7 Tips to Keep Windows XP Running (For Years...)

If you'd prefer to skip Vista and wait for the next Windows release, you’ll need to use some serous life extension techniques.


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If all goes as anticipated (and it never does), Windows 7 will arrive in 2010. Therefore, if you’ve done the math that means Windows XP, originally released in 2001, will be nine years old. A nine-year-old operating system is human equivalent of a centenarian.

As we know this is no easy feat it calls for some serious life extension techniques.

I think this is a fitting analogy actually, since running Windows XP for another 1-2 years is a very real possibility for some. After all, many who despised Vista will likely not only wait for Windows 7 to release. They will most likely wait for the first service pack to arrive before making a change. That would put us possibly into 2011.

So if you want to see Windows XP make it to the ripe old age of ten, you should likewise take steps to keep it in good health.

1) Run Windows Updates

As an IT Director, I cannot recall how many times I had someone bring me a PC with XP installed on it from home and tell me it does not work right. Nine times out of ten, the Windows updates were not done.

In a few cases, they had not even installed SP2. When XP was released, many of the technologies we have available today were in their infancy or non-existent. Keeping Windows updated will help keep you running well.

2) Add Memory and Move Data Online or to an External Drive

It is no secret Windows runs better with more memory, so maximize XP by adding RAM.

Another essential fact: Windows runs better if you have at least 20 percent disk space available. With the advent of downloadable Music and Movies (legally of course), you need to beware. Both RAM and storage are cheap these days so why not invest in some to keep your system in an optimal state. At a mere 38 years old (in human years) I wish I could just simply add some extra memory or possibly off-load some things to external memory. Perhaps they will have that available by 2010 as well…

3) Run System & Driver Updates

Another area that even many IT people are guilty of, is not updating the system itself. BIOS updates and driver updates go a long way to help keep things running smoothly.

It is important to remember, though, with driver updates, never run the “beta driver.” It is also a good idea to backup your system, in case the driver causes something to stop working.

Now it bears saying that if it’s not broke, don’t fix it, likewise you may be living with some issues. If you fit this description you need to decide if you’re happy with the issue from the driver. In that case perhaps you can live with it for a while longer.

4) Do Not Keep Up with the Joneses

The latest and greatest is always the smartest and efficient. Many of the software packages created today are built for the Vista platform or beyond. New software is always coded new systems and vice-versa.

So you need to decide if the latest version of Office or the newest Adobe Acrobat release is really necessary. If you can live without it (and be honest with yourself) than run the older version. Both you and XP will be happier.

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Tags: Windows, Vista, Windows XP, music, RAM upgrade

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