My office has about 20 PCs running Windows XP. I got a message saying that Microsoft is no longer releasing any security patches for Windows XP. However, we find that XP is very convenient for our work. Please suggest some possible ways to keep Using Windows XP for my PCs without any risk.
Disconnect from the Internet, don't allow any external devices to be connected to your network and physically guard your computers to make sure that nobody violates the no external devices rule, and you'd be fine.
Otherwise the only option is to upgrade. Since security updates are no longer provided, any newly discovered vulnerabilities would remain unpatched and an attacker (either external or internal) would have an easy time of using one of those unpatched vulnerabilities to access your systems if they can connect to them in any way. Keep in mind that a large portion of attacks originate from disgruntled internal workers and unpatched vulnerabilities will mean that tools will become easily available to let even a relatively unskilled user make use of complex vulnerabilities.
There is no way to secure against this cost effectively other than to upgrade to an OS that still receives patch support to counter security flaws as they are discovered. Honestly, if you are concerned about properly securing your business, it was past time to upgrade from XP even prior to the end of life. There are numerous performance and security enhancements in Windows 7 that rendered XP obsolete from a security perspective years before end of life was reached.
This depends on why you aren't upgrading.
The vast majority of security holes in Windows XP are in Internet Explorer. If you can completely eliminate the use of IE to view external content (and this includes hidden uses such as reading HTML emails in Outlook), you can keep your computers reasonably secure from outside attack, at least in the short term. This is harder than it sounds, though, since a great many applications embed IE as an HTML renderer.
If you aren't upgrading because some task requires a specific version of Internet Explorer, there's nothing you can do.
Microsoft has a special support for XP for large companies, but I think it is expensive for smaller ones http://gcn.com/blogs/pulse/2013/09/xp-support-for-a-price.aspx .
There is one way how to receive XP updates until 2019, but it is not advised by Microsoft. The info is from this site http://www.sebijk.com/community/board15-other/board73-tutorials/2985-getting-xp-updates/ and I have to say that there is a warning on that page:
ATTENTION: Use at your own risk! These updates are not tested on a regular XP system and could damage your system.
Microsoft have released a warning, too.
You have to write to a text editor the next few lines of code:
Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
and save it as a .Reg file. You have to save it exactly as it is, with the blank lines. Than just double click on it and allow it to save to Windows XP registry. I tried it and it worked, I began to receiving new updates. But it is not my only one PC so if something happens it is not such a big problem for me and I am not running a business on it.
I heard that Horizon Datasys (the makers of Rollback RX) is developing a freeware version of Rollback exclusively for XP users to stay protected.
There has been a deal with Microsoft and the UK Government that has enabled the government's Windows XP machines to be patched for another year - so if you want continued patching and support then this is the only secure way to go if you refuse to move from XP assuming you don't want to isolate your machines (but you will still be forced to upgrade after the period ends in a year). No general deal has yet been announced to make this available to private companies and end users.
Also, there have been hacks posted that allow updates to continue, such as this one. Whether the hack will allow you to receive the same updates is another matter, but it could provide short term protection to buy you a little more time to rollout an upgrade ASAP. As @elsadek notes in the comments this could result in broken or reduced functionality.
I have a Windows XP machine that is being used due to some legacy software. In order to protect it- I put in multiple layer of protection. Av, Malwarebytes and monitor my network as well. Of course keep an updated back up.
Recently I have come across this freeware known as RollBack XP. This definitely helps in protecting Windows XP by allowing you to revert back to a previous state before the system crashed or got infection.
I am still testing the RollBack XP. So far so good.
More info on RollBack XP:http://www.horizondatasys.com/en/RollBack_XP.ihtml