Tech Tip – Service Pack 3 for XP? Maybe not….

While we’re on the topic of tech tips, we pass along a caution to those Windows XP users contemplating running the new update from Microsoft, “Service Pack 3 for XP”. While it’s usually a good idea to use Windows Update and download the latest security patches, it appears that a number of people are having problems on their computers after installing Service Pack 3. Me? I’m going to wait a while before going down that road.

Read on.

Wow! I installed the XP Service Pack 3 yesterday after it was provided by the Windows Update feature and my computer crashed. I tried a few variations and did some investigations and couldn’t make it work. At least I was able to use a system restore point to keep the system alive. I should point out that I wasted hours on this as I had a variety of problems including the installation process just freezing up. (My computer is 100% solid, it passes a multi-hour memory test, etc.)

My investigations showed *many* people having serious problems with this service pack which is ridiculous since it shouldn’t be a big upgrade for people with fully updated XP Service Pack 2 setups as I had.

This plus the Vista disaster makes it rather likely that I will switch to a Macintosh for my next system. I have been using Microsoft operating systems on my PC since 1986 so this is a major thing to say. (Hey, my first computer was an Apple II+, so perhaps I am coming full circle…)

Now that the Macintosh uses Intel/AMD chips instead of slow proprietary crap, and is now based on Unix which is extremely useful for me since I have been using Unix systems since 1995 (for all webserver activities), and now that my main browser works on the Macintosh (Firefox), a switch seems like a reasonable thing to do. It also helps that you can now boot Windows on a Macintosh now that Macs use the same chips.

Even though I’ve upgraded my Windows system so it can run some Unix commands and Perl, I don’t have nearly the Unix functionality that I would get from the current Macintosh operating system. And finally I should mention that the reason I’ve been using Unix systems for webserver activities since 1995 was due to past disgust for Windows capabilities… (Was running 500 Linux servers at one point.)

Below are some quotes that I dug up during my research.

Quote 1.

After several more months of investigating and interviewing friends, I took the plunge. I was comforted by the fact that underneath the slick Mac OS exterior was real Unix… including Perl, Vim, bash, X11, etc. I spent many years of my career neck deep in Unix so it did help to see some old familiar things. Oh, and by the way, don’t tell me about the various Windows Unix-like shells — it is not the same! I can’t do “real” unix stuff like named pipes and I can’t do things like, “runapp | grep -i error | tee error.log” or run programs in the background (&), etc.

Quote 2.

“However, if you already have IE7 on your system when you install Service Pack 3, you will not be able to migrate back to IE6.” Just in case I decided to remove IE7 (no problem); install SP3 (no problem); install IE7 (PROBLEM). IE7 just would not install!

I had to remove SP3 (no problem); install IE7 (no problem); install SP3 (no problem).

I wonder if this is the “best possible experience” Microsoft were aiming for. I am not aware of Microsoft advising of a limitation.”

Quote 3.

Windows update offered it to me today and I accepted… BIG mistake. PC won’t boot, won’t restore to last good config. Safe mode appears to be starting up and I’m crossing my fingers. I’m a techie PC for a living — this is NOT ready for the general user.

Quote 4.

Windows XP service pack 3, SUCKS! Our computers were running perfectly on XPSP2, my husband I and I downloaded and installed SP3 and BOTH of our systems CRASHED, DUMPED to where they were not even bootable. We BOTH had to reformat and reinstall Windows XP. What a WASTE of time and the DAMAGE??? OUCH

No we have no idea what in SP3 did this, but we have 6 computers in the house, and THANK GOODNESS we only tried it on these 2 computers. Too bad we did not try it on a backup computer instead of our main systems. How dumb were we? All I had read were GOOD results. Not for us! We both have huge hard drives, Pentium 4, 3.75 GHZ and 2 gigs of ram, the best of everything, and up to date.


Quote 5.

I installed SP3 on my up-to-the-minute XP sp2 and discovered a number of previously done updates were rolled back. For example, IE7 was rolled back to IE6 and Mediaplayer 11 was also rolled back. Nice going Microsoft. What the hell is going on in Redmond these days?

Quote 6.

Microsoft hasn’t so much as fixed the incompatibility problem that prompted it to delay pushing out Service Pack 3 last week. Instead it put filters in place so that customers running the incompatible software installed won’t be offered the update.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.