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goretsky

Are you still using Windows XP?

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In my opinion, the security software folks should concentrate on protecting the rest of us from the infected XP users and let them sink or swim. Certainly I have no sympathy for any XP user who gets a cryptovirus or other nasty worm. They should know better. However, I don't need a bot army doing DDOS attacks or writing spam.

In the past, I recommended Linux to replace XP. However, some XP machines are now so old (32-bit single core AMD processors) that even Linux is getting hard to run properly. There comes a time when old hardware just has to be recycled.

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In my opinion, the security software folks should concentrate on protecting the rest of us from the infected XP users and let them sink or swim.
That's a good point and I believe the security program developers are trying and for the most part, doing a great job. The problem is humans are too gullible. We fall for scams too easily and "click" on things we shouldn't. That's why "social engineering" methods of malware distribution are so effective. The best security software in the world is useless if the user opens the door and invites the bad guy in.

 

Those of us participating in and reading this thread are likely disciplined to avoid being "click-happy" on unsolicited links, downloads, attachments and popups. And we are disciplined at keeping our systems updated. But some of us may have other users of our computers who lack such discipline. And of course, most users just are not that disciplined. In fact, that is exactly why Microsoft has decided to, by default, make sure Windows 10 is protected by Windows Defender and is kept updated by default with Windows Update. Microsoft would rather get blamed for being less flexible than allowing systems get infected. And I applaud them for that.

 

But as you noted, even if you and I keep our systems updated and secure, that does nothing to prevent compromised systems from launching DDoS attacks on our banks, our city's 911 call centers, airlines, GitHub, and other popular sites.

 

One of the more frustrating things for me is it is not like there was no warning about XP. Microsoft announced years in advance support was ending. We are actually going through the same thing right now with Vista but the user base is so tiny, the impact is just too insignificant.

 

But my fear is the lessons learned with XP will quickly be forgotten, or more likely ignored with Windows 7 - which I point out is already pushing 9 years old and Windows 7 mainstream support ended over 3 years ago! Even mainstream support for Windows 8.1 ended this last January yet users are still clinging to, even rolling back to W7 today - often due simply to false beliefs and misinformation. :(

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I think and I hope that I have migrated all my important user data onto more modern hard drives, but I have a stack of old hard drives I will probably keep as backups forever. I also have 20 hard drives in removable cases that fit my Windows 2000 computer, most holding family video. I keep them as a backup. There is just too much video to go through to make sure the more modern copies didn't accidentally lose anything while being recopied over the years. The same for old documents and emails. I can't open all of them to make sure they are still intact.

 

For genealogy it is not always easy to use modern hardware. Last year I tried looking at some Family Search Pedigree Resource File CDs from the year 1999-2000 that could not be read on Windows 7 or 10, or XP. There were 125 family tree CDs made between 1999 and 2005. Then they went to DVDs from 2006-2010 for the final 25 disks. Some of the later CDs have an updated program that allows me to use an XP computer to access the earliest CDs so I probably won't have to use the Windows 98 computer for them again. But I could not get them to work on Windows 7 or 10. Maybe one of the later DVDs that I do not have has been updated enough to work. Anyway, the main program holds an index which then tells you which of the 150 CD/DVDs has the file you want to look at, so you then insert that CD to read. It is a slow process, but some of the data is not otherwise available anywhere and some of the people who submitted the genealogy are long gone.

 

I also received floppy disks that had data in a proprietary file that required the original program to convert to a more modern format. If I understood it correctly, the program is 16 bit but will run on a 32 bit version of Windows. So I used an old computer to access the data, then converted it to a format what works with modern Windows 10 compatible programs.

 

This could happen again and again with genealogy. Distant relatives pass away and leave genealogy disks from the 1980s or 1990s that are in old file formats. One of my most active genealogy cousins is in her seventies and uses a program from 2008 (I think it is an older version of Family Tree Maker) and refuses to upgrade or share disks with anyone. In ten or twenty years or more when she is gone someone will have to convert her data into a usable format for the time. That will likely require an old computer.

 

There is no need to fear my old computers will be used in bot attacks. They are just turned on when needed and don't have enough processing speed or memory to display modern web pages or YouTube videos. I do not think people who cannot afford a new computer would leave their old one running 24/7 and running up the electric bill. Most of the people I know who are not upgrading, like my still active cousin, are running Windows 7.

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One of my cousins was a long time Bell technical employee and one of the first to use a personal computer for family genealogy. Unfortunately, his PC was one that ran CP/M. His files are now useless but before he passed away in the late 90s he gave me a paper printout. I have migrated all that stuff to the cloud (I pay Ancestry to keep it available.) I basically had to keypunch it from paper data.

I don't know why anyone would keep ancestral data private (living people are an exception.) And folks who insist on obsolete software or dying formats like floppy disks might as well make a paper printout because that is all that will be readable in 50 years.

I have the same worries about digital photo technology. I have family gathering photos from 1917 which are just as viewable today as when they were made. I wonder if 100 years from now anyone will be able to see the photos I took yesterday.

