Upgrade to Windows XP SP3

Category: Windows

I've heard that Microsoft just released a new service pack for Windows XP. Is SP3 going to make my XP machine run faster and jump higher? Or should I avoid it? I remember the SP2 hassles... What's your take on XP SP3?

Windows XP SP3 - What You Need to Know

Windows XP SP3 is the final service pack for Windows XP. It includes over 1,000 service patches that have been released since SP2, as well as several patches and updates provided by SP1 and SP2. In addition to all of these patches and hotfixes, Windows XP SP3 also includes a few new features. The Windows XP SP3 package was made public on May 6, 2008, after a few last-minutes delays to resolve compatibility problems.

New Features Offered by Windows XP SP3

Windows XP SP3 also includes a boatload of patches and security fixes, as well as four new XP features.
Windows XP SP3

  1. The first new feature was the "Blackhole" router detection algorithm. This addition will allow your Windows XP machine to deal with network routers that silently drop various types of network packets, improving the reliability of communication over network paths.
  2. The second addition is the Product Key-less Install Option. As the name of this feature suggests, it allows you to complete the installation process without having to enter your Windows product key. But don't worry, Windows will ask for the product key later, as part of Genuine Advantage. Whew!
  3. The third new feature offered by this release is the Network Access Protector Compatibility module. This module, which is also in the Vista code, allows organizations running Windows XP to take advantage of new features in Windows Server 2008, and allows XP to better protect network assets by requiring compliance with a set of "health" requirements imposed on remote systems that want to connect to the network.
  4. The final addition offered by Windows XP SP3 is the Kernel Mode Cryptographic Module. This module, according to Microsoft, encapsulates several different cryptographic algorithms for use by other kernel mode drivers. It ummm, well... let's just say it boosts overall security. Yeah, that sounds good.

Who Should Install Windows XP SP3

If you are a Windows XP user; if you use the Home Edition, Tablet PC Edition, Professional Edition or the Media Center Edition; and you intend to continue to use this OS, then you need the Windows XP SP3 even if you have been downloading and installing patches as they were released. If you have failed to keep up to date with the latest XP patches, and if you have not installed SP1 or SP2 then you will need to install at least Windows XP SP1 before you try to install the Windows XP SP3.

Reports About Windows XP SP3

So far the reports back on Windows XP SP3 have been limited but positive. You won't notice any changes to the look and feel of Windows XP, but some users have reported an increase in performance by as much as 10 percent after installing this service pack. It seems unlikely that you'll have any serious problems caused by upgrading to SP3, but if you have trouble after doing so, you can boot up into Safe Mode and uninstall Windows XP SP3 using the "Add and Remove Programs" icon in the Control Panel, or by doing a System Restore.

UPDATE: After publishing this article, I received some reports from users who installed SP3 and it turned out to be a show stopper. The common thread seems to be certain HP/Compaq systems with AMD processors. If you get stuck with an SP3 problem, you can visit this HP SP3 help page, or Microsoft has setup a free SP3 tech support hotline: 866-234-6020. See more in the comments below.

Where to Get Your Copy of Windows XP SP3

The best place to download Windows XP SP3 is at Microsoft's website. To begin, read the Windows XP Service Pack 3 Overview document which provides instructions and information packets that you can download in PDF or Word format.

You can download the XP SP3 package via Windows Update, which is recommended for people who want to update just one computer. If you are updating multiple computers, you may want to download the stand-alone SP3 installer. Weighing in at 316MB, it will take a while to download, though. Expect about an hour if you have DSL, or about 15 minutes on a zippy cable modem connection.

If you're in no hurry to get XP SP3, just wait until sometime this summer and Windows will automatically download and install XP SP3, assuming you have that option enabled in Windows Update (and you should). Go to Control Panel / Security Center to make sure Automatic Updates are turned on.

Microsoft warns against other sites claiming to offer XP SP3 downloads, and this is good advice. If you find the SP3 package anywhere else, it's probably a rogue copy that will wreak havoc on your system.

Sticking With it or Moving On?

The biggest question that has been raised since the release of the final patch service pack for Windows XP is whether Windows users should stick with XP or upgrade to Vista. I'd put it this way: if you have a machine that's running Windows XP, and you're happy with it, stay away from Vista for now. It's well documented that Vista requires more system resources from your computer and will run SLOWER than the same machine with XP installed. I just purchased a new PC for my Dad, who is in his 70's, and was happy that Dell offered the option to install XP.

