How Do Hackers Know?

Dear Computer Lady,

Read your reply in your “questions/answers” data base, regarding still using Windows XP.

My question is, how can someone “read” that you are still using XP, in order to take advantage of you?

Also, what is the process of upgrading to Windows 10, on an older computer? (I’m assuming if one is going to upgrade you should get the most recent version, right?)


Thank you, Gary

Dear Gary,

While I don’t know exactly how hackers identify XP computers, I do know that it can be done. My website statistics, for example tells me how many of my visitors are running Windows XP. It also tells me what browser they are using.

What the hackers have done is taken that ability, programmed it into their hacking software, then the software does it job sniffing around the internet until it finds XP computers to target. All you need to do is be connected to the internet and they will find you.

As far as upgrading your older computer to Windows 10, you would have to check to see if your computer meets the hardware requirements for Windows 10. If your computer just meets the minimum requirements, you should keep in mind that while Windows 10 will run under the minimum requirements, it will be slow and you will need additional hardware resources to run additional programs. Also, if you are still running your original hard drive, I would replace it during the upgrade. Hard drives fail over time and the windows 10 install might push an older hard drive over the edge.

To upgrade an XP computer to Windows 10, you need to purchase Windows 10, backup the files on your computer, install Windows 10, then put the files back on and install any programs. If this is not something you are comfortable doing, your local computer shop would be happy to do it for you, however, once you have purchased windows, a new hard drive, and paid labor costs, you could have just purchased a new computer with Windows 10 already on it.



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Elizabeth Boston is a Web designer, Social Media Consultant and managing editor of, “Ask The Computer Lady”.
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