Reg hack disguises XP machines as ATMs, extends support

ITP.net outlines simple amendment to keep legacy systems current until April 2019

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Reg hack disguises XP machines as ATMs, extends support Windows XP went out of support in April. (Getty Images)
By  Stephen McBride Published  May 27, 2014

Out-of-support Windows XP users now have an alternative to upgrading, as a childishly simple Windows registry hack has been uncovered that will allow an XP machine to masquerade as an embedded industrial OS - such as those found on bank ATMs or point-of-sale terminals - and remain in support for another five years.

In case you have been away on business in the Andromeda galaxy, you are probably aware that Microsoft has stopped supporting Windows XP and that users have been caught in the dilemma of upgrading to Windows 7 or 8, which is expensive, or carrying on without security updates in an age of escalating malware.

Now there is a third option. First reported by BetaNews, it allows an amendment of the Windows registry on certain XP machines, to fool the update system into thinking it is an embedded industrial version of the legacy platform.

The 32-bit version of Windows XP Service Pack 3 is the same OS that forms the foundation for the Windows Embedded POSReady kernel, commonly known as Windows Embedded Industry. This is the modified version of XP that sits on industrial systems such as cash registers and ATMs, but the security updates are the same as for the desktop version and will continue to be pushed out until April 2019.

If you want to try the hack it is very easy. The first thing to check is the version of XP you are running. Open Windows Explorer (your file system screen). Right-click on My Computer and select Properties. If "x64 Edition" is displayed under the System heading, then you are running the 64-bit version of XP and you will need a slightly more complex workaround, which is described here. Otherwise, you are running the 32-bit version and can proceed to the next step.

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