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If XP support has stopped, why am I still getting updates?

by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / October 24, 2014 9:51 AM PDT

If Windows XP support has stopped, why am I still getting updates?

I thought Microsoft stopped supporting Windows XP?! If that's true, why am I getting what appear to be legitimate updates that try to install when I shut down my computer running XP? I've had about 4 attempts since May, the last one in October. I don't allow them to install because I think someone has highjacked the Windows installation site and might be installing malware or a virus on my computer. I'm wondering if other people are experiencing the same thing. I scan my computer regularly with Avast "free" which seems to be doing a good job for about the last 5 years. Please advise. Thank you!

-- Submitted by: Stan H.
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Likely MS's 'anti-virus' updating the signature data file...
by yankee07mvp / October 24, 2014 11:42 AM PDT

I, too, still use XP (Pro), and I've noticed that when I do get a Microsoft 'update' notice, now-a-days, it's usually to do an update for MS-Defender, (I think they call it or used to call it..), which is Microsoft anti-virus/anti-malware's program. It just wants to update it's virus signature database. Once I've determined that, I let it do the update. But ALWAYS, ALWAYS check to see whose - and what - updates are being presented to me to be download to my computer, rather than letting them "automatically" install themselves...!!! The one exception to that rule is that my own, personal, anti-virus/anti-malware program, (Avast Free), which does it's virus signature file updates automatically. (It will, however, occasionally ask me if I want to "try" it's professional version as a download, which, of course, is not free). To date, I've declined any such 'kind' invitations to do so. I hope this helps you decide what's going on with your computer when you do get XP "updates" from Microsoft. You do NOT have to "let" any program, (well almost, any..), "automatically" update their program files on your computer and I'd advise you to make your computer ask for permission to do ANY updates. There is a setting in your Control Panel, under Automatic Updates, where you can select that option rather than the "automatic" option. However, I did note that when I use that option, (to manually update from Microsoft's Update website), that if I didn't turn the "automatic" function "on" - plus use Microsoft's Explorer browser - it' wouldn't let download any available or optional "updates"..! Thus, I would turn on the "automatic" function first and turn it off when I was done, using MS-Explorer to make Microsoft happy about "giving" me their updates..!

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They Are Probably Old Updates
by Hforman / October 24, 2014 12:54 PM PDT

Here is what I have noticed. If you delete any updates or reinstall XP or simply run the System File Checker (SFC), Windows Update will attempt to replace the updates that you undid by the above and put them back in.

In addition, updates for non-XP (OS) software will still come out since these are not directly related to XP, itself. For example, you will still get patches, until a different date, for Internet explorer and you will still get patches for Microsoft Office and other Microsoft products using Microsoft Update. You will also still get updates (and execute) the Malicious Software Removal Tool (MRT.EXE).

So, in all these instances, you can expect to get patches. If you stopped applying patches at some point and those are OS updates to XP itself, it will keep nagging you to put those in. While they are not generating XP updates anymore, any old updates will still come through and non-XP updates will also show up.

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Three Things...
by Zouch / October 24, 2014 1:23 PM PDT

I still have an old XP system that I rarely use - just a couple of obsolete peripherals - and I still get three types of updates.

1. The Microsoft Security Essentials signature files - I believe MS agreed to continue these until April 2015.

2. The monthly regular Malware removal "patch" - not that it has ever found anything to remove. No idea how long this will continue.

2. In keeping with my obsolete XP, I also have Office 2000! I installed the compatibility patches for Office 2007, so I could open docx, xlsx, etc. Those compatibility patches still get updates.

That's all I have seen since April 2014 but as I said, it isn't in regular use.

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I agrree, however:-
by Themisive / November 2, 2014 5:02 AM PST
In reply to: Three Things...

I used to have Microsoft Windows XP 64bit (don't ask me the number!), I have moved to Windows Microsoft 7 x64 mainly to keep up-to-date.

At present i have had no problems with Windows Microsoft 7 x64 but as Windows 8 and 8,1 have been released, I don't know how long my support fot Windows 7 will last!

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Updates for Windows 7 or 8 may be compatible with XP
by Alain Martel / October 26, 2014 4:23 AM PDT

The chances that the Windows updates service been hijacked are extremely slim.
It's much more probable that, from times to times, updates intended for later versions could be found to compatible with Windows Xp. When this occurs, you get them.
The caveas been that there was no thougrough testing done, it's more of an afterthough.
You can confidently allow those updates, but, as they have not realy been tested, they may cause some unforseen problems and have some bugs. I suggest that you apply only one, see if it works OK before installing the next.
If you have some problem with an update, you may need to uninstall it.

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Move on people.
by Dafydd Forum moderator / October 26, 2014 4:38 AM PDT


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Completely incorrect
by jwgl23 / October 26, 2014 4:09 PM PDT

This is not how updates work. Updates for Window 7 or 8 are completely different from those issued for XP so they won't "be found to be compatible with Windows XP". Even if they were, Microsoft doesn't release updates that "have not really been tested".

