WinXP Service Pack 2

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KLOUDBusters Chief Logistician
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Jan 22, 2009
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Wichita, KS
I know there's a bunch of fellow computer geeks on this list and I'd like some advice.

WinXP has been telling me for a few days that Service Pack 2 is available for download. I'm badly out of touch when it comes to reading the industry rags on these things, so has anyone seen any published "gotcha's" with regard to SP2?

Please only published material or first hand experiences, and please include references if you can.

TIA, --Lance.
I was a win xp pro sp 2 beta tester so I got it the first day it was available. I installe dit on 2 different pc, both dual boots with win2ksp4.....

On pc 1 the install went fine with no problems.....been ok ever since.

on pc 2....the registry was corrupted on the win2ksp4 system, requiring me to use the recovery console to copy over a backup copy of the System Hive registry.... everything has been fine too since that...

I highly recommend turning off everything in the taskbar,especially things like virus scanners and spam/spyware prevention programs......
I read a lot of the industry rags - ComputerWorld is advising to wait a while before installing SP2 - a lot of people have run into problems with it. IBM is advising people to wait a while, too.
I've installed XP SP2 successfully with no problems on three different systems all running XP pro. They've been running with SP2 for a week or more. The systems use a pretty good variety of software and haven't run into any incompatibilities. RockSim still works...

You can wait if you want, but I think the security improvements alone are worth it. I'd rather take a chance with a Microsoft service pack than with a network virus. Of course, your mileage may vary.

The other big improvement I've seen is in the wireless networking. It actually works reliably for me now and is a lot easier to configure.

Nothing else about SP2 stands out to me.

Good luck!

-- Jim
if you game i hope windows has pitty on you, or else your screwed over

you can check, they have the whole big review on it
I just got corporate memo this morning that said NOT to install WinXP SP2! It seems that SP2 has some conflicts with Outlook and Norton AntiVirus. It may only conflict with the corporate versions of this software... I'm not sure. I know that Microsoft put out a patch to disable the Automatic Update feature for downloading SP2 at the request of US corporations. Personally, I'm going to wait to upgrade my home PCs until the situation is resolved.
Here's the latest from Ziff-Davis as of this morning:

Many Find SP2's Security Untrustworthy

It's bad news for corporate users and Microsoft alike. After
making security job No. 1 and toiling for more than a year
on the SP2 version of Windows XP, it may all have been for
naught. Many IT execs at large companies still find XP SP2's
security capability disappointing--and over the weekend, yet
another SP2 flaw emerged that could give hackers carte
blanche to your computer. Plus, where's the security service
pack for Windows 2000--that's what our eWEEK lab director
wants to know!

IT Execs Don't Trust SP2:

Another SP2 Flaw Discovered:

Where's Win2k SP?
WinXP SP2 is most likely the best thing to come along for Windows in a long time. Most of your distractors are from anti-MS pundits.

One the biggest features is the Internet Connection Firewall which is, as it says, a software firewall. In the interest of security (which is what everybody as been asking for from Microsoft) the ICF's default install basically blocks every port on your machine. Since a lot of software use these ports they quit working.

I lot of people are going to blame Microsoft for breaking products with SP2 when in reality it is usually the software manufacturers problem because they have used unpublished, undocumented APIs that Microsoft can change and shutdown at will. Some of these APIs represent security problems so MS did away with them. It is up to the manufacturers to fix their crap software to make it work.

Microsoft is in a tough position. People gripe and complain that Windows is not secure but when MS fixes the OS to make it secure people gripe and complain that it is breaking their software. So I ask you... which do you really want?

Official Site
Information that might be helpful (especially the top two links)
1. everything conflicts with symantic
2. the software firewalls that sp2 has are cheap products not really meant to defend a computer well. i dont care how many protective softwares you have on a computer, if a hacker wants in, hes in.
I've been running it about a week now , so far no problems
>fingers crossed<
Thank you one and all. I know I'd get some good responses here. A few points regarding the responses.
  • The worry about closing some known security holes but opening others was a possibility I had wondered about. Bug fixes that cause other bugs are not uncommon for many large software releases.
  • I'm not a software firewall fan. Since I have 5 computers in my house software firewalls are actually a pain. Firewall protection at the router suits my needs much better than ICF.
  • jcsalem - As far as the wireless networking improvement. I've been waiting for that for a while. My WiFi was so slow it was almost unusable. Fortunately, I think the improvements were patched-in within the last couple of months and I've noticed a huge improvement without SP2.
  • These types of discussions tend to turn into religious debates. There are folks on both sides of the MS fence. Rarely on the fence. I'm neither a Microsoft apologist nor antagonist and try to be objective.
  • rabidsheep-your comments are not germaine to this discussion. Please don't hijack my thread.
I will proceed with caution and keep a watchful eye on the resources cited. I have a fairly new Dell desktop that I haven't installed much software on yet that would be easy to rebuild from scratch. I might just offer it up and install SP2 on in and if problems arise I can reload the whole configuration pretty easily.

