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Registry Tweak Enables Updates for XP SP2

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 43 comments

A previous registry hack used by gamers can enable XP SP2 updates.

Microsoft recently retired Windows XP SP2 on July 13, removing the tired-but-classic OS from its update roster. This meant that consumers still running XP SP2 wouldn't receive the emergency update for the LNK shortcut vulnerability (KB2286198). However Finland-based antivirus vendor F-Secure detailed a way for consumers to trick XP SP2 into (virtually) thinking its SP3, thus allowing Microsoft-sanctioned updates to resume.

The "trick" actually stems from a previous problem with Grand Theft Auto IV. When it was released in December 2008, the game wouldn't run on XP SP2. However gamers tricked the OS by editing this registry key: KLM\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\Windows. Gamers simply edited the DWORD value CSDVersion from 200 to 300. The trick became effective after a reboot.

F-Secure decided to see if the GTA IV trick would also work with KB2286198. It did. "WindowsXP-KB2286198-x86-ENU.exe installed on our SP2 test system once we tweaked the registry," the company said in a blog. "We also tested an LNK exploit, and it did not infect the system after the patch."

The firm also indicated that the forced update was not officially tested or supported by Microsoft for XP SP2. "We do NOT recommend that anybody use this tweak in a production network of any kind," F-Secure said. "Hacking the registry and applying updates is likely a very quick way to destabilize your system. You really should update to Service Pack 3 if at all possible."

As F-Secure warns, experiment at your own risk.

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Top Comments
  • 26 Hide
    excalibur1814 , August 11, 2010 5:22 PM
    Please, PLEASE.... Just update to service pack 3.
  • 15 Hide
    rooket , August 11, 2010 5:30 PM
    SP2? Why not just update to SP3 it is free. Boggles the mind. I find XP to be a malware magnet anyways. Updating to Win7 is a better idea than fooling around with all this. But it depends if your PC can handle the o/s I guess.
  • 14 Hide
    isamuelson , August 11, 2010 5:36 PM
    Huh? You have to hack the registry to continue getting updates to SP2? Just get SP3. Duh!
Other Comments
    Display all 43 comments.
  • 26 Hide
    excalibur1814 , August 11, 2010 5:22 PM
    Please, PLEASE.... Just update to service pack 3.
  • 6 Hide
    Marco925 , August 11, 2010 5:25 PM
    SP2 and SP3 are essentially the same on the outside.
  • 15 Hide
    rooket , August 11, 2010 5:30 PM
    SP2? Why not just update to SP3 it is free. Boggles the mind. I find XP to be a malware magnet anyways. Updating to Win7 is a better idea than fooling around with all this. But it depends if your PC can handle the o/s I guess.
  • 14 Hide
    isamuelson , August 11, 2010 5:36 PM
    Huh? You have to hack the registry to continue getting updates to SP2? Just get SP3. Duh!
  • 5 Hide
    icepick314 , August 11, 2010 5:39 PM
    what's wrong with XP SP3?

    I haven't heard any issues regarding the update...except it's for XP and it's now old and more people are on Win7.....
  • 3 Hide
    70camaross396 , August 11, 2010 5:45 PM
    I like the patching trick. however i would just go to SP3 to be safe. thier is no reason a home user should not be on SP3. I can understand why companies have not moved to SP3, patching in an enterprise enviroment is a pain in the neck. even with WSUS. it kills network bandwidth and user productivity. especially with big updates like SP3 or .netframeworks. most enterprises are already looking at Windows 7. Rather that touch every machine in the company to install sp3, I would rather touch every computer in the company to install Windows 7 SP1 slipstreemd in to it when it launches in the October/november time frame. it make more send that doing it all twice. Microsoft needs to get its act together with enterprise level patching. even with WSUS it is still a pain.
  • 11 Hide
    tommysch , August 11, 2010 5:49 PM
    Itll work until a patch brick your SP2 machine because the said patch wasnt tested on SP2...
  • 5 Hide
    mchuf , August 11, 2010 5:50 PM
    I can't imagine why any home user would be still using XP SP2. That's just crazy.
  • 3 Hide
    Parsian , August 11, 2010 5:53 PM
    There is no SP3 for X64 version... I am so glad i moved to Win 7. People switch, it is awesome...
  • 1 Hide
    onehitxzibit , August 11, 2010 6:01 PM
    It's time people stop using a nearly 10 year-old OS and upgrade to Win 7 or at least XP SP3. Why the hell is anyone still running SP2 & older?
  • 6 Hide
    Darkerson , August 11, 2010 6:09 PM
    ParsianThere is no SP3 for X64 version... I am so glad i moved to Win 7. People switch, it is awesome...


    That's because technically Windows XP X64 was a heavily modified version of Windows 2003.
  • 0 Hide
    smashley , August 11, 2010 6:15 PM
    People still on xp sp2 are probably using illegitimate copies of xp if they are home users, or simply have automatic updates turned off and don't know any better. Really no other reason not to update to sp3(for home users).
  • 3 Hide
    False_Dmitry_II , August 11, 2010 6:18 PM
    onehitxzibitIt's time people stop using a nearly 10 year-old OS and upgrade to Win 7 or at least XP SP3. Why the hell is anyone still running SP2 & older?


    On active current computers IDK. But I'm about to rebuild/reconstitute a Win98 Pentium III computer for retro-gaming purposes.
  • 1 Hide
    jplarson , August 11, 2010 6:24 PM
    When SP3 was first released, systems that were old back then had troubles updating to it. I've also seen systems on the network here slow down with SP3 installed, even on a freshly imaged machine. But moving to Windows 7 on the home front is a must and in a business environment it's recommended assuming legacy apps don't break.
  • 2 Hide
    SlickyFats , August 11, 2010 6:24 PM
    Wow everyone that is saying "just upgrade to SP3" its not that easy all the time. I have had 4 computers Blue Screen on me while updating them from SP2 to SP3. The windows update process is a joke and they certainly aren't helpful in repairing the OS.
  • -1 Hide
    gm0n3y , August 11, 2010 6:56 PM
    I'm pretty sure that SP3 was the XP version that had the validation code to check to make sure your copy of Windows was legal. So I'm guessing that most people that are still running SP2 fall into 2 categories:

    1) People with no internet access / updates turned off. Which in this case getting updates is a non-issue.
    2) People with pirated copies of XP-SP2 that can't update.

    and possibly 3) Their computer is at the exact performance level where SP2 works fine, but SP3 doesn't (though I don't think SP3 has any tangible performance difference).
  • 1 Hide
    tolham , August 11, 2010 6:58 PM
    the irony is that mfst can't fix this bug now that they've abandoned xp sp2.
  • -1 Hide
    thearm , August 11, 2010 7:03 PM
    XP SP3 is a little slower than SP2. But, that seems typical with SP upgrades.
  • 1 Hide
    flightmare , August 11, 2010 7:19 PM
    ParsianThere is no SP3 for X64 version... I am so glad i moved to Win 7. People switch, it is awesome...
    x86 and x64 SP2 are NOT the same. It is possible to play GTA4 on a XP x64 SP2 machine.
  • 1 Hide
    eddieroolz , August 11, 2010 7:53 PM
    Oh my freaking God. Just upgrade to SP3, or better, Windows 7, for God's sake!!
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