After 12 years, countless installations, good times, and bad time Microsoft decided Windows XP (Home and Professional) had reached End Of Life (EOL). Since April 8th, 2014 Microsoft no longer supplies updates, or support, for Windows XP. Well, that isn’t exactly true. If you have deep pockets and a large installation base Microsoft will provide you with updates… For a fee. Not much hope for a diehard XP user, eh? What to do? What to do? Hopefully upgrade to Windows 7 or Windows 8, but what if you have no choice? What if you simply refuse to make a change?
When we hear about Windows XP most assume there are only two versions, but in actuality there are many more. Windows XP Home, Windows XP Professional, Windows XP Media Center Edition, Windows XP Tablet Edition, Windows Embedded, and Windows POS. These last two are cut down versions of XP built for specific tasks which in this case are for devices you probably don’t realize run Windows and Point of Sale systems (Not the POS you were thinking of!). Both the Embedded and POS versions will receive updates through 2019 and since they are essentially XP at heart wouldn’t it make sense that the updates are the same? That’s exactly what the folks over at BetaNews thought and they set out to see if they could force the Microsoft Update service to think that Windows XP was actually Windows POS and issue updates. They succeeded.
Before I go any further you must know that this article requires the reader to make changes to the Windows registry. It provides a workaround for Windows XP updates that may cause adverse affects for some and may be countered by Microsoft at their discretion (i.e., this may not work forever). Neither I, nor Daves Computer Tips, can be held responsible if you decide to follow these instructions and I strongly suggest you upgrade to Windows 7 or 8 instead of continuing to use XP (with or without this workaround). DO THIS AT YOUR OWN RISK!
Hack the Windows XP registry and continue to receive updates!
I’ll admit I was curious and what better way to satisfy my curiosity than try it for myself. Off I went to fire up a virtual machine and do a clean install of Windows XP. After installation I immediately went to Microsoft Updates to catch up on what seemed like ten thousand updates.
Of course updates lead to more updates!
Finally! Zero updates – not counting the completely unneeded Bing this and Silverlight that.
The hack is as simple as adding a “PosReady” key to the windows registry in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\\SYSTEM\\WPA\\ and adding a dword labelled “Installed” with a value of “00000001” – that’s seven zero’s.
Here is the registry before the hack:
Now, if you’re not comfortable mucking around in the registry you can download the XP update hack to your computer and change the file extension to .reg from .txt. Simply double click the file (once downloaded and changed to .reg) and approve the warning for the correct information to be added to the registry automatically.
Microsoft Updates Ahoy!
After the registry has been modified open Windows Update and check for updates. TaDa! Windows Update now shows updates released AFTER Microsoft ceased XP support and while the descriptions may be confusing due to the use of WEPOS and PosReady the underlying update code should be the same as XP.
If you look at the specific KB article related to the first update listed above (KB2932079) you can see Windows XP is mentioned and the update was released well after Microsoft fully pulled the plug on XP updates.
The hack works. The updates install. Obviously this is the answer to XP user’s prayers!
OK, not quite. Yes, everything I’ve said is true, but do you want to trust your computer and personal information to a hack that may not work a week from now? I don’t and I suggest that you don’t either – this is especially true for those who do not consider themselves computer savvy. Be smart and upgrade your computer to Windows 7 or Windows 8.