A bit of background as to why your machines ran poorly with the latest versions of flash. Versions of Adobe Flash Player beyond 10.3, which many websites use, has a memory bug in it that causes the CPU (Central Processing Unit) to go to 100% load. Consequently, one would experience computer crashes, a slow-down in the web browser making the pages appear on one's computer screen (called rendering), CPU 'lockup', CPU overheating and a whole host of other problems. Adobe have known about this problem for over 10 (ten) years but have done nothing to sort this horrendous 'bug' out. This is why Apple banned flash from all their devices and why they came up with their own H264 video format. The 'normal' reaction of people has been to buy a new computer (with more computing power, more memory, bigger hard drive, etc) where the problem seems to lessen to a large degree. I traced my problems back to the later versions of the Flash player and then spent a few days trying to figure out which combination of Flash Player and browser worked properly. So the programs below are the ones I have found to be the correct ones. If you do not find a program that you like or use (like the Google Chrome Browser) its because they compromise your system or nag you to upgrade (which you DO NOT NEED TO DO).]
To get everything to work properly on your Windows XP machine without any problems here are the steps one needs to do.
NOTE: For some of the following programs you may need to download different versions of the Microsoft .NET framework. If you do, here are the different versions you may need:
.NET framework 2.0
.NET framework 3.0
.NET framework 3.5
.NET framework 4.0
To download the above 4 files as one zip file you can click here (127.8 MB).
1. Download the following programs using the browser you already use:
Revo Uninstaller - version 1.8. This program will be used to uninstall all the various programs that you have on your computer that are causing problems for you. This will include the Google Chrome browser, the Firefox browser and the Flash player and Java version you have installed.
Flash version 10.0.3 - BE CAREFUL WHEN INSTALLING. It may try to get you to install McAffee Anti-Virus or the Ask toolbar. Make sure you don't.
Java - version 7 update 51.
Maxthon - internet browser, version 126.96.36.19900. Having just tried this new version I can wholehartedly recommend this browser, with a reservation or two, as it is even better than the previous 4.4.5 version, though it tries to tie you in with a mobile phone number or email. I bypassed all this rubbish by using it as a guest. I have no need for the other garbage that it comes with. It will take a few minutes to set it up how you like it.
Opera - internet browser, version 36.0.2130.65
Firefox - internet browser, version 15.0.1 (later versions will try and force you to ugrade Flash which you do not want). This is last as it is the least user friendly but has many add-ons that one can download for it. If you use this browser be aware that it will not work with eBay checkout or Paypal, which is why I prefer Maxthon.
To download the above 6 files (plus an Adobe Flash Uninstaller) as one zip file you can click here (131 MB).
2. Install Revo Uninstaller.
3. Using Revo Uninstaller uninstall whichever browsers you have on your computer (after backing up all your bookmarks or exporting them as a single file from each browser).
4. Using Revo Uninstaller uninstall the Java version you have installed.
5. Using Revo Uninstaller uninstall the Flash version you have, although you might want to use the Adobe Flash uninstall progam instead as Flash is very difficult to uninstall properly. You can find the Adobe Flash Uninstaller here or it is included in the zip file above.
5b. Now you can start installing the programs you downloaded above. Start by installing Flash and Java. For a browser I would strongly recommend the Maxthon browser for your browsing needs although it will not work with the Netvisualize bookmark manager I have given a link to below. This is why I also install Firefox 15. It works with this bookmark manager very well.
6. Install the Flash player version that you downloaded above. Make sure you do NOT skim past all the various program installation windows as you may inadvertently install some programs that you definately will not want (like the Ask toolbar or McAfee Anti-Virus).
7. Install the Java program that you downloaded above.
[NOTE: If at any point a message appears saying you need to restart the computer for the installation to take effect (of whatever program you have installed) just click on Cancel and finish installing the programs above. You can then restart your computer after you have finished installing them.]
8. Choose which browser you want to install, or, like me, install all three. Maxthon is the best out of all of them although I do not agree with providing my mobile phone number or email to use it so I just use it as a guest. If you don't like it because of the issues with an email address or mobile phone number then Opera is the next one I would use as it installs without any need of these items. As an added bonus it also works with the NetVisualize bookmark manager.
By now, you will, hopefully, have a computer than runs very nicely without any problems in playing flash, or running java applications. You can now install the rest of the following programs which are all free but are excellent at what they do. For a firewall, Windows (surprisingly) has one of the best software firewalls available and after using Comodo and then Private Firewall for years, I removed them and began using the built-in firewall that comes with Windows XP. I have provided the link to Private Firewall even though I no longer use it.
A quick word about Anti-Virus programs, software firewalls and other programs... I have used a lot of different anti-virus and firewall programs over the years: Avast Anti-Virus, AVG Anti-Virus, Avira Anti-Virus, Comodo Firewall, Private Firewall and a few others I can't remember. I have never touched Norton Anti-Virus and McAfee as Norton is a known memory hog and is not that great for a paid program and McAfee is also something one has to buy. I have always found that there are far better programs for free than these two. I have used Clam Win for the past few years and am very happy with it. With Avast, Avira and AVG they became something I loath - BLOATWARE. These three programs now try and do an awful lot more than they used to but they have gone over the top with what they do, especially Avast which also tries to tell you which sites are 'dangerous'. According to what criteria? They don't say. That is censoship any which way you cut it and I can see that feature being abused. This had already happened with a site I frequent and I wrote a legal letter to Avast to put them right on it. In the end, even though they complied I had had enough of their program telling me which sites I should and shouldn't go to. So whatever programs you see below I have used them for many years without any problems whatsoever. They are also excellent at what they do.
