Registry hack enables continued updates for Windows XP

Registry hack enables continued updates for Windows XP

Summary: [UPDATE: Microsoft response] A single registry setting makes Windows Update think your XP system is Windows XP POSReady, which will receive updates for another five years.

TOPICS: Security, Windows

As reported by Wayne Williams at Betanews and confirmed by us, a simple registry hack to a Windows XP system tricks Windows Update into providing updates for it.

Williams says that the hack, included just below, makes the system look like Windows Embedded POSReady 2009 which will continue to receive updated until April 9, 2019.

To apply the hack, create a text file with a .reg extension and the contents below:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00 

Run it by double-clicking in Windows Explorer. After this is done, if you run Windows Update, it will find several updates, as illustrated in this screen capture:

(Image: ZDNet/CBS Interactive)

The screen capture is from our own tests, which appear to work. Notice that two of the displayed updates are for WEPOS (Windows Embedded Point of Service) and Windows POSReady 2009. The others are for Windows Server 2003, which runs the same kernel and many other components as Windows XP.

This specific hack works only on 32-bit systems, but a 64-bit workaround is available at this page, which may have been Williams's source for the 32-bit hack.

[UPDATE:] Late Monday we received a statement from a Microsoft spokesperson:

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. The best way for Windows XP customers to protect their systems is to upgrade to a more modern operating system, like Windows 7 or Windows 8.1.

Topics: Security, Windows

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • There it is then

    Windows XP .. almost forever?
    Singularity Point
    • That's insane!

      Time to let these all go! This system is 13 years old and still filled with holes, why are people hanging on to it so hard?
      • because

        a lot of IT departments would rather deal with holes than half their system breaking- a lot of places have some pretty complicated setups which would take a huge amount of resources to update.
        • And they have had plenty of years

          To migrate to a newer platform, and update the things they need to update. Most of corporate america is so unproductive because they have crap computers with Pentium 3 or Pentium 4 since they are running XP.
          • Re: And they have had plenty of years

            For the sake of change? Or for the sake of fueling billions in the Microsoft charity?

            You don't replace any of your other machinery, simply because someone has produced a new shiny version of it, right? Why should computers be any different?
          • This is more appropriate for Apple.

            Yet no one appears to have a problem when Apple does it.
          • Forgive me if i insult Apple users, but...

            Apple users don't seem to mind ANYTHING that Apple does to screw them. It appears that once someone drinks the Apple Kool-Aid, they're willing to pay 2 to 3x for hardware (including phones) and happily upgrade as often as possible. I really don't understand it.
          • A Fuel and Their Monet are Soon Parted

            Wanting to be the "first kid on the block" to get the latest gadget has always appealed to younger folk. I still have my Apple II+ with 48K Ram, no hard drive, no floppy disc and a 1 Mhz, (yes, one Mhz), Motorola 6800 processor. It's a museum piece. I paid $1800 (in 1980 dollars) just so I could have the latest PC at that time.
            If someone wants to camp out for days in freezing weather and then discard a perfectly good smart phone for one with minor improvements… so be it.
            My older cousin used to say that the me, myself and iPhone is the best on the market.
            However, you should always get a product that fits your needs and not necessarily one recommended by, the now, Saint Steven of Jobs.
          • with Crapple, no one has a choice

            you either move with them, or hold on to what is popularly known as "abandonware".
          • And yet danbi, I mentioned before

            a friend who owns a manufacturing facility was forced to spend thousands of dollars on an entire head assembly to a milling machine because the part he needed, the one that cost a couple of hundred dollars was no longer made.

            And to think the machine itself was only 15 years old.....

            "You don't replace any of your other machinery, simply because someone has produced a new shiny version of it, right? Why should computers be any different?"

            They aren't. But then again, those machines you speak of aren't supported forever, or even 13 years in most cases, so what was your point? That those other machines you speak of should be?

            You're really not helping your case there, danbi.
          • Ah, the fanboys

            William, I have no case here. I am merely commenting. In fact, I don't care much :-)
            I can perfectly fine live without Windows XP, and if I need it for whatever reason, I am perfectly capable of self-supporting it, without any help from Microsoft. Thanks for comprehending this.

            Now, the situation with Windows XP, Microsoft and all those car analogies is this:
            Users of Microsoft Car model Windows XP found out, that even if Microsoft claims there are no spare parts for Windows XP anymore, they do produce perfectly good spare parts for another of their old models, (for example) Windows Server 2003, which as everyone knows, is exactly the same thing, with a different model plate and few bells and whistles here.