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by scodal / July 4, 2015 11:51 AM PDT
In reply to: Completely incorrect


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Friendly disagree
by scodal / July 4, 2015 11:50 AM PDT

Highly unlikely that this is true. The operating systems are too different to be able to support this. The programmers at Microsoft are able to handle feeding updates to multiple operating systems without overlap. They get enough bad press when they're trying to do good, they don't need to intentionally push false updates to a system. I manage a lot of computers that run Yosemite, Linux, Win XP, Win 7, and Win 8 and I've never experienced an update that was intended for a different operating system than the computer was running.

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Win XP Malicious Software Removal Tool avail thru 7/14/2015
by apple_pie / October 26, 2014 7:58 AM PDT

This link leads you to the Malicious Software Removal Tool page with the below (*) paragraph being the third paragraph below the blue "Skip the details and download the tool" button.

"*The Malicious Software Removal Tool will continue to be provided for Windows XP through July 14, 2015; it will also continue to be delivered automatically via Windows Update and for download via the Download Center."

If you are using WinXP, and you use the blue button, you get the Malicious Software Removal Tool for Windows XP-32-bit page and the big red Download button gets you the current version of the MSRT.

The quoted paragraph should answer your theories...

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Microsoft loves to
by scodal / July 4, 2015 11:53 AM PDT

give out the Malicious Software Removal Tool.. That's code word for "we gonna check if this illegal" tool

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I just booted XP for the 1st time since May
by wpgwpg / October 28, 2014 4:23 AM PDT

I got one update for Malicious Software Removal Tool, and several updates for Office 2007 when I ran Windows Update. I use AVG for anti-virus on that system, and of course it updated itself. This verifies that the only Windows XP since April are those for MSRT.

I also have to agree with those who say it's time to move on to Windows 7 or 8.1. Just be sure your hardware is compatible. In addition to RAM, hard drive space, and processor speed, check your printers, scanners, and any other externally attached devices.

Good luck.

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My printer *isn't* supported by Vista, 7 or 8
by David Walland / October 31, 2014 7:20 PM PDT

This is a real pain. Epson created "drivers" for my printer which simply don't allow all of the complex printing tools available to the printer. The Vista drivers will work for a short time then lock into printing only half a page and unless you shell out *serious* money, modern printers just aren't as capable as this one. My wife's an artist. This is a black hole down which to throw money and I am a pensioner. I cannot afford to throw money around buying a modern machine or a copy of an expensive . I cannot afford to calibrate yet another printer (several times the cost of a printer).
I've largely moved to Linux now, so as I go forward with it, I'm going to look at using Wine/Virtual machine/Epson linux drivers and retire XP (the old laptop will remain - it runs well).
I've always believed that Microsoft has shot itself in the foot with this action. By not continuing support at a reasonable price (it's perfectly reasonable to cease *free* updates, but they have missed brownie points and a significant income stream by being too greedy instead) and by not making it possible to run most legacy software on the latest software, they have redoubled the dislike of Microsoft and further entrenched this in the public mind.

They haven't even created some sort of "add-on" so that people can run these programs under the new OSs. That says something very bad about their attitude to customers.

As time goes by *all* my Microsoft computers are moving to dual boot, MS and Xubuntu. Once I'm fully up to speed with Linux and mission control (who uses a Macbook Pro) has gone beyond "It's quite like my Mac isn't it" to actually being able to use the system for the high-end prints she wants, without me doing it for her, then I think this house will become a Microsoft-free zone. I can't afford other!


David Walland

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get a used computer as a spare
by Bob.F / November 1, 2014 1:52 AM PDT

Hi I'm a tech all my clients are seniors on a budget just like you, avoid complex solutions , At a computer store that sells old stuff you should be able to get a windows xp computer with xp newly installed for about $35-70 depending on your city I'm in Montreal . Set up the printer on there and do the artist work on this computer or on a new computer and move it for printing on a usb key to this one. This is the simplest answer I can give you. Good luck Bob

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easy to blame microsoft
by James Denison / November 1, 2014 2:47 AM PDT

but device drivers are the responsibility of those selling the devices.

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As Others Have Said
by Hforman / November 1, 2014 7:48 AM PDT

This has NOTHING to do with Microsoft! Microsoft does not create printer drivers. It is created by the company that makes the printer. Period. Drivers are generally supplied by whoever makes the PC if we are talking about internal components that came with the system you bought. They don't have to supply anything if you have an old PC. Neither do the printer people if the model is no longer being sold. None of this is a Microsoft issue. The same would apply to Apple or LINUX. You'd have to speak to Epson!

Another thing we found out at work. DRIVERS are usually 32-bit or 64-bit. You can't mix and match here. If your OS is 64-bit, you need the 64-bit drivers. If the OS is 32-bit, then you need 32-bit drivers. Just because some programs may work. The same does NOT apply to drivers. You may not assume that a driver for one OS will work in another OS either.

