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Microsoft: Windows XP registry hack won't protect your computer

James Temperton
27 May 2014
Windows Update
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Microsoft warns people against using registry hack that makes XP appear as Windows Embedded

A workaround that tricks Microsoft into providing security updates for Windows XP doesn't work and may put computers at risk according to the company.

The hack involves changing the registry in Windows XP to make it appear to be Windows Embedded POSReady 2009, a commercial version of Windows that will continue to receive updates until 9 April 2009.

People testing out the hack have said that it works, with Windows XP immediately showing a number of important security updates ready to be installed.

In a statement issued to ZDNet Microsoft said it was aware of the hack but warned people against using it to protect XP machines:

"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," Microsoft said.

The company said that Windows XP customers faced "significant risk" of breaking the operating system if the installed updates intended for different operating systems.

"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," the company claimed.

To apply the hack, Windows XP users should create a text file with the .reg extension and copy in the below text:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMWPAPosReady]

"Installed"=dword:00000001

Double click the file to run it, at which point Windows Update will find several updates for Windows Embedded, which can be installed on XP.

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