            So users began using the new and shiny parts for Microsoft Car model Windows Server 2003 on their Microsoft Car model Windows XP with great success. They will not complain if suddenly the model plate changes to "Windows Server 2003" (they get it for free, anyway). Best of all, Microsoft has publicly promised they will supply parts for their model Windows Server 2003 car for five more years.

          • Systems Change

            Microsoft is continuing to support Enterprises that use Windows XP to operate production process equipment. However, like Apple, Microsoft is not required to support their software indefinitely. For example pre OS X Mac OS's.
          • This!

            This! SO MUCH THIS! Just like any other piece of machinery, you are free to keep using it after parts and support (e.g. security and feature updates, for software) are no longer available. In either case, you run the risk of getting screwed over when something breaks or a safety issue (e.g. security hole, in software) is discovered. Why should software be supported differently than hardware? It shouldn't; this guy gets it!
          • And yet danbi, I mentioned before

            anyone that owns a milling machine knows they have the machine that can build its self completely..
          • Re: And yet danbi, I mentioned before

            What happened to your friend's machinery is a good example of a practice known as "Planned Obsolescence" and there are lots of companies that have a department dedicated to these kinds of things (should we use metal gears so that the machine lasts for many years, or should we use plastic gears so that the machine can last at best 1 year before breading down? (eg. Paper Shredders, etc and not sell replacement gears/parts so that the customers are screwed and not be able to fix it themselves and have to go back to us to purchase a new unit?)).

            There are many customers (me included) that knows how to fix things and when companies uses super inferior parts on purpose like plastic gears instead of metal gears and when these breaks, we have to spend hours performing hacks to try to fix them because these parts are more than often unavailable.

            Lesson learned for your friend: When he has to spend thousands of dollars on a manufacturing machine, perform his research beforehand to see if the manufacturer who manufactured the machine/tool is one that likes to practice planned obsolescence and to exceptionally watch for "proprietary format/pieces) that only is made by a manufacturer instead of using standard industry that is made by anyone and can be reproduced at will whenever you need a replacement part.

            As for Windows XP, I know that we cannot measure a software operating system with the same ruler we would for a tangible tool. I know that Microsoft have done great by having supported Windows XP for many extra years, but Microsoft can continue making some of the POS updates available for Windows XP users in the name of maximizing some security. I mean, the updates are already made, its not like Microsoft have to waste anymore resources in creating new updates, just release the POS updates that is compatible with regular XP to regular XP users so that they would be somewhat a little bit more protected. Not everything is about money, sometimes its about the users and Microsoft needs to stop always thinking in the name of Money and thats it. The POS updates is said to be continued till 2019, and that would be a plenty of extension for existing customers running Windows XP to continue receiving the most important updates that will work for them till their computers can't finally perform a useful purpose for them and then they can upgrade by purchasing a new computer system.
          • Logical fail...

            First, you don't *have* to replace your Windows XP based computer, you simply have to address security issues on your own.

            Second, virtually all operating systems have, and have always had, support duration limits. Interesting, no one ever complained about support ending with non-Microsoft OSs, and in fact, with any other OS beside XP. Here's the support durration

            3.11 - 8 yrs
            95 - 6 yrs
            98 - 8 yrs
            Me - 6 yrs
            NT 3.5 - 7 yrs
            NT 4.0 - 8 yrs
            XP - 13 years OMG, HOW DARE THEY STOP NOW!!!!

            Complainers just like to complain.
          • ... don't replace any of your other machinery ... BS!!

            I quit working for you because I had no magic left for your old machines.
            Rollers and dies wear, bearings go out, machine ways wear into gullies, no matter how well they're maintained and doctored.
            But when the frames start fracturing because they have gone through so many cycles, or there is nothing left of the ways to doctor, the machine has got to go.

            And the magic I work is nothing compared to the operators, they manage to do work to spec without killing or injuring themselves or others.

            You people who think you buy something once and it runs forever, I've had enough.

            I quit.
            Rob Berman
          • OMG software wears out!?

            You people who think software "wears out", I've had enough.

          • No, you were fired for incompetence

            Most of the items you mentioned could have been repaired with stock parts kept in the storeroom. Windows XP is not worn out, it runs perfectly well, operates the software installed just as well, (provided you have properly maintained it over the years). Using the car analogy, what do you think would happen if the govt was receiving a lot of complaints that model year 2000 of some vehicle, let's call it a Toyota XP, were routinely suffering from a safety issue? Other than needing the safety issue repaired, the vehicles are perfectly serviceable. If Toyota were to claim that it halted support for the Toyota XP last year and were no longer responsible, they'd be laughed at.
            Don't eat the yellow snow
          • Re: And they have had plenty of years

            You can't really compare your operating system to a tractor that you could keep for 80 years. Security is an integral component of an operating system and without periodic updates, you simply can't ensure that.