Thanks -- you guys are the greatest.

Originally posted by llickteig1
I know there's a bunch of fellow computer geeks on this list and I'd like some advice.

WinXP has been telling me for a few days that Service Pack 2 is available for download. I'm badly out of touch when it comes to reading the industry rags on these things, so has anyone seen any published "gotcha's" with regard to SP2?

Please only published material or first hand experiences, and please include references if you can.

TIA, --Lance.

Not the specifics, but examples of IT people refusing it.

My wife telecommutes, like 160 people in her company. They all do their jobs from anywhere in the US, with the "office" in Bethesda MD. This company relies on networked computers. They sent out email with a link to a page and ordered everyone to hit it. It was an empty page on their home site which used a script to fool the computers into thinking they'd already had the update. so they wouldn't get it. The same email said that if you'd already upgraded, downgrade.

Yale University is scanning all machines connected to their system, and blocking any running WinXP SP2. They explained why, but sorry, I didn't read it. WinXP as it was is bad enough. I erased it. I use Win2K if necessary, SuSe Linux with Sun's Java Desktop as much as I can, and Win95 or 98 if I have to use Win but can get away with less intrusive OS. Our lab manager, a CS who supports everything of ours from answering machines through digital EEG/MRI analysis machines has been removing XP from everything. He's had all the MS training, and more besides, and came to the decision himself to do this. To get rid of XP and install 2K he's had to format the drives and start by installing 98. XP does not die easily. This is probably not an accident.

The same federal government office that said the federal government should use Microsoft O/S products (despite the federal government having produced a secure Linux for use) "for security" also said not to use WinXP SP2.

WinXP was designed for multimedia applications merged with digital rights management. It breaks several multimedia apps that used to work fine but don't incorporate DRM. It is a step in evolution purposefully to move eveyone to pay-per-view everything (music, movies, TV shows, VoIP) controlled by MS machines. It is my OPINION that what's broken in SP2 has to do with poorly implimented security functions designed to work with DRM. Such was the discussion on Slashdot.

IMO, XP is like stepping in "it", and SP2 is like sitting in "it" to clean your shoe.
My buck two fifty...

From a User world, XP is pretty, easy to use, fast and game friendly. The fact that they really dressed up XP indicates they are headed for a new look. The fact that this "dress up" has been integrated with more very well done multimedia features is even better. XP, contrary to some, is a solid product, actually one of their best considering what the first few were like. It's automated dll's and vxd's find almost everything you put on your machine...automatically. It uses the Win2K optimised network engine, which is apparent in increased internet efficiency. Moreover, from a support standpoint, it now supports many more products than any of its predacessors.

In addition, it is a gamers dream, utilizing much better drivers than were available with win2k (a very deficient gaming platform but great for business) although you can always tweak em out with mfgr upgrades. Games play much faster, the multimedia as was mentioned works better than ever before and built in support for new hardware is excellent. I am not going into MS the conspiracy rumors or any of the other crap out there...I am stating facts. Facts from the gaming world and user industry.

Now, for business...Windows 2000 or 2003 wins hands down and should be the base platform for your place of work if they use MS. The 2000 platform is stable, integrally supports Exchange servers, optimizes internet access and supports Active Directory much better than any other platform. The integral tools along with supported third party products make is a key platform in the enterprise enviroment.

Yes, I support Micrsoft servers for customers, thosands of them in a multi-customer business for one of the largest corps in the world. I am speaking from 28+ years experience in the computer hardware and software field, where I witnessed first hand the birth of the PC and the death of distributed computing. Not only am I certified on many products from Lotus to MS to IBM, but I have had work experience in them for many years. So I am speaking from experience when I say the MS products, while filled with their share of problems, do work and perform well in their perspective environments. OH, and no, I don't work for MS! :)

As far as SP2 goes, Milo made a good point on the integral firewall. There were several features that were quickly judged by the masses as problems when they ere only configuration errors. I think for this reason, along with some valid ones I am sure, SP2 was given a bad rap from the start. Now, I will tell you that I am not as well versed on XP as the other products, but believe if configured correctly, it will work fine. Probably the biggest mistake I see is IT professionals ordering laptops or workstations with XP. It works fine in the environment, but win2k products are better imho. What I want to see is other IT professionals oppinions on the products. Nothing against our younger audience, but unless your work with and support it for a living or are quoting an IT site, it just doesn't hold the value in this discussion. I would like to see more facts myself...that way we can better answer the initial question of this post.

Enough I must get back to my servers.

Originally posted by CTulanko
As far as SP2 goes, Milo made a good point on the integral firewall. There were several features that were quickly judged by the masses as problems when they ere only configuration errors. I think for this reason, along with some valid ones I am sure, SP2 was given a bad rap from the start.

