Don's Home Technology PC - Windows Reference XP Service Pack 2 Contact
Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2) Features:
  • IE pop-up blocker
  • Windows Security Center Allows you to easily view your security status and manage key security settings in one convenient place.
  • Windows Firewall Automatically turned on by default.
  • Improved wireless support for discovering and connecting wireless networks.
  • Bluetooth improvements.
  • Windows Media Player 9 Series.
  • IE Warns you about potentially harmful downloads and gives you the option to block files that could be malicious.
  • Outlook Express update to limit the possibility of your e-mail address being validated by potential spammers.
See Feature List at Microsoft for others.

Warnings - Guidelines:
Internet Storm Center reported that 35% of users had big problems with the installation of Service Pack 2 (SP2). recommends:

  • Remove spyware
  • Update Drivers for devices added e.g. cards inside your PC with connectors on the back for thing like networking, sound, printers.
    Devices connecting to the USB port (printers, external hard disks).
    PC Card (PCMCIA) devices e.g. wireless cards.
    You may have to go to the manufacturers web site to get the latest drivers. Old nVidia graphics drivers have been known to cause problems.
  • Install latest Updates from Your PC Manufacturer.
  • Turn off firewall software
  • Backup
See What to Know Before You Download and Install Windows XP Service Pack 2 at Microsoft.

Comments at ZDnet (Aug. - Dec. 2004):

  • Takes almost 2GB of disk space.
  • Fixed EVERY problem I had with my wireless network and most with Windows.
  • PC goes absolutely slow after installing SP2.
  • Installation has made my computer unbootable! My computer had every update & patch, was free of all spyware, etc.
  • "Our MSI Dual DVD writer is dead since SP2"
  • ADSL Router wouldn't connect properly, had to keep reconnecting. After removing SP2 router is now working fine again.
  • This "upgrade" is supposed to improve stability and security. It does neither -- two of our installs were hacked over the Net within hours of installing the service pack. It breaks most firewall products and prevents Norton IS working properly.
  • My wireless connection (Linksys), now NEVER drops out.
  • Surfing the web is much quicker.
  • before SP2, time to crash was typically 24 hours, now it's closer to 24 minutes.
  • My spyware removed parts of the Service Pack 2 upgrade and I had to uninstall the entire upgrade.
  • After I had installed SP2 on my two-year-old Dell desktop, the computer would not reboot. It took a two-hour session with Dell Tech Support to achieve an uninstall of SP2.
  • Right clicking on an icon causes the computer to freeze after installing SP2
  • Windows XP Firewall is enabled by default which may cause problems for people using ports that were previously open. You can open these ports again.
  • Automataic pop up blocker may block some pop ups you want. e.g. download status pop up.

CRN states:
"The functionality that SP2 brings to the table may make many third-party security utilities--such as popup blockers and software firewalls--obsolete.

The smoke around the campfire, though, is that SP2 will wreak havoc on many security and firewall software utilities, forcing a redesign of antivirus suites, e-mail clients and firewalls. Test Center engineers installed SP2 on systems with utilities including Panda Software, Trend Micro, Symantec and Avast antivirus software, and all worked seamlessly. Symantec recently claimed that folks who download SP2 will need a Norton patch to co-exist with SP2. Yet Test Center engineers found that not be the case.

To Remove SP2:
You canŐt revert back to any previous restore points. The problem comes into play because the restore point format has been changed in Service Pack 2.

Boot in Safe mode (press F8 before windows starts) -> Add/Remove Programs -> XPSP2 See:
The Dark Side of Windows XP Service Pack 2
XP Service Pack 2 Readers Review at ZDnet

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last updated 26 Dec 2002