To paraphrase Mark Twain:  'The death of Windows XP has been greatly exaggerated'.  I'm running Windows XP with SP3 and Windows updates turned off.  By installing the utilities below, I have never suffered from a virus, malware or a computer hijack.

I'm also running Google Chrome with two extensions, Ad Block and Do Not Track Me.  Why Chrome?  It is client-server, which means you never have to update it on your computer (the client), as all updates occur on the Google end (the server).  However, I've found that Chrome no longer updates and has given the Blue Screen of Death while trying to access some newer websites.  So, I've moved on to Firefox, which has no issues with XP.

If you need computer help at a reasonable rate, call on Walt.  Here's his ad:

Free software to protect your computer:

 AVG:  http://free.avg.com/us-en/homepage [remove other AV software first]

Make sure to choose the free version

Do a custom install so you can uncheck the optional features

Once installed, keep checking for updates until there are no more

Do a whole computer scan once.  After that, AVG checks incoming files.

You may have to reboot - AVG will notify you.

Once installed, protection is automatic; nothing else for you to do.

 Spybot – Search and Destroy:  http://www.safer-networking.org/

I've removed Spybot, as Super Antispyware does the job of both, but I left the reference as I have not updated the User Manual.

Download the free home version

Updates happen on Wednesdays

Three steps:  Update, Immunize, Search & Destroy

Update:  Check the Update button in the column.  Then click the green cross Update in the horizontal bar.

Once problems are fixed, weekly updates/immunize will be sufficient; search & destroy can be run monthly or as needed

Super Antispyware:  http://www.superantispyware.com/

Download the free addition

Requires updates and scanning

Do an initial full computer scan, and then do quick scans

Easy Cleaner:

http://download.cnet.com/ToniArts-EasyCleaner/3000-2094_4-10522776.html

Download Easy Cleaner only

Configure program:  Click on Options, then the Unnecessary Files tab.  Change from Recycle Bin to Permanent Delete, then click OK

Use to eliminate unnecessary files (normal & temp directories) and check the registry

Other uses, such as start up programs are useful

Ccleaner:  http://www.piriform.com/ccleaner/download

Download free version from Piriform

Cleaning options:  After initial cookie check, uncheck cookies in each of the two cleanup tabs.  Check ‘don’t show again’ to the popup window that you will delete files.

Registry:  Check for problems and fix all. Also, you do not need to back up the registry

Defraggler:  http://www.piriform.com/defraggler/download

Download free version from Piriform

To use, simply select a drive and click defrag

Use after all other disk cleanups and checks have been performed

If files are in the Recycle Bin, an option to empty it will display 

Easy Cleaner and Ccleaner complement each other; one finds what the other may miss.  Run these plus Super AntiSpyware and Defraggler weekly.

Steve Gibson freeware:  http://www.grc.com/cookies/notice.htm

Find the programs shown below; you may want others

Place everything in a folder \GRC for easy reference.

 Shoot the messenger:  Download & disable Windows Messenger

Dcom:  Download and disable Dcom

SocketLock:  download & disable raw sockets

Wizmo:  This handy program is invoked with a command.  Use it to create shortcuts to Shut Down, Reboot, Open CD drive, etc.

These all work with XP; some may not be needed with later systems.

Once Shoot the Messenger, DCOM and SocketLock have been run, you need not run them again unless the C: partition is formatted and reloaded.

AVG thinks the GRC programs are viruses; if flagged, choose ‘Allow’ to add them to the exception lists.  You can also tell AVG that these are OK by opening the AVG User Interface.  Pull down ‘Options’, select ‘Advanced Settings’ and ‘Exceptions’.  Add these programs to the exceptions list.

Except for the GRC programs, there are advanced features which require your VISA card.  It’s your money, but you do not need to pay for anything.  Be warned:  Follow install instructions, or undesired events happen.  For example, doing the AVG using Express will change your default search provider and add toolbars that you most likely do not want.  Java updates do the same thing; you have to uncheck options or you will install either the Ask toolbar or McAfee.  READ EVERYTHING!

This link downloads the manual:  Computer Cleanup.doc