If XP SP3 delivers the security and performance improvements promised, then many users are going to stick with XP instead of dealing with a new set of problems in Vista. Have you installed the SP3 package? Share your experience here by posting a comment below...

 
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Posted by on 8 May 2008


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Most recent comments on "Upgrade to Windows XP SP3"

(See all 66 comments for this article.)

Posted by:

TonyT
24 Aug 2008

Well I should have known better... I was again duped by MS updates. I upgraded through the update service SP3 on a XP Pro Machine. Now e-mail, Internet services and most any program I open delays (3-12 sec) which is horribly frustrating trying to get anything done. One of the most important programs I use is CS3 Master Collection and I get crash errors using most any part of that collection, especially Bridge. I've searched every where to find ways to get SP3 uninstalled. So far I cant find any useful tips on getting it uninstalled so I can revert back to SP2 (where everything was running fine)

As a note; I have tried the most popular ways to uninstall. None work.

1. restore point

2. add/remove

3. recovery console

4. cmd line at run

any suggestions? other than format and start over? My machine has mass amounts of programs I use as part of my work flow everyday.

EDITOR'S NOTE: What happens when you try option (1) or (2) above?


Posted by:

Sheila I.
26 Aug 2008

I downloaded SP3 and lost Control Panel file. I had no firewall and discovered this when i went in to check if it was turned on. Used System Restore and all seems OK. However during installation Spybot informed me I had malware on a file and i instructed it to delete. Could that have caused it?

EDITOR'S NOTE: I'm not really sure what "that" or "it" refers to in your question. Are you wondering if the presence of some malware prevented SP3 from being applied correctly? I suppose that's possible. The only way to know is to try again now that the malware is gone.


Posted by:

Tony T
26 Aug 2008

Response to, EDITOR'S NOTE: What happens when you try option (1) or (2) above?

1. restore point (processes as though its going to uninstall, then error message (takes about 30 min) pops up indicating file not found, SP3 not removed)

2. add/remove (same type of error, seems as though its going to uninstall and then fails, file not found)

3. recovery console (I installed recovery console to HD and is available at start up, message windows indicates recovery window starting but hangs and never starts)

4. cmd line at run (this is a short cut to add remove in GUI)

5. also have tried using recovery from XP disk at boot up, but hangs at "blue window" no options and never goes any further.

PS I have seen blogs about the size of the restore catching so all my restore points where gone once I loaded this SP3, I wasn't given an option for creating a larger catch size so I lost all my previous restore points.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Ouch. I'm out of ideas... but I read elsewhere that Microsoft has a free SP3 tech support hotline: 866-234-6020. Hopefully you can avoid having to re-install XP from scratch.


Posted by:

Graeme
04 Sep 2008

I recently installed SP3 on my laptop as well as my desktop pc's and find that I now cannot connect to my ISP (a call to their helpdesk proved fruitless) via my router at home. However I have no problem connecting from work. My son, who works elsewhere, experienced the same thing. This problem ONLY occurs while running SP3. When we uninstall SP3 then connectivity resumes. I am forced to run SP3 at work and therefore have to get my home setup working. Does anyone have any suggestions ?


Posted by:

Tony T
06 Sep 2008

Response to; "Graeme"

Use the SP3 tech support hotline: 866-234-6020 they will help you. I was able to finally get SP3 off my system. I did have to reinstall from my disk to do it but it was fine, the reinstall did not delete any setting or programs or data, just SP3. I was able to revert back to SP2. Most people wont have to got that route... my SP3 was corrupted so it wouldn't uninstall.

MS Support reports that especially in network issues that it may be necessary to get firmware updates from the manufacture of the router, modem or network device. So if your having issues only in certain software applications or devices that it may be fixed by checking for patches and updates by those manufactures.


Posted by:

rob
13 Oct 2008

I have installed SP3 on several hundred pc's of different flavors and have never lost a pc or had to install other patches - I do recommend that you make sure you have gb of free disk space and use msconfig to shut down all ALL non microsoft services and ALL startup items - 95% of the pc's i've upgraded show a marked increase in speed - 80% of the pc's were Intel cpu's


Posted by:

Eric
04 Dec 2008

Rob, regarding msconfig/processes running: How do I know which ones are Non-Microsoft Services and Startup Items so I can shut the correct ones down?

