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Windows XP gets an unofficial Service Pack 4

Developer community steps into Microsoft's shoes
Thu Aug 28 2014, 16:22
Windows XP just keeps on rolling as Service Pack 4 arrives without Microsoft's support

MICROSOFT'S ONGOING MISSION to kill its obsolete but still widely used Windows XP operating system has been dealt another blow, as a developer has announced his own unofficial Service Pack that rolls up all missing updates and reenables automatic updating.

Nearly five months have elapsed since the official end of life (EoL) date for Windows XP came and went, yet users are still finding workarounds. Hackers have found a way to convince your computer that it's a till so it will keep working, known as the POSready hack.

Security companies have offered to protect unpatched systems, for a small fee, naturally, and now a Greek developer has created his own Service Pack to extend the life of Windows XP systems.

The developer, who is known as "harkaz", has been working on the service pack since last September. It will work on any version of Windows XP with at least Service Pack 1 applied and can easily be slipstreamed into installation media for fresh installs.

The project is available on the discussion board as a beta for machines running x86 (32-bit) versions of Windows XP. It includes all versions of the .NET framework since EoL up to May 2014, Media Center Edition components, tablet support and a number of requested individual hotfixes, all rolled into one tidy package.

Most crucially, it triggers the POSready registry change, allowing updates until 2019, when Window XP Embedded will also reach end of life.

As expected, the service pack comes with a whole array of warnings and disclaimers, especially while it remains in beta, but it could prove to be a lifeline for the estimated 24 percent of computer users still running Windows XP, according to monthly figures from Net Applications, making it comfortably the second most prevalent operating system in use today.

New data from 1E, a company that has been working to help businesses migrate away from Windows XP, has revealed that 56 percent of public sector organisations that paid for one-year extended support from Microsoft are yet to start the migration process.

The company estimates that the average migration process takes seven months, which gives IT managers just weeks to begin. However, much of the public sector has no clear migration plan in place, which could lead to taxpayers forking out further multi-million pound fees to Microsoft for another year's grace. µ


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