Edited by raymac46
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I have a stack of old hard drives
I was in the same boat. I decided that boat was sinking and better do something about it. You should too.

 

How many of those old hard drives use the now obsolete EIDE (PATA) interface? There is a good chance your current computer may not support EIDE and an even greater chance your next computer definitely wont. The same thing is likely to happen to SATA as the SATA interface no longer provides the bandwidth needed to support the latest SSD speeds. For this reason' date=' the PCIe interface is being used and that trend will likely continue to the point SATA will be phased out too.

 

Then as ramac46 noted, operating systems change and even programs to open/view those data files are phased out. Many of us saw this with PeachTree when WordStar took over. Then again with Word. Even as each new version of Word comes out, files need to be converted. So just keeping old data files may not be good enough. It is often necessary to convert them to new formats but even that can be a challenge with much older formats.

 

This same file format compatibility issue happens with files saved on memory sticks and optical disks too.

 

Another problem with old drives that have been sitting on the shelf for years is the drive motor lubricants can settle in the bottom of the bearing channels leaving the upper portions of the bearing tracks and the bearings in them dry. This can result in the bearings seizing. Or in some cases, the chemical composition of the lubricants breakdown and separate, again causing the bearings to seize.

 

So I think you should do what I did and get yourself a drive docking station like one of these. These are much more convenient than any cable and connector adapter setup. You connect these you a free USB port, then slip your drive in the slot and copy your files. You should do this with all of those drives. Then "wipe" all the drives.You can use CCleaner's Disk Wiper feature to wipe a hard disk. Or Eraser which uses DBAN technologies is popular too. So is KillDisk.

 

Windows 10 now includes an excellent wipe feature for hard drives too. From an elevated command prompt (Run as administrator), simply enter: format d: /p:3 then press Enter. This will format drive d and write 0s in every sector 3 times. Change the drive letter as necessary and the number to the desired number of additional passes. Note more than 1 pass is really overkill unless you are an international spy, the accountant for the mob or drug cartel, or have some other really incriminating materials on them. :ermm:

 

If you discover a drive is no longer readable, it should be physically destroyed. Beating the cr@p of them with a 16lb sledge hammer is a great stress reliever, but hard on the back. I used to just drill 3 holes through the drive about 1 inch from the center hub. But now we have access to a real drive shredder which are a lot more fun. If no shredder access, drill holes.

 

his PC was one that ran CP/M.
This was actually one of the primary reasons XP was less secure from day 1. Corporations (Microsoft's largest user base) insisted XP supported all their legacy hardware and software because they did not want to go through the major expense (with no returns on the investment) of having to retool and buy all new hardware and software like they did before moving from CP/M to DOS, then from DOS to Windows 3.x, and again Windows 3.x to W95/98. They did not want to do it yet again going from W95/98 to XP. This forced Microsoft to sacrifice security for legacy support of less secure HW and SW. Of course then, the bad guys moved in but who got blamed? Not the corporations. Not even the bad guys. Microsoft did and that is why, starting with W7 they now put security above legacy support even though they knew and know they will still get blamed for failing to support our old hardware and software. But they would much rather get blamed for that instead of a lack of security - and I think they are right on that.
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Ray, if you want another place to store a family tree for free there is a not very well known place on FamilySearch where you can upload a GEDCOM file. They say they will preserve them indefinitely.

 

You might need a free account and be sign signed in to see this page. Scroll to the bottom of the page to see the submit tree button.

 

https://www.familysearch.org/family-trees

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still have 5 XP pc's in use at work.

One is rarely used and on its way out as the user has already mostly used to W7.

one is used once a month, plan is in work to obviate the need .

one is used for a particular piece of software.

and one more is still being used way too much by someone who already has an W7 pc. this one is proving tough.

last one is on its way out, it was needed for something that required IE and Flash. that device has been replaced.

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Ray, if you want another place to store a family tree for free there is a not very well known place on FamilySearch where you can upload a GEDCOM file. They say they will preserve them indefinitely.

 

You might need a free account and be sign signed in to see this page. Scroll to the bottom of the page to see the submit tree button.

 

https://www.familyse...rg/family-trees

Thanks Robert. I should probably do that to help them out. I have an account there and often use it.

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I may have a few XP virtual machines running at work as network penetration testing targets for our computer security investigation students.

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I have an XP SP3 desktop for old software and devices in the utility room.

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Nope all XP rigs are gone to the great scrapyard in the sky. Only have W7 up and running due to gaming. :breakfast:

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still have 3 going, only one every day. It runs a specific piece of software and is not connected to the internet.

 

1 pc is very close to being retired, if it hasn't been already.

 

1 is turned on once a month to produce printouts, no internet connection. getting the printouts converted to newer methods just isn't a priority of any sort.

 

Nope all XP rigs are gone to the great scrapyard in the sky. Only have W7 up and running due to gaming. :breakfast:

dang, thought is said 'gambling'.

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