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Upgrading old Windows to GNU/Linux
Connecting old Windows 2000, XP or Vista to the Internet is dangerous. Upgrade to Linux urgently!
My site detected you're using an old Windows 2000, XP or Vista
computer, and I'm worried about your safety. Microsoft's security blog
When Microsoft releases a security update...criminals will...identify the specific section of code that contains the vulnerability...develop code that will allow them to exploit it on systems that do not have the security update installed on them. They also try to identify whether the vulnerability exists in other products...if a vulnerability is addressed in one version of Windows, researchers investigate whether other versions of Windows have the same vulnerability...the Microsoft Security Response Center...[releases] security updates for all affected products simultaneously...But after April 8, 2014, organizations that continue to run Windows XP won't have this advantage over attackers any longer. The very first month that Microsoft releases security updates for supported versions of Windows, attackers will reverse engineer those updates, find the vulnerabilities and test Windows XP to see if it shares those vulnerabilities. If it does, attackers will attempt to develop exploit code that can take advantage of those vulnerabilities on Windows XP. Since a security update will never become available for Windows XP to address these vulnerabilities, Windows XP will essentially have a ``zero day'' vulnerability forever.
This also applies to Windows Vista (which was end-of-life'd on April 11, 2017) and to Windows 2000 and earlier.
What does this mean?
Attackers typically scan across the whole Internet to find computers they can attack. Being `insignificant' does NOT mean you'll escape.
Simply connecting your computer to the Internet will be enough for them to break in and:
- Steal your bank details
- Steal your contact list, sending malicious material to your friends in your name
- Use your computer as a springboard to attack another target or conduct other criminal activity, potentially getting you blamed for it
What can I do?
My suggestion is GNU/Linux
, specifically a ``beginner-friendly'' version like wattOS-LXDE R9
which fits on a CD-ROM, is supported until 2019 and is easily upgradeable thereafter.
- Back up all your documents before you try migrating your computer to Linux. You can do this while trying Linux without installing, but remember it's slow when not using your hard disk.
- If you don't have a CD, you can try "UNetbootin" to set up a USB stick (and wattOS R9 has no trouble installing from USB stick, unlike some versions), or borrow a USB CD reader
- On old Pentium M machines you might need the forcepae boot option. On newer machines you might need to disable "Secure boot" in the BIOS.
- If WiFi doesn't work, try Preferences / Additional Drivers and see what package it needs. If you don't have a wired Internet connection to install these, you'll have to open a Terminal and do apt-get -y --print-uris bcmwl-kernel-source or similar, possibly correct the resulting URLs (e.g.
linux-libc-dev is now in the security updates section of Ubuntu 14.04) and bring them on storage media.
- If the @ and " keys are swapped (and if this bothers the user), try sudo dpkg-reconfigure keyboard-configuration
- For Chinese fonts, sudo apt-get install fonts-wqy-microhei; for pinyin input, sudo apt-get install fcitx-rime (defaults to Traditional; add Simplified via librime-data-pinyin-simp and the HK variant of Cangjie via librime-data-quick5), or for limited single-character handwriting input, sudo apt-get install tegaki-recognize tegaki-zinnia-simplified-chinese and add it as an icon on the application launcher
- Some users might also want Brasero for writing CDs, WINE for running legacy Windows applications, and Libreoffice (don't forget myspell-en-gb)
- Developers: if you've installed the 32-bit version, but have a 64-bit CPU and later want to compile for it, try:
dpkg --add-architecture amd64
apt-get install linux-image-generic:amd64
apt-get install gcc:amd64 cpp:amd64 gdb:amd64
To get more recent compilers, you can upgrade to "Xenial" (16.04 LTS) via do-release-upgrade
and apt-get install lxsession-logout
linux-generic-hwe-16.04:amd64---the latter is necessary to avoid 16.04's "hung shutdown" bug associated with kernel version 4.4.0; obviously include the :amd64 if and only if you've added 64-bit support, in which case you might also need
apt-get install gcc:amd64 cpp:amd64 gcc-5:amd64 cpp-5:amd64 binutils:amd64 g++:amd64 g++-5:amd64 lxrandr:amd64 x11-xserver-utils:amd64
which in 16.04 is somehow incompatible with
libtool (frequently required by
autogen.sh files in source packages) so you might need temporarily to switch back to a 32-bit-only compilation environment in those circumstances, or use conan.io etc instead of autogen.
What if I don't want to install GNU/Linux?
Then you will likely need a new computer
if you wish to continue to use the Internet. Your old computer can perhaps be put to good use by someone who doesn't use the Internet, or by a trustworthy GNU/Linux expert (I say `trustworthy' because they can sometimes recover confidential things you thought you'd deleted). I am not able to give computer buying advice at this time; you could try asking someone who knows the shops in your area. I recommend not
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