Microsoft officially pulled the plug on Windows XP on April 8, so machines running it no longer receive updates and security patches, which basically makes the operating system vulnerable to attacks once a critical vulnerability is found.
Redmond has been saying pretty much the same thing for months, warning that users who aren’t upgrading could be exposed to attacks, but it turns out that there’s still a way to get updates on Windows XP despite end of support.
A trick published on a German forum claims that tweaking Windows XP in order to be identified by the Windows Update service as Windows Embedded POSReady 2009 could do the trick and help everyone that’s yet to upgrade to keep their computers fully protected.
The differences between Windows XP and Windows Embedded POSReady 2009 aren’t too big, so if you continue to receive updates for the latter even if you’re running the first, you should be all secure.
Here’s an excerpt from Microsoft’s product FAQ regarding the differences between the two OS versions:
Windows Embedded POSReady 2009 contains the following Embedded Enabling Features:
- File-Based Write Filter (FBWF), which redirects writes to disk to RAM and helps protect the underlying OS image.
- USB Boot, which allows installation from a USB key.
Office productivity applications are not licensed to be run on POSReady.
POS for .NET is included with POSReady.
POSReady does not contain Help files, which reduces its footprint.
Both products use the same management software.
There’s also another catch. While Windows XP support was officially stopped on April 8, Windows Embedded POSReady 2009 will continue to get patches until April 9, 2019, so your computer could still get updates for 5 more years unless Microsoft blocks this trick.
So here are the steps to tweak Windows XP and make Windows Update servers think that they are dealing with an embedded version:
Right-click anywhere on your computer and create a new text document. Give it any name and change the extension to .reg. Right-click it again and click “Edit.”
In the Notepad window that shows up, paste the following code and then save it:
Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
Additionally, you can also download our .reg file that contains all the necessary lines and simply double-click it in order to apply the changes. Reboot your computer and check for updates once again. With some luck, plenty of new updates should be available for download.
Keep in mind that Microsoft might very well block this trick in some other ways, but it’s still worth a try if you’re yet to upgrade.