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.