Windows

Registry hack tricks Windows XP SP2 into thinking it’s running SP3

You can make a machine running Windows XP SP2 think it's running SP3 with this quick and easy registry hack.
Microsoft officially ended support for Windows XP SP2 on July 13, 2010. With the exception of the 64-bit version of Windows XP, those running the SP2 will no longer be able to receive updates--security or otherwise. But according to a June 2010 poll in TechRepublic's Windows blog, a significant number of people still refuse to install SP3. As of this writing, 33 percent of the poll's 900+ respondents still use Windows XP SP2. TechRepublic members gave a variety of reasons for continuing to run SP2; ranging from compatibility issues and upgrade troubles to “don’t fix what isn’t broken” attitudes. “On a couple of occasions I have attempted to upgrade a PC from SP2 to SP3 and after the installation, the PC blue screened on start up - no safe mode or anything” wrote Bleninger. So, what’s someone running SP2 to do when they want to apply a critical security update, such as patch KB2286198 that fixes a critical vulnerability in Windows shortcut (LNK) files? Well according F-Secure’s Sean Sullivan, you can use a quick registry tweak to trick a machine running Windows XP SP2 into thinking it’s running SP3. In a post on F-Secure’s News from the Lab blog, Sullivan explained how a registry hack used by computer gamers to run GTA IV on SP2, can also be used to apply Windows updates. Warning! Improperly editing the Windows registry can have dire consequences. Make sure you have a verified backup before making any changes. Also, Microsoft does not support this specific security update on Windows XP SP2. Installing the patch with this hack may make your system unstable. If you’ve read the warnings, are sticking with SP2, and want to try the hack, here are the instructions. 1. Open the Registry Editor. 2. Navigate to the key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Windows

3. Double-click the DWORD value CSDVersion and change the value data from 200 to 300. 4. Click OK.

5. Close the Registry Editor. 6. Reboot the machine. The machine will now think that you’ve applied SP3 when you’re actually running Windows XP SP2.

About

Bill Detwiler is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and Tech Pro Research and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop supp...

26 comments
hammad1238
hammad1238

tweak hits here you will find about window tweaks and much more

hammad1238
hammad1238

tweakhits here you will find additional information about window speed tweaks

hammad1238
hammad1238

its working but tweakhits.blogspot.com here you will find more interesting tips tweaks

reindrop
reindrop

I applied the above 'hack' to trick my computer into thinking it had SP3 installed, installed the appropiate MS updates for SP3 and now I suffer from "Insufficient system resources exist to complete requested service." I restored my registry as it was before, uninstalled the updates for SP3, rebooted my computer, and now I'm a happier camper knowing you shouldn't fix something that isn't broken..

J-R-Doe
J-R-Doe

Looks useful and I would like to add the .pdf to my catalog of TechRepublic goodies.... Thank you in advance...

djp64
djp64

If you do this, the first patch that comes along which is significantly incompatible with anything but SP3 will trash your system and you will be starting from scratch. At least then maybe you can start with a slipstreamed SP3 boot disk and have a pristine new SP3 system.

oldbaritone
oldbaritone

I had an SP1 machine that SP2 wouldn't install completely. I couldn't install SP3 because that wouldn't install until SP2 was installed. (This old clunker laptop doesn't have enough speed/memory for Vista, let alone W7, so there's no more upgrade to it.) This registry hack allowed me to trick Windows into believing it had SP2, then SP3 installed successfully. Thanks for helping me resolve an issue I've had for years!

ibmtech
ibmtech

Most people that have trouble installing SP-3 in my experience, have manually fiddled with the system, used registry cleaners or other assorted home remedies. Using this hack will likely exacerbate the situation. In my opinion, if you can't get SP-3 to run or blue screen problems occur, a reinstall of XP is the best solution. Then bring it up to SP-3 and fully patch it. That way, you are fixing the problem, not applying a band-aid fix that could come back and haunt you later. You will then have updates until 2014 as well.

foringmar
foringmar

Well, if a patch work for SP2, but is prohibited from being installed because Microsoft does not want it, isn't Microsoft deliberately putting these computers with SP2 at risk? And everybody else with it. If Microsoft had done a proper job in the first place, the patch in question would have been unnecessary, wouldn't it. A patch is essentially a fix for a quality flaw. Is Microsoft's conduct in this way criminal even? Microsoft does not have a good reputation when it comes to obeying the law. Microsoft is the only company in history that has been fined TWICE by EU for the same offence.