7zip - version 9.20. An excellent zipping/unzipping program.
Arachnophilia webpage editor - version 4.0. A great program to create web pages in code. This is the program I still use a lot. Text highlighting does not work for php files.
Arachnophilia webpage editor - Java version 5.5
Audacity - version 2.0.5. An audio recording program that does an awful lot.
CCleaner - version 4.10.4570. This program is for cleaning the junk out of your computer with a few clicks. Make sure you uncheck the box that says 'Automatically check for updates to CCleaner' in the second screen when installing. In the next (third) screen uncheck 'Install Google Chrome as my default browser'.
ClamWin Anti-Virus - version 0.99.1. Even with this installed, in the Windows Security Center it will show that there is no Anti-Virus installed (for whatever reason) on your machine which is incorrect.
Defraggler - version 2.08. This is for defragmenting your hard drive. Over time files get fragmented and scattered all over the hard drive. This program makes them whole and places them with the rest of their program files. Since this is made by the same person that makes CCleaner make sure you uncheck the box that says 'Automatically check for updates to Defraggler' in the screen after the one where you agree to the terms and conditions when installing and in the next screen uncheck 'Install Google Chrome as my default browser'.
HTTrack - version 3.48.22. A website ripping program. Download entire websites for browsing offline or archiving.
ImgBurn CD/DVD burner - version 188.8.131.52
LAME MP3 plugin for Audacity - version 3.99. This needs to be installed to save to the MP3 format and to open MP3 files.
Media Player Classic - version 1.7.5.x86. Plays audios and videos.
Netmeter - version 113. If you have limited internet usage this program measures how much you have used.
Netvisualize Bookmark manager - version 1.5.0. A favourites/bookmark manager that hides off the side of your screen. It can store 3 different browsers worth of bookmarks (Opera, IE or FireFox) or it can synch all of them. 30 day free trial for the pro version included. I have used this bookmark manager for over 10 years. I love it!
PDF split and merge - version 2.2.1. For splitting, merging or exploding (into individual pages) PDF files.
PDF viewer - version 2.5. A far better PDF reader than Adobe's products.
Pegasus Mail - version 4.72. One of the, if not the, best email program on the internet. It is a very technical program and I have only used it for a short time but still highly recommend it. Go here for more info.
Pixie Color Picker - does what it says - picks a color anywhere on your screen and gives you the RGB, HTML or hexadecimal code.
Private Firewall - version 184.108.40.206. A very good firewall although it may be annoying for some as messages pop up a lot when using a new program for the first time.
Regseeker - version 2.57 build 2212. A program that cleans up the registry.
For thouroughly removing programs. Make sure you uncheck 'Check for update on startup' in the Options, General screen.
Spybot - version 2.4. As anti-virus programs don't detect 100% of threats, anti-malware scanning is still a must. On-demand scanners/removers provide a second opinion and can find unique threats.
Teamviewer 10 - version 10. Peer to peer networking where you can share your screen or pc with someone else securely or they can view your screen or remotely control your machine. Any later versions do not allow you to remotely install programs when doing things like software repairs or installations. Any version of Teamviewer after 10 is rubbish compared to this version. DO NOT UPDATE after this program is installed.
ToneGen - version 1.01. A simple tone generator. Very effective for testing out salfegio tones and others.
Universal Converter - version 1.25
Unlocker - version 1.9.0. Sometimes when you are working with files you will find that you either can't rename them or you can't delete them. They are 'locked' by the program that is accessing them or has accessed them but has not released them for some reason. This program unlocks them so you can do what you need with them.
uTorrent - version 2.0.4 build 21586. The most popular torrenting program that allows you to download files over a peer-to-peer network. Download this program then disconnect from the internet (by either disabling your internet connection or turning off your wireless card or unplugging your yellow or blue ethernet cable). After installing, go to Preferences and then in the window that pops up click on 'General' on the left at the top and on the right side go to the privacy settings area (about half way down the window) and uncheck 'Check for updates automatically'. The newer versions are horrible.
Vlc - version 1.1.0 - one of the best media players on the 'net. Later versions of VLC don't play mkv or mp4 files very well. I have not checked the latest version to see of this has been resolved.
To download all the above files as one zip file you can click here (294 MB).
9. Here are a few programs for image editing, a full Office Suite and others:
Gimp Image editor - version 2.8. Does everything that Adobe Photoshop does but is free.
Open Office - version 4.1.2. A full office suite similar to Microsoft's Office Suite.
InkScape - version 0.48.5.1. A vector drawing program.
Scribus - version 1.4.4. A desktop publishing and layout program similar to Quark Xpress but a lot more clunky and difficult to use.
Xampp - version 1.8.3-4-VC11. A php developement environment that works with Windows XP. The people behind PHP have stopped PHP developement being able to be done on Windows XP machines. So this older version allows you to still do this.
To download the above 5 files as one zip file go here (373.2 MB).
10. One last thing, here is a program for you in case you need to get into your machine after there has been some sort of failure with your hard drive or some sectors on your disk have gone bad and you can't boot into Windows. This program, called ERD Commander, will allow you to boot off of a CD/DVD and have full windows explorer file browsing capability of your hard drive and also internet/networking capability. This program was so good at what it did that Microsoft bought out the company and took this product off the market. I found a copy before it disappeared and you can now have it too. Download it and burn it to disc as an image file as soon as you can so you can have it at hand.
You should now be able to do 99.9% of what the vast majority of computers can do today without any worries whatsoever!
I hope that this has helped in reclaiming your Windows XP machine. If you have any questions please contact me.
If you would like a PDF of all the above information you can download it here. It is 3 pages and you can print it out and use it as a reference as you go along with the steps above.