All the latest UK technology news, reviews and analysis


Microsoft cautions against Windows XP update trick

27 May 2014
Microsoft Windows XP screen

Microsoft has warned Windows XP users against using a hack that tricks the company’s servers into applying security patches to the now-unsupported operating system.

The workaround first appeared on a forum website called Sebijk, which revealed how making a small change in XP's registry will fool Microsoft’s upgrade servers into thinking they are applying security patches to newer versions of Windows.

However, Microsoft has stressed that XP users exploiting the hack may encounter various problems and would not be fully protected.

In a statement to V3 Microsoft said: “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.”

It is not clear how long the update hack will remain usable now that Microsoft is aware of its existence.

Microsoft said that XP users who are concerned about the security and functionality of their PCs should upgrade to a newer and supported version of Windows: “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.”

Updates and security support for Windows XP became a major concern earlier this year when Microsoft withdrew its support for the 13-year-old operating system.

But Windows XP is still widely used by people and organisations that are unable or unwilling to upgrade to newer versions. It is estimated that around 430 million PCs still use a version of XP.

The scale of XP use and the extent of concerns over its support were highlighted earlier this spring when the UK government struck a deal with Microsoft, worth £5.5m, to extend XP support in the public sector for another year.

Business and personal users keen to stick with XP have either had to exploit various hacks and workarounds or gamble with the safety of their operating system.

Microsoft recently made an exception to its decision not to support XP and issued a patch for a security flaw in Internet Explorer. Yet security experts have still advised XP users to switch to alternative browsers such as Chrome or Firefox.

  • Comment  
  • Tweet  
  • Google plus  
  • Facebook  
  • LinkedIn  
  • Stumble Upon  
V3
About

V3 serves an audience of IT buyers and business decision-makers with up-to-the-minute news, reviews and analysis written by a team of expert IT journalists in the UK and Silicon Valley. V3 delivers real-time IT news, features and analysis alongside product reviews, software downloads, video demos, blogs, white papers and IT jobs to a broad audience of IT professionals and enthusiasts.

More on Operating Systems
What do you think?
blog comments powered by Disqus
Poll

IT curriculum poll

With coding now compulsory in schools, how important are digital skills for the next generation of school leavers?
67%
8%
17%
8%

Popular Threads

Powered by Disqus
V3 Security Summit

V3 Security Summit Day 2: Botnet, skills and BYOD intelligence incoming

Keep V3 bookmarked for news updates on all the key security concerns and topics facing businesses

Updating your subscription status Loading
Newsletters

Get the latest news (daily or weekly) direct to your inbox with V3 newsletters.

newsletter sign-up button
hpv3may

Getting started with virtualisation

Virtualisation can help you reduce costs, improve application availability, and simplify IT
management. However, getting started can be challenging

ibmv3may

Converting big data and analytics insights into results

Successful leaders are infusing analytics throughout their organisations to drive smarter decisions, enable faster actions and optimise outcomes

Java Developer - Front Office- Investment Banking

Java Developer This is an opportunity to leverage...

Project Manager

Montash have been engaged by a large financial organisation...

VB.Net Developer

VB.Net Developer with Webforms experience- West London...
To send to more than one email address, simply separate each address with a comma.