As of April 8, Microsoft will no longer support Windows XP, and all your users will see an “end of support” notification. I wonder how we can disable this popup with Group Policy.

Almost all Windows news sites had the story yesterday, but nobody wondered what this would mean for organizations that still run a large number of Windows XP machines. If you work for such an institution, you might consider alerting your help desk staff before this day because it could prompt a support call or two.

Next month, all the users in your Windows XP network might get this message when they log on Monday morning (April 10) Tuesday:

Windows XP End of Support is on April 8th, 2014. Click Here to learn more.

Windows XP End of Support is on April 8th, 2014

Windows XP End of Support is on April 8th, 2014

“Click Here” is certainly an attractive request that many of our users won’t be able to resist. It will lead them to Microsoft’s Windows XP End of Support website, where they will learn that “If you continue to use Windows XP after support ends, your computer will still work but it might become more vulnerable to security risks and viruses.” Virus? In my experience, this keyword has the power to trigger a panic response in many users.

In a Microsoft blog post, Brandon LeBlanc mentions that only “Windows XP customers using the Home or Professional editions who have elected to receive updates via Windows Update will receive an official notification on their desktop screen.” It is unclear if this will also affect computers that are updated through WSUS. However, I think WSUS admins should be able to block the "patch".

Of course, one of the first comments on the post asks about using a Group Policy setting or Registry key to disable the end of support notification. Although LeBlanc replied to another comment, he unfortunately did not respond to this question. I guess he does not have time to read all comments, but perhaps he should have read at least the first one because it is spam (at the time of this writing).

The popup does have a checkbox that allows users to prevent the notification from showing up again. If I understand LeBlanc’s post correctly, the end of support popup will show again in one month if the user just clicks OK (the option that most users will prefer). I guess April 8 has a good chance of becoming the most favorite day of the month for many XP admins.

This notification is certainly helpful for home users because many of them don’t even know that Microsoft will end support for Windows XP. However, I find it amazing that it seems to bother nobody that no instructions appear to be available for how to turn off this notification in corporate networks. Well, let’s just hope that your CEO won’t ring your phone on Tuesday morning, asking you why his PC still runs an operating system that is no longer supported and if a virus has already destroyed one of his Excel files because he can no longer find it.

It could also be possible that Active Directory domain-joined machines are not affected, although the LeBlanc post doesn’t say anything about that. Or maybe I am just missing something here. But, then, I am probably not the only one; perhaps this post can help clarify things.

If you know how to disable this Windows XP end of support notification with Group Policy or through a Registry key, please post a comment below.

Ah, I almost forgot to mention it. Microsoft is planning to offer the Laplink tool PCmover Express for Windows XP for free. The utility, which is now probably a goldmine for Laplink, will be available later this week via WindowsXP.com to help you migrate from Windows XP to Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1.

Update: Chris DeCarlo fast forwarded a Windows XP machine to April 8 but didn't see the end of support popup. Thus we can assume that Microsoft will only deploy the update short before April 8. If you don't want your users see this notification make sure that you block the update in your patch management tool. If you rely on Windows Update, then you probably have a problem. It seems we have to wait until the update is available to find out what Registry keys are used and how the update can be disabled through GPO.

Update 2: Kyle Beckman covered in detail how to prevent the Windows XP end of support popup through Registry, Group Policy Preferences, and script. The post is the first in a series with tips of how to deal with Windows XP once Microsoft ends the support of this 14-years-old operating system.

12 Comments
  1. Scott 9 years ago

    Monday is not April 10th that would be April 7th. I would also think users will be getting this before the 8th of April .

  2. Michael Pietroforte 9 years ago

    Scott, thanks for the hint! I hope you are also right about the second point.

  3. Glenn 9 years ago

    Thought I’d let you know it snuck through our WSUS and hit our entire enterprise environment. We’re looking at WSUS now to yank it, but a way to kill it and a bit more notice would’ve been nice.

  4. Michael Pietroforte 9 years ago

    Glenn, that’s interesting! Perhaps if you set the date to April 8 on one of the XP machines and capture registry access with Process Monitor after you checked “Do not show this message again”, we know how to disable the popup with Group Policy.

  5. dude 9 years ago

    exe-file: xp_eos.exe
    shows up popup everytime when started (also via Win+R!)
    shuts up when following reg-value is set:
    hklm\software\microsoft\windows\currentversion REG_DWORD DisableEOSNotification=”1″

  6. dude 9 years ago

    btw: for tasks like this I recommend to check hex-dumps of executables rather than to look for a needle in a haystack using a ProcessMonitor log as it just takes some seconds to find out then…

  7. Kyle Beckman 9 years ago

    I was able to pull that location and a second in HKCU pretty quickly with Process Monitor. The article should be coming soon.

  8. Michael Pietroforte 9 years ago

    dude, thanks!

    Kyle, looking forward to read your article! I think quite a few admins are troubled by this last new “XP feature.”

  9. dude 9 years ago

    another thing that worked for us:
    configured (AD domain independent) enterprise AV to block xp_eos.exe
    This way we also keep computers nag-free that for whatever reason are not able to pull that GPO containing the HKLM key (and we got plenty of’em due to comlpex environment issues!)

    keep in mind that HKLM is more efficient than HKCU…

    @Kyle: nevertheless I think that even just preparing Process Monitor or finding out and setting the right filter is more time consuming than just hex-view executable, press End-key and see result

  10. Michael Pietroforte 9 years ago

    dude, I think you have the right attitude. Maybe we should report the file to some AV makers. 😉

    Kyle wrote a detailed post about the topic.

    Thanks to everyone who looked into this.

  11. JERE 9 years ago

    Because many of you have disabled this you will not receive the last updates ever.
    And if you remove this after not disabling and getting updates, you will lose your latest service pack.

    Just a heads up

  12. Michael Pietroforte 9 years ago

    JERE, thanks for the info. Could you link to the source where you read this?

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