updated 10:00 pm EDT, Wed August 27, 2014
POSReady updates rolled into single service pack, release client being worked on
Windows XP hold outs might be able to put off upgrading to a new version of Windows for the time being, as long as they don't mind patching the operating system through unofficial channels. While support for the operating system was officially dropped by Microsoft on April 8, a new service pack has been released by a community project that's keeping the aging operating system alive.
According to news from Softpedia, a member that goes by the name Harkaz on the RyanVM message boards started a project for a new service pack last September. Calling the new update "Service Pack 4" as a way to show it's a follow up to the official releases, the developer has ported a number of official updates from Microsoft to be applied to Windows XP systems.
Starting in May, monthly fixes from Microsoft have been translated into an update package that's friendly to Windows XP by the project. However, the new fixes are based on the POSReady 2009 instead of a true version of Windows XP. POSReady is a Windows XP SP3 offshoot that was created for point of sale terminals, which Microsoft announced that it would continue to lend support to until April 2019.
Those that are trying to stick with Windows XP can use these security updates, but they don't come without potential problems according to Microsoft. To enable them in the first place, a registry hack is required to trick the system into accepting the updates. When the hack was first discovered, Microsoft commented that the updates weren't tested against Windows XP and could therefore cause functionality issues in the operating system if installed.
The "Service Pack 4" bundles the four months' worth of updates into a single package, allowing users to install it as a beta. Currently, the project is listed as reaching a third beta build, a milestone that it hit earlier this week. The repackaged patches are said to contain updates for most Windows XP components, including Tablet PC and Media Center Edition. A release client version is being worked on according to a post from Harkaz on August 24.