EDITOR'S NOTE: It's a bit of a black art, but here are some tips: http://www.jasonn.com/turning_off_unnecessary_services_on_windows_xp


Posted by:

Rick
01 Feb 2009

I installed SP3 on my windows XP machine. Note, it had an AMD processor. The computer went in to constant rebot. I restored to SP2 and months later found a fix for this problem and installed the fix and SP3 again. At this point I tried to connect to the internet, could not do it. I spent hours with my ISP and they finaly decided it was a Microsoft SP3 problem .I am not a pro when it comes to these things but I do know when enough is enough. I am now using SP2 and will do so until Microsoft freezes over or a "simple solution is found" if ever.


Posted by:

Raul J Jacinto
17 Feb 2009

By the all comments above I will not download "Upgrade to Windows XP SP3". I AM LOOKING FOR SOLUTIONS NOT PROBLEMS!!!


Posted by:

Clifford D.
18 Feb 2009

I have two machines with AMD processors. ONe running XP home and another running XP Pro.

The system with XP Pro (AMD 6000 aka AMD 64 x 2x 3Ghz )was updated using automatic updates service. All is fine. (knock on wood).

The other machine with XP Home (AMD 64x 2x 2.6 Ghz)was updated using the Windows UPdate site and right after the installation the machine went into a constant reboot. Couldn't even get it started in safe mode. Tried everything I could but even trying to repair the XP would not work. The repair process would just freeze half way through. Tried a clean reinstall and attempted to update to SP3 again. Same deal accept for this time I got a friendly error message saying that SP3 did not install properly. An even more helpful message shortly after basically saying that Xp was only partially updated and might not work properly. So I did another clean install and decided to stay away from SP3 altogether.

BTW calling the so-called SP3 hotline was a waste of time. Suffice it to say I don't need somebody to tell me to try to repair Xp or to do a clean install and try updating again.


Posted by:

Irene
05 Aug 2009

I use Windows xp pro,sp2 now.and i don't have a cd installer,i just borrowed cd..I Bought windows xp pro,sp3.plan to install and upgrade.and want to partion my space drive.
Is it be okey,and will not be conflict or give posible problem???


Posted by:

venu
15 Oct 2009

my system got hanging when i starting windows


Posted by:

FRANK
05 Feb 2010

Dear Sir
i ask that. Can you install by using window xp sp1 & upgrade by internet to sp2 or sp3. & how. because i install my computer by xp sp1 but it can not install other program it say your windo can not support this program, and other driver as sound and other internet i can install, in sound driver it say HDA Audio is not available and that computer previous i was use sound but after format it no driver of internet especially wireless and sound card support. Please help me. Im Frank Form dar es salaam, Tanzania. wish yoou to be my best friend.


Posted by:

SIDDHARTH DIMRI
09 Apr 2010

respected sir
I am Siddharth dimri I want upgrade from window xp servise package 2 to package 3.
pl help me.


Posted by:

sameer tiwari
19 Sep 2010

Daer sir
Thank you for telling me about windows sp3


Posted by:

teguh
13 Nov 2010

i was download updater xp sp3(316,..mb)..
when i start to upgrade, there are an error message "the core system file(kernel) used to start this computer is not a microsoft windows file.this service pack will not be installed"..
so..
why that happened..
and what should i do..
my OS is xp pro sp2..
thanks before..


Posted by:

Jawaharlal Pathak
20 Feb 2011

How can I up-grade wndow XP SP2 to Window XP SP3


Posted by:

durgesh
22 Feb 2011

Res sir

tell me the information about how to upgrade windows sp2 to sp3


Posted by:

EricF
05 Apr 2011

I've upgraded on two seperate occasions and it messed my computer up both times. Try to avoid doing it!!!


Posted by:

Ladeksha
13 Jan 2012

I have a very modern PC running Windows 7 64 bits and as a Photo editor everything┬┤s OK. But I have another partition with another hard drive, because, I NEED to keep using XP because of a professional Audio PCI card (a Delta 1010LT)...the matter is that the M-AUdio people did not write a good driver for that card since Vista...and it makes DROPS (I edit audio also) so, sometimes we need to keep using old SO or buy new hard. Thank you very much.


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