Web developers held an encomium when Microsoft finally decided to end support for Windows XP. It finally meant that all compatibility issues with Internet Explorer 6 would become a peripheral concern as intrepid users began upgrading to Windows 7.
But I’ve discovered that the loyal few who continue to use Windows XP, feel a peculiar xenophobia toward the foreign, newer versions of their beloved operating system. And, believe it or not, the same trepidation applies to businesses.
Usage statistics from January 2014, illustrate that over 95% of the ATMs in the world are adamantly running Windows XP. Now of course, the ramifications are serious because running XP exposes your system to threat agents that are specifically targeting antiquated systems such as Windows XP.
The bottom line is that Microsoft is no longer release security updates for Windows XP; however, your discomfort may subside when I show you a little registry hack which tricks Microsoft into giving you updates until 2019.
First, I need to say something:
First, if you use this hack, it could crash your computer. Some people have actually encountered the Blue Screen of Death after applying it; therefore, I strongly advise that you back up your system before implementation.
Secondly, using this hack isn’t really a good plan for keeping your obsolete operating system apprised of the latest patches. The security updates you’ll get were intentionally designed for Windows Server 2003 and Windows Embedded; consequently, Microsoft hasn’t tested any of them on Windows XP. In other words, you’re on your own and there’s no guarantee that you won’t irrevocably debilitate your system after applying XP updates.
That being said, I understand there are some establishments out there such as public schools and hospitals that are either in the process of upgrading or are unable to migrate from Windows XP because of budget issues.
That being said, this hack may help you, but I just want to underscore, that this may break your computer so please be circumspect.
Hacking Windows XP
The first thing we need to do is backup the Registry, then we can get to work.
Pop open Notepad and paste in the following code:
Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
Now save the file as updates.reg.
Click File, Save As and make sure the Encoding setting is set to All Files.
Now just double click your freshly minted hack to import the changes into your registry.
How it works
The hack is based on the fact that Windows Embedded POSReady 2009 is a derivative of the Windows XP kernel. POSReady2009 is the point of sale software that runs on ancient cash registers and self service kiosks.
The fact that POSReady2009 is based on the Windows XP kernal, got the attention of German computer enthusiast Sebijk.
He started poking around a file called update.inf and noticed that the update process isn’t as convoluted as he imagined. The .inf just lists a bunch of registry prerequisites.
He was then able to extrapolate the version name for Windows XP by creating a registry import with a modified key.
Special thanks goes out to Sebijk for discovering this trick.
The Bottom Line
Microsoft is already cognizant of this hack and is wisely discouraging users from adopting it.
Ultimately, although this hack extends support until 2019; I really hope you’re not using Windows XP by then.
Since the genesis of Windows XP was in October of 2001, by 2019 you would have been running an OS that’s almost two decades old!
Incidentally, if you do accidentally goober your computer, I suggest creating a rescue USB stick so you can boot to the operating system and remove that volatile registry key we created earlier.
This hack can cripple your box so you’re really on your own.
I know I keep saying that but it’s important that I’m up front with you because I would hate for you to nuke your box.
The most judicious move here is to simply upgrade to Windows 7 or even better Windows 8. That way your system will have the best protection against security threats.
Please share your thoughts in the comments.