This itself is a problem of Microsoft's that they refuse to fix. They sell their OS to people who think AOL is the world wide web and who will tell you their "browser" is Outlook Express. The majority of the "masses" wouldn't know a configuration from a two way sneeze through vent windguard with oxygen danger indicator level, and Microsoft has spent years seeing that this is so. Sending it out "misconfigured" and expecting people to fix it who start out needing driving instructions for a mouse and never learn a lot more than that, particularly on an OS that's supposed to be for the single/home user, is a Microsoft problem start and finish. They do this as corporate policy. Their shipping of several versions with sharing sockets wide open ("because people will want it that way, so it's the default", and then not telling people and not telling them how to shut it off) has resulted in so many computers on the net infected with trojans that you can't install a raw OS and go online for the updates, without getting infected with the trojans before you can download the updates which are supposed to fix the problem but sometimes don't.

Sometimes. Software shouldn't do ANYTHING "sometimes". That means something's wrong. And having MS tech support tell you that "sometimes" anything and mean it is TWO problems.

Bah. I have a Craftsman 5 pound ball peen Windows Fixing Tool. My Apple (not Mac, Apple) hasn't crashed since 1989. There have been no "upgrades" for the OS in that time. It doesn't take a rocket scientist...... oh, wait.
Dynasaur...they didnt' refuse to fix statement is wrong. Obviously you don't care for MS and that is your choice, however, your comments do not directly answer the question posted here as requested. Please try to stay on topic and post experience with XP and SP2....thanks much!

I personally am running it fine one one machine so far. More to come if problems arise. BTW, our office has currently held off the distribution, not because of problems, but because it has not been certified yet to be compatable with all the various apps we run, some of which are old. Our internal IT is current addressing this so the SP can be released for use. Personally, I am using 2000 at the office and XP at home. While there are still some problems with SP2, they are being addressed.

I've put it on the XP box too.. No real problems yet, although, i didn't have that many before either.. Only enough to get a Mac...:)
Seriously though, Nothing i've seen wrong, so only improvements. The firewall is nice, but i have it off in turn of Norton's. I still trust norton more than Windows.
I recently got SP2. The download/installation was long and tedious even over DSL but I've had no problems with it at all so far. It does seem to have some "nanny" aspects to it that I'm still learning how to get it to stop doing. For instance it won't display pictures in emails unless I click the bar that appears on top of the email telling me it won't show me the pictures unless I click the bar. It wouldn't run the Jscripts I put on my own web pages either the first time around wich prevented the pages from displaying in the frames that I specifacally put the Jscript in to make sure people couldn't see the pages without the frames! One click on the "nanny bar" that showed up seems to have cured that though. It did eat up a lot of my meager disk freespace though so I deleted all the "$$uninstall$" folders in the windows folder and got it back, doing that will of course prevent me from uninstalling SP2 should I need to but I don't think I will. I have the firewall on but haven't bothered to configure it. I'm running Norton too and it's still working fine. The pop-up stopper included in SP2 seems to be working well so I think I'm going to uninstall a third party pupstopper I've been using and get a tiny bit more disk space.
For what it is wortj here is an IT Support Manager's (me) stance.

We are gingerly testing XPSP2. My environment (healthcare) is so conservative, we are still using WIN95 and Office97 on a third of our machines. Last year at MS-HUG (Heathcare User's Group) we heard some early announcements on SP2. First of all, it is a step MS is taking to a unified environment. One idea is to merge XP home. NMedia, center, professional, and tablet into one place.

BTW, If you do use tablets, it's well worth the upgrade, the functionality is greatly expanded.

Meanwhile, we are testing one application at a time. I'm not thrilled with the default of the firewall on as we have some applications which depend on open communications.

Mark - could you share that info on Symantec Corporate Edition? My testing has shown nothing yet, and If there is a flaw, MS and Symantec are not calling me about it... ([email protected])

The Digital Media stuff is of little or no import to me as I personally work to block downloads at work.

My only real concern is that Microsoft is moving to a one-size-fits-none model and are pointed slightly askew to meet enterprise computing needs.

Now, for the iinitial question: If you are talking about a home computer, why mess with something that works? Unless you have a binary backup of your OS, I'd just as soon avoind the upgtade for the time being. If you have a firewall installed, the security fixes will probably not impress you.

Your 802.11 problems are probanly related to network performance. Check on you link speed before you upgrade your OS. You will find that simply re-orienting the antennae can make a big difference. if you are running XP Home -> upgrade to XP Pro first. It will cost you a bit, however some of your network performance issues will probably be resolved.

Me, I miss DOS...

I like typing in a command and then seeing what happened.,,

My testing so far has revealed no issues with either V8.x or V9.x of NAVCE. So far I haven't run into any major issues with SP2, one case of an old version of the Cisco VPN client getting all bent out of shape, but that was resolved with an update to the VPN client. Still haven't tested with some of the medical practices I support, that's where I fear the most issues as some of the vertical apps they run scare me (16bit stuff written long ago for 3.1 that has been bastardised by their software vendor to kinda, almost, sorta run on 2000 and XP)
I have been running SP2 on a PIII box without issues for 24 hours now. No performance hit, no broken apps.