Windows XP Service Pack 3 Is Here!
Well if you are a sad person like me then you already know that the long awaited update to Windows XP has finally arrived, unfortunately causing problems for some PC Users. I have been running the beta version of this release since April 2008, to date, I have not had any problems. This service pack was officially released on 6th May and will be readily available for automatic download via windows update from early June (10th).
I would strongly suggest you read Steps to take before you install Windows XP Service Pack 3 and Windows XP Solution 0 . Microsoft are providing Free unlimited installation and compatibility support for Windows XP, but only for Service Pack 3 (SP3). This support for SP3 is valid until April 14, 2009 see this link for Free Support.
There have been some reports of some reboot issues; especially involving HP computers with AMD processors so you may want to hold off on installing the patch if your computer is running an AMD. (You can tell if you have an AMD sticker on your PC or also by right-clicking on MY COMPUTER and hitting PROPERTIES.) Most PCs are running Intel processors but there are quite a few AMD processors out there and, of course, not all AMD's are affected by this bug. Microsoft is working on the issue, according to blog posts, and should be releasing an update to fix the problem. Other problems being reported are:
Registry Corruption After Installing Windows XP SP3 - Reports of vanishing connections and missing network cards and other strange behaviour linked between Symantec Corps, Norton Internet Security. There have also been issues noted by users of other security products.
XP SP3 removes previous restore points from System Restore - Windows will create a new restore point for the update. Because this is such a large update if there is insufficient space then this cannot be completed.
Branded versions of IE7 crash during installation. For those who have already updated and installed XP SP3, you may have problems installing IE7 offered by your ISP. These “Branded Copies” tend to crash during the installation. This is because they are older versions of IE 7.
SP3 and AMD motherboards (A8N 32SLI Deluxe) - After installing SP 3, users receive an error code stating "Windows has been shut down to prevent damage to your computer. Your system BIOS is not ACPI compliant."
Microsoft has issued a warning that its latest service pack for Windows XP prevents users from downgrading from Internet Explorer 7 to older versions of the browser. If you choose to install XP SP3, Internet Explorer 7 will remain on your system after the install is complete. An IE program manager stated “Your preferences will be retained. However, you will no longer be able to uninstall IE7. If you go to Control Panel, Add/Remove Programs, the Remove option will be greyed out."
Of course, you should always back up your data and make an image before installing a service pack so even if you end up in trouble you should be okay. I have installed the patch on about 20 PCs, including some AMD's, and have had no issues yet.
One of the more controversial SP3 features -- a minor (roughly 10 percent) performance boost over XP SP2 -- seems to have survived the RTM process. My informal testing on a Core 2 Duo showed a little better than a 9 percent improvement when I updated the system from SP2 to SP3. Again, nothing earth shattering, but still a lot more compelling than the ghastly performance loss (roughly two times, hardware for hardware) of moving to Vista.
Tip from PC-KING
My own opinion is to Wait until at least August before installing; Service Pack 3 does not offer anything to the average user.... but that’s just my opinion!
A blocking tool is available from Microsoft that will temporarily prevent installation of Service Pack updates through Windows Update i.e. you will continue to get all other automatic critical updates. This tool can be used to block Windows XP Service Pack 3 (valid for 12 months following general availability) until May 2009, by this time all risks should be resolved!
The complete service pack (316.4 MB) is available now from this link
You can download an ISO image (544.9 MB) to create a CD for easy install of the service pack on multiple PC’s from this link
Windows XP Service Pack 3 Overview PDF available from this link
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