Registry hack lets you keep getting security updates in Windows XP

But Microsoft advises against it

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Dead set on keeping Windows XP (at least until you get that "someday" chance to upgrade)? A few people have discovered a simple registry hack to continue getting updates for the next five years...but Microsoft warns it's not a great idea.

The workaround, posted on Betanews, takes just minutes to do. Essentially, you trick Windows Update to think your computer is a Windows Embedded Industry computer (or POS machine). Updates for those systems will continue to be pushed out until 2019 and supposedly compatible with XP. There's a trick for 32-bit editions of XP (below) and another one for 64-bit versions:

  1. Create and save a text file with a .reg extension. 
  2. Then edit the file and past in the following:
  3. Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\WPA\PosReady]

    "Installed"=dword:00000001

  4. Save the file and double-click it to run it.

Of course, your best bet is to bite the bullet and just upgrade to Windows 7 or Windows 8. Microsoft sent a statement to ZDNet stating:

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.

I guess if you're defiantly still using XP it's worth the added risk to possibly be more secure...but it's good to be aware you might have a false sense of security with this hack.

Read more of Melanie Pinola’s Tech IT Out blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Melanie on Twitter at @melaniepinola. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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