Upgrade to Windows XP SP3
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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
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...
Posted by Bob Rankin on 8 May 2008
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Upgrade to Windows XP SP3 (Posted: 8 May 2008)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved