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Microsoft warns users against XP registry hack for security updates

updated 03:05 pm EDT, Wed May 28, 2014

Hack gives access to POSReady security updates, Microsoft says untested on XP

Users of Windows XP were left without many options other than upgrading when support for the operating system was halted April. However, a new workaround has been discovered by Betanews that could extended support into 2019. Even though security updates will become available in the process, Microsoft is warning XP users against making modifications to the registry.

By creating a registry file that adds a string to the system registry, 32-bit Windows XP owners can make it appear that their system runs Windows Embedded POSReady. Microsoft has stated that they will be supporting Embedded POSReady until April 2019, making security updates still available to the systems using the OS that was built off Windows XP SP3.

While users will receive updates for their system, that doesn't mean that they will be completely compatible since POSReady isn't exactly the same as Windows XP. Microsoft issued a statement to ZDnet over the hack, explaining that access to the security updates won't protect XP users to the extent they may think.

"We recently became aware of a hack that purportedly aims to provide security updates to Windows XP customers," said the Microsoft spokesperson. "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."

Given the lifespan and how hard it has been to transition companies off of Windows XP, it isn't much of a surprise that Microsoft wouldn't want to see continued use of the OS. Enterprise support for XP has continued in some instances, but these are mostly seen as temporary solutions to extend migration time to a current version of Windows.

by MacNN Staff



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