Fix up, look sharp

So we've told you about the IPcalypse - that we've just run out of internet addresses. And we've told you that there's (probably) no need to panic - there's a new system of addresses in place, with almost infinite capacity, and ISPs are slowly getting their systems updated to use it.

So nothing to worry about, right? Well, sort of. Unless you're one of the millions of internet users still using a little-known piece of software called Windows XP.

Yes, that's right, the same Windows XP that was still available on brand-new netbooks until a few months ago.

Windows XP does have support for IPv6, the new system, built in. But Microsoft, in their wisdom, haven't turned it on by default. You'll need to do that yourself, and here's how. It's not hard, but it does mean diving into the weird geeky world of the 'command line'.

The 'command line' is a little tool which lets you control Windows using text-based commands. It's a throwback to the days of MS-DOS, if that rings any bells.

What you have to do is this. Click 'Start', go into your All Programs folder, and go to 'Accessories.' Click 'Command Prompt.'

Then a little black window will open and, after a few moments, some text will appear followed by a flashing cursor. With us so far? OK, that's basically the hard part done.

Then you just type the following. Make sure you copy it right:

netsh int ipv6 install

and press 'enter.'

The screen will flash, smoke will come out of the sides of your computer, and an alarm will go off. Nah, just kidding - after a few seconds (your internet access might be briefly interrupted) it'll say 'OK' and you're done. Oh, you might get a scary pop-up saying something about certificates; don't worry, it's safe to say 'OK.'

And that's it! Your ten-year-old operating system is now equipped to deal with the internet of the future. Don't trust us? Well, hey, we're just cribbing from Microsoft's instructions.

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