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Windows XP Registry hack to get patches could harm than good


If you still use Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) Windows XP on your computer, you can get the software updates and necessary security patches to the officially retired operating system via some Registry hacks. And that involves the altering of Registry to show it to Microsoft Windows Update server as a copy of Windows Embedded Industry, previously known as Windows Embedded POSReady 2009 (WEPOS) operating system.microsoft-windows-xp-logo

WEPOS is designed for point of sales terminals by stripping the original Windows XP SP3 and this POSReady OS will be getting the official updates until April 2019, while the Windows XP’s official update had been stopped since April 8, 2014.

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According to many security experts and Windows XP users, the update mechanism works perfectly after altering the OS’ Registry, since the POSReady 2009 is the forked version of Win XP SP3. These updated computers seems to be stable without crashes and blue screens. Even the .Net frameworks as well as Internet Explorer 8 are getting the updates through Windows Update.

Do you really want this?

As of now, Microsoft seems to be not pleased with this new “discovery” by the hacking community and released a statement where it said:

“We recently became aware of a hack that purportedly aims to provide security updates to Windows XP customers. The security updates that could be installed are intended for Windows Embedded and Windows Server 2003 customers and do not fully protect Windows XP customers. Windows XP customers also run a significant risk of functionality issues with their machines if they install these updates, as they are not tested against Windows XP.”

Microsoft has also urged the users to upgrade their computers either to Windows 7 or Windows 8 to get the protection from threats as well as supports and updates from the company.

As these methods could download updates for your Windows XP systems that are designed for entirely different machines, it might result in more system issues and security threats and it would not become a viable solution for the oldest-yet-used operating system.

Not worth of doing this

BetaNews first discovered and reported the Registry hack and explained the method of creating a registry file with few lines of information to trick Microsoft. But remember, these tricks can’t beat the software giant’s update system and technology for very long time. Since the trick has been reported on major tech blogs and made Microsoft aware of this hack, the company would be implementing anti-hack ways to its system soon.

Even the entire workaround appear as a great solution to receive continuous unofficial security updates from Microsoft, but it could harm your computer and you might not be able to rollback your computer to previous version of the update.

Better to upgrade the system and Windows

As the Registry workarounds could not solve your problems, you will have two options in front of you – either you should continue to use the 13-year old operating system and ignore the security threats as well as system instability issues or you should upgrade your computer as well as operating system to latest Windows 8 (Windows 8.1 is better with the Start button!), at least to most popular and user-friendly Windows 7.

Microsoft’s Windows 7 and Windows 8 will give you free updates via Windows Update system without having to break into the system. So, as Microsoft argues again and again, it’s time to switch!

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About John W Arthur

john@thenextdigit.com'
John is the head of our IT Security team and he writes about Security, IT news on The Next Digit. He was the Employee of the Year 2013 for his selfless support and efficiently setting up the whole security infrastructure. He also occasionally writes on "IT Sec Pro" Print Media of Sweden. All posts by John

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