njcabral
njcabral

Hmmmm....wonder what happens if you increment the number further? Could lead to some fun. CSDVersion=400 CSDVersion=4200 CSDVersion=66600 "Hey, check it out. I have Service Pack FOUR!!" "Oh yeah, well I've got Service Pack 42! :P" "Pffft, ph33r my evilness, for I have Service Pack 666! >:-)"

QAonCall
QAonCall

Complain when: 1) System crashes 2) The update breaks something else 3) The update slows down your system 4) MS Refuses to allow you to uninstall and reinstall to previous state 5) Your system is compromised due to some other variable no one counted on when trying to circumvent the correct security axiom 'keep your system up to date'. This is the kind of thing that should drive folks crazy. Compatibility should not be an issue, if it is, fix offending driver/application et al. The other reasons are just foot dragging. I will get creamed for posting this, but come on really?

djp64
djp64

See my comment above regarding inviting disaster.

djp64
djp64

If you do this, the first patch that comes along which is significantly incompatible with anything but SP3 will trash your system and you will be starting from scratch. At least then maybe you can start with a slipstreamed SP3 boot disk and have a pristine new SP3 system.

radar_z
radar_z

I am still having trouble getting security updates to CP/M. Who is responsible for providing these updates and for how long?

tommyp1
tommyp1

I have a dual boot system, C drive was XP home edition upgraded to XP pro after a lot of trouble.This drive would not accept the sp2 to sp3 upgrade.D drive is XP pro clean install, it has sp3. For the last 2 years I have been downloading the necessary security updates manually ( I am on dialup so it's quicker to do this once only for both drives) and very rarely (2 or 3 times)were there separate sp2 and sp3 updates. This month I found that the updates could not be applied to my C drive.I have now carried out the registry mod and out of the 10 August patches it was possible to install 9 of them onto my C drive without any problem or adverse effect.The one exception was KB2183461 which is an IE7 update for XP sp3, it got 1/2 way through and then a problem occured. I would not be surprised if a bsod occurs on C drive sooner or later and I have 3 backup copies of both drives ready as always.

charleswdavis6670
charleswdavis6670

I wonder how many more problems have occurred because updates were not applied. On the 5 to 8 computers that I work on weekly, most would have not required the work if those security updates had been applied.

micjackz@aol.com
micjackz@aol.com

MS is criminal in so many respects of their "slap on the wrist" judgments by the EU in the past. The EU, USA and the world cannot figure out how to prosecute because they ALL use Windows OS which would preclude them for further prosecution for fear of total BSD issues moving forward. Why do we ALL still have to succumb to MS Updates every second Tuesday of every month based upon known "vulnerabilities", and, perpetuating the loser-hackers to circumvent these broadcasted "patches" even before they're released? Reminds me of the "built-in obsolescence" days of GM. Of course, the US and the EU will do NOTHING to combat these issues. Never have, never will.

lachgil
lachgil

Microsoft can't be expected to support everything forever. "Microsoft" aren't putting anyone at risk, it is the people who aren't implementing adequate security ie. those still running SP2, that are put at risk. Microsoft clearly shows what is supported until when which is entirely reasonable.

cdanderson9170
cdanderson9170

I don't think there's any reason for you to get creamed over posting that. All your points are valid. Though I will say that compatibility is an issue. I deal with a few large third party apps and I have little to no control over how quickly they fix compatibility issues. Sometimes the fixes come quickly, sometimes they languish for ages. But I do agree that it "shouldn't" be an issue. The developers should fix those issues as soon as they can.

J-R-Doe
J-R-Doe

IMHO almost all of the TechRepublic articles should be available in .pdf format. But, everyone is entitled to their own opinions.. Maybe, the TechRepublic folks would like to comment on the appropriateness of the inclusion of a .pdf format version for each article published.

seanferd
seanferd

I see now that you moved your post. You can edit the post in the wrong location, like I just did.

QAonCall
QAonCall

I expected to get creamed. As to your issue, I would be curious how much testing has been done to determine exactly what in an SP (3) is breaking your applications? I ask, since the collective SP, is a roll up of all the smaller fixes Typically). Additionally, with the ability to run a VM, I would expect if a company has a very specific SP2 need, that from a security standpoint, the company would isolate it, possibly even in a VM, in order to move the company forward and still support this specific need. There are so many ways to work around this, and still maintain security and stability of the larger network. My thoughts anyways...

Editor's Picks