As for the programs, nothing there is guaranteed. Once again, nothing to do with Microsoft. Whoever wrote the program needs to update it. So quit blaming them.

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Of course it has to do with MS
by JohnBoy1012 / November 2, 2014 4:39 AM PST
In reply to: As Others Have Said

While it is true Microsoft does not create the drivers it is their fault because the "new and improved Windows" scams were intentionally designed so as not to support those drivers. This is completely their fault and is about greed, by trying to force all of us with Win XP machines to spend a bunch of cash to upgrade when we are happy with XP's performance.

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So over the decades why would you need new printer
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 2, 2014 4:46 AM PST

Let's see, printers have been out for many decades. Why does a printer maker after all this time design yet another printer language? It's not like Postscript or PCL days. Something's fishy with the printer makers.

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I'm pretty sure that
by scodal / July 4, 2015 11:57 AM PDT

printer makers are in the business of creating crap printers that will end up in a landfill. Carbon footprint isn't on their mind, more sales are.

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Proprietary Drivers
by liguorid / November 3, 2014 4:04 AM PST
In reply to: As Others Have Said

Hardware manufacturers have the information needed to write drivers for their devices. Sometimes they sit on it. The ones that don't are the ones that play nicely with Linux since, if it is useful, someone in the open source community eventually writes a driver for it. Apparently Epson is not one of those good players.

The advent of 64-bit operating systems is what obsoleted drivers. 64-bit processors came long before MS was selling very many 64-bit operating systems. As fashionable as it is to blame Microsoft for all the greed and avarice in the computer industry, I don't think you can pin this one on them.

This is far off topic but the original question, "why am I still getting updates", is one that has a correct answer that we are largely speculating on. Perhaps only Microsoft knows it.

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The XP registry hack
by ben_myers / October 31, 2014 11:38 AM PDT

First, Gordon Kelly and Forbes were not the first to report this. It was reported widely in the trade press, with a better explanation, to wit. Over 90% of all the bank ATMs in the world still run Windows XP. So do many computer-run cash registers (point-of-sale, or POS), which are also tied into the world banking system. Nobody's talking about who made the deal and for how much, but Microsoft agreed to continue to plug vulnerabilities in these systems. Hence, the registry patch, if applied, fools Microsoft into thinking that your computer is a POS, with the PosReady registry entry. No not that one. Point-of-sale. If you have applied this registry hack, the updates that arrive are generally marked "POS"-something-or-other. Windows XP is also embedded into special purpose computers, hence Kelly's perhaps misguided reference to Embedded Windows XP, also a different product from the usual XP we used for many years. A friend of mine runs a company that makes pill-counting machines for pharmaceutical companies to bottle their products, and his systems use embedded XP.

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But it doesn't answer the question, does it?
by liguorid / November 3, 2014 4:10 AM PST
In reply to: The XP registry hack

Unless someone snuck into this user's computer and applied the registry hack he wouldn't just unexplained still be getting updates.

Incidentally this hack was discussed at length here a few weeks ago.

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by nimd4 / November 2, 2015 7:46 PM PST
In reply to: The XP registry hack

Hey!.. That Forbes link is gone.

^^ It's, even, indexed by Google (4 teh query: '') & it's missing; redirects 2 some Forbes 'Welcome' page, meh. :-/

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My mistake!..
by nimd4 / November 2, 2015 7:48 PM PST
In reply to: @ben_myers

Jesus, I'm unable to edit my comment?! o.0

(Made a mistake, teh Forbes link is -just- fine; some error, on my end, w/Firefox and NoScript, heh. :))

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Embedded industry?
by alias Winston Smith / October 31, 2014 11:44 AM PDT

I've done that, it doesn't appear to do anything,?
Haven't had any notifications of new updates or downloads. How can you know if it's working?

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See if there are any updates
by ben_myers / October 31, 2014 1:04 PM PDT
In reply to: Embedded industry?

Rather than waiting until Patch Tuesday, when Microsoft issues its monthly set of patches, go to the start menu and click either Microsoft Update or Windows Update. If those choices are missing, start up Internet Explorer and search for Microsoft Update.

Also, check and double-check your registry to make sure that the PosRady entry is correct.

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most continuing XP updates
by James Denison / November 1, 2014 2:48 AM PDT
In reply to: Embedded industry?

are POS based. The other is the security update for definitions.

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If XP support has stopped, why am I still getting updates?
by nrkmann--2008 / October 31, 2014 10:52 AM PDT

I think it is because several European governments have paid MS millions to continue support for two years and you are the recipient of those updates.

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by Hforman / November 1, 2014 7:51 AM PDT

You will only get the updates that are paid for by someone if you also pay. The only updates that are still coming out are for non-XP items such as Internet Explorer, Microsoft's virus package, Microsoft Office, Malicious Software Removal Tool and any other Microsoft product that may run on XP but is not a part of XP itself.

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