. Thank you for your help.

Tom, I feel like you’ve just asked me what the safest neighborhood to live in for someone who doesn’t plan on locking their doors.  None of these programs is going to be able to protect your computer fully from threats.

Microsoft is no longer supporting XP. Before support ended, you had a team of Microsoft security professionals who worked continually to counter threats affecting XP. There were a lot of them, as XP was never a particularly secure operating system and was the most frequent subject of attacks.  Those experts shared the fixes for these issues with the makers of security software. To permanently patch vulnerabilities in XP, you need access to the operating system on its most basic level and without the input from Microsoft it just can’t be done.

Right now, most security programs can address vulnerabilities that were known in XP before support ended in April, but cannot protect you from anything new that’s come along since then. And if your computer is infected with something that’s come along since then, you may not even know it. Malware could be stealing your personal information or sending out infected e-mail to contacts or even using your computer to store illegal images.

I can’t recommend any security provider to keep XP safe. My suggestions are to keep XP offline, period.  I would also suggest perhaps setting up a dual boot with a Linux-based OS such as Ubuntu and using that system for any online activity and making changes to your administrator privileges to prevent viruses or malware from taking control of your computer.

~ Cynthia

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6 Responses to “Which Anti-Virus Is Best For XP?”

  1. Tom McGonegal says:

    Microsoft Security Essentials still provides definition updates regularly. This product does a very good job for me.

    Face it people, there are those of us who have older but “working just fine thank you” machines that can’t be upgraded and to put these perfectly good machines in a dumpster is criminal.

    • audra says:

      Hi Tom,

      While your computer may seem to be working fine, and we do understand that it’s not easy to upgrade, you are still at risk when using Microsoft Security Essentials on Windows XP. (Keep in mind, also, that if you do get infected or compromised, it may not be obvious!) I just want you to be aware of that fact, even though MSE may seem to be updating. Here is a statement directly from Microsoft’s own website:

      “Will I still be protected if I use Microsoft Security Essentials?

      No, you will not be protected. Microsoft Security Essentials is no longer available for download on Windows XP, for starters, but even if you already have Microsoft Security Essentials installed, you still won’t be protected—even though you’ll continue to receive antimalware signature updates for a limited time. This is because Microsoft Security Essentials (or any other third-party antivirus software for that matter) will have limited effectiveness on PCs that do not have the latest security updates. What does this mean for you? That your PC running Windows XP will not be secure and will still be at risk for infection. ”

      Here is the link to the website :

  2. Tom McGonegal says:

    Sorry, you can download XP versions on

  3. Allan Brunner says:

    Points taken BUT there is actually nothing wrong with XP apart from the fact that Microsoft wanted everyone to upgrade to Vista (awful), Windows 7 (somewhat of an improvement), Windows 8, then 8.1 and now, God help us, we are going to get 9!

    I use Avast, Iobit Malware and Spybot always loaded and, most important, I have Malabytes and run a scan every month.

    I also DO NOT leave my computer permanently connected to the internet. i.e I turn my router OFF when I’m not using the internet. ALWAYS READ DIALOGUE BOXES CAREFULLY AND MAKE SURE YOU SKIP OR UNTICK ANYHTING THEY OFFER EXCEPT FOR THE PROGRAM YOU WANT TO DOWNLOAD. PUPs tend to be the biggest problem in particular Webfuii and Conduit. Scan your computer regularly and do it when you are off-line. Advanced System Care is also a very useful tool. All this stuff is free in basic format. Also, always have two browsers and two sperate email addresses e.g. IE & Chrome and Hotmail and gmail

  4. Hasty Kayaker says:

    You have provided the users of MS XP very good information on how to survive still using MS XP under the dual system of a Ubuntu OS. I followed your advise and I am flying along with that system as well as using a non-administrator sign in on the old XP system occassionally. It is all going great and I have fought off MS trying to force me into buying their Windows 8 OS Thanks so much. Brillant help!

  5. […] In response to our article, “Which Antivirus is Best For XP?”, Tom states,Microsoft Security Essentials still provides definition updates regularly. This […]

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