So Win XP is finally going off life support. Unfortunately, the Print Shop I work for has equipment that requires XP (i.e. no drivers are supported in the newer OSes)

We have upgraded most of our machines to Win7, but we are keeping 2 or 3 XPs to run the older equipment exclusively.

I would like to create a "best possible" solution. I absolutely need File and Printer Sharing on our small business network, but would like to firewall all other ports... or otherwise block as many external communication as possible.

What suggestions would you recommend?


  • 1
    Why wouldn't you trust the firewall. Its going to be the exact same piece of software it always was. Nothing about Windows XP is going to change. We don't provide software recomendations here at Superuser.
    – Ramhound
    Apr 3, 2014 at 16:13
  • I am concerned that without new updates, the firewall might eventually be compromised by security flaws in the OS... does that make any sense or should I just not be worried about it.
    – GraphicO
    Apr 3, 2014 at 16:16
  • Have you considered using a virtual Windows XP machine? Apr 3, 2014 at 16:27
  • 2
    Deep Freeze Apr 3, 2014 at 16:47
  • @GraphicO - If security flaw is discovered handle it at that point. But Windows Firewall works exactly the same on XP, Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8.
    – Ramhound
    Apr 3, 2014 at 17:01

3 Answers 3


OK straight up, the XP firewall isn't that great - its had loads of bad reviews online. Although we can't comment on specific software easily - the following might be helpful:

  • ensure that you have ALL patches for XP right up to the end.
  • Install a good antivirus solution that still supports XP
  • Get a third party firewall (Zonealarm or similar)
  • Disable guest accounts
  • Use strong pagsswords
  • Take regular backups of data

This is more general computing advice than XP specific, but its really the best you can do if your OS won't be getting patched any more and you are unable to update

  • 5
    I would take Windows Firewall over the ad-infected Zonealarm any day of the week. There is nothing wrong with Windows Firewall. It can block incommng and outgoing traffic thats all a firewall needs to do. Furthermore MSE still will support Windows XP and will continue to recieve signature updates.
    – Ramhound
    Apr 3, 2014 at 16:18

Do they need internet access? Millions of critical computers (ATM, POS, PLC, etc.) run unsupported versions of Windows, but they don't have internet access.

It can still be part of your local network for file and print sharing. The easiest way to do this is to set a static IP address and leave the "Default gateway" empty. Here's an example.

  • Internet access is not needed, so this seems like a good simple solution to try. Thanks!
    – GraphicO
    Apr 3, 2014 at 17:05

XP firewall is not very good, i do use Symantec in my work, and Norton Internet Security for home.

But, the most important solution for you is to remove admin rights from the user used in the remaining XP computers. Without admin privileges over 90% of viruses and vulnerabilities are useless, and has no effect.

  • Good tip. Will do
    – GraphicO
    Apr 3, 2014 at 17:54

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