Windows XP hack: A Newmind yay or nay?

 

Windows XP sure knows how to stay in the headlines! It all started when Microsoft officially ended support for this old operating system in April. Shortly after that, there was all that buzz around the Internet Explorer vulnerability, which, despite their claims to no longer support it, Microsoft actually provided a patch for Windows XP users anyway.

Now, a hack released by betanews has been grabbing attention left and right. This hack is intended for Windows XP users as a way in which to get free security updates for the next 5 years.

What do we have to say about it?

Windows XP hack: A Newmind yay or nay?

Nay.

While this hack might work, it is definitely not the best solution for users of this 12-year-old operating system. Why? It’s a very public hack and Microsoft will most likely stop it from working anyway. Not to mention, compatibility issues are bound to arise – especially with printers and other peripherals – since the updates are intended for customers other than Windows XP users.

A Microsoft spokesperson explains further in a response to ZDNet:

“We recently became aware of a hack that purportedly aims to provide security updates to Windows XP customers. 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. 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.”

Recommendations

While we hate to be the bearer of bad news for those of you who found this hack to be a relief, we are cautious in making sure our clients are taken care of as best we can. That being said, we do not recommend this hack as a reliable solution for those still using Windows XP.

In short, because Microsoft didn’t leave a legitimate mechanism in place for keeping legacy machines patched and protected, replacing computers or updating to a newer operating system is the best and only option to be completely secure. It doesn’t have to be a tedious process, either! Read how one business made the transition in a weekend.

You can also read about the upgrading process and how to ‘tread lightly’ in more detail in a blog released earlier this month.

Otherwise, additional things you should keep in mind if continuing to use Windows XP are:

  • Using good security tools like reputable antivirus/malware protection & keeping it up to date
  • Maintain safe browsing habits
    • Those flashy banner ads? Don’t click
    • Opening email links from people you don’t know? Nope
    • Shady sites offering FREE Game of Thrones downloads? Tempting, but no!
  • Use a website rating service to find out which sites are trustworthy such as:

Will you be using this hack? Why or why not?

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Featured image: Thanks for the GIF @hellocatfood

About

Luke Reynolds is a new member of Newmind's IT managed services team. Previously he worked with schools, not-for-profits, and businesses to help them acquire and deploy Google Chromebooks on the enterprise level. Luke Reynolds enjoys writing, music, film, and any form of radical human expression. He's also a rabid proponent of Kalamazoo's local roller derby team, the Killamazoo Derby Darlins.