Windows optimize

Windows XP service pack 3 provides network access protection


Last fall, I wrote a TechRepublic series on Microsoft's network access protection (NAP or MS-NAP) implementation with the coming release of Windows Server 2008. The Vista client natively supports the MS-NAP implementation while Windows XP needed SP3 to advance to participation status. Windows XP service pack 3 is in the release candidate 2 phase currently. Like most modern Microsoft updates, SP3 includes new functionality to XP. This is a welcome advance given the current adoption level of Windows Vista in enterprise computing environments.

The MS-NAP implementation measures system health on Windows XP clients by interacting with an enforcement policy that is controlled by the network policy server or NPS in your Active Directory environment. The Windows XP health checks are not as in depth as those available to Windows Vista clients; anti-spyware awareness is only available on Vista for example. The NPS has the following System Health Validators for XP that become aware on Windows XP SP3:

MS-NAP XP Configuration

MS-NAP XP Configuration

While most enterprises would likely not look to a Microsoft for a NAP solution, the small business may find great success with MS-NAP. Setting up a NAP policy is quick and easy, and provides the base functionality that would be adequate for most installations. Adequate reading is due if you are considering the MS-NAP implementation because there are many roles that may or may not be required in every situation.

Windows XP SP3 is in the release candidate stage and should not be used for a live installation, but this would be a good time to plan a NAP implementation with Windows Server 2008 NPS should MS-NAP be a valid option for protecting the network entry points.

About

Rick Vanover is a software strategy specialist for Veeam Software, based in Columbus, Ohio. Rick has years of IT experience and focuses on virtualization, Windows-based server administration, and system hardware.

32 comments
DIRK DE COCQ
DIRK DE COCQ

HAVE INSTALLED IT Note a drastic slowing of the desktop on deleting it it virully crashed the PC I am a home user of XP-professional. i do not understand theat some say it improves the preformance.

thomas.kingster
thomas.kingster

This is why, as IT professionals, we must do extensive testing with all updates, software, OSes, etc. before deploying them into our production environment. I too remember the issues with SP2, but I also remember doing testing with the service pack in a test environment before deploying to minimize the impact on the end user. The key is to remember that most changes are done with the best of intentions (security, end user productivity, ease of use, etc.). Yes, they can be a pain to get used to and implement, but most great innovations had some issues when they were first released.

scott
scott

I remember the issues when SP2 came out. We didn't upgrade for a couple of years! Now I'm setting up a new Windows SQL server to replace my old Netware....I really am just afraid to jump into SP3.

dawgit
dawgit

After all the networking problems caused by XP SP2, I can only see things getting mucked-up a bit again. Why? Is the question that comes to my mind. I just don't see (either from the above grafic, or the MS site) how this will do anything different from what we already have. I guess we have to wait and see, again. (we could be real busy afterward) -d

Michael Kassner
Michael Kassner

I am not that up to speed with the service pack are there any other fixes/improvements that we should be aware of?

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

It is currently a RC2 which stands for Release Candidate 2 the last step before it is released to the public at large but it's still a beta. When it gets released as the full SP3 it will most likely be slightly different to how it is now. Col

Bluron
Bluron

As a non professional IT person I appreciate the work and information you folks provide on a site like this. Normally I would adopt things like SP3 as soon as it is available. This time I think I will heed the advise of those who are wiser and of more knowledge than me. Thanks.

b4real
b4real

I think there was a lesson learned with rolling in firewall with SP2. And MS had a chance to put IE7 in with SP3 for XP - but they did not. I think partly because they don't want to deal with XP and make the focus Vista. It is still a beta SP, remember. So far so good for me, much better than XP SP2.

wesley.chin
wesley.chin

I have seen some screenshots of SP3, and they depict a GUI that looks exactly like that of Vista! Could that be right?

wesley.chin
wesley.chin

SP2 became a requisite for use of Microsoft Update. will it be the same way with SP3?

fear-otaku
fear-otaku

Apart from NAP it includes updates to IPv6 i believe and also Black-Hole Router Detection and protection against those devices. It also includes all performance/security updates to xp to date. Personally I've found it to be slightly better, response and performance wise sp2, so I'm quite happy.

carlsf
carlsf

There is NO way I will be installling XP SP3 onto my small buainess systems. I am of the view that MS will have embedded some of VISTA'a interfaces and code, hence I will NOT be going there untill proven wrong (time will tell)

craiglarry
craiglarry

Have winxp and ubunutu 8.04 beta dual booted on adm athlon 64x. I've been moving more and more toward more time on ubuntu. It has been a better experience for this retired teacher who didn't get into windows until about 7 years ago. Now that I've installed winxp sp3. I'm moving back to more time on windows. For me, they really did something right this time.

fear-otaku
fear-otaku

We've been running RC2 of SP3 in our accounting and ITS department (about 20 machines) and we've had no issues what so ever, i sometimes find it's even better. Unfortunately we are still running server 2003 so NAP won't be coming online until we migrate to 2008 (mid-year).

JCitizen
JCitizen

just the .NET Framework update that downloaded just a few weeks ago! I'm waiting for the release candidate before I order the CD.

JohnMcGrew
JohnMcGrew

Needless to say, I'll be waiting quite awhile to see where the dust settles before committing clients to this.

b4real
b4real

We all have a bad taste in our mouth from XP SP2. Funny thing is, that XP SP3 is not the earth-shattering change - but Vista SP1 is! All that said, this emphasizes the need for test environments. Even if you do not have immediate plans to implement MS-NAP, XP SP3 in principle is a good idea - you just need to see if you will have problems and identify any issues.

Wando60
Wando60

I installed SP3 on this computer and lots of programs locked up or would not run. So I then uninstalled it but only marginal improvement. So lots of searching to delete the files that were installed but not uninstalled and some manual registry edits. I am not impressed.

JCitizen
JCitizen

Thanks ProperName; your experience does seem to mirror what I see with my clients. However I am seeing just as many odd failures with barebones rebuilds as I am the big house units. Although not as serious mostly. I didn't do the build on these either. I don't build for my clients because I actually don't like supporting the builds; just a personal preference of mine. I actually try to get them to buy Dell, HP, or whom ever, to sluff some of that support onto those manufacturers. I'm just a lazy turd I guess. But I get plenty of action even with that being said; and I think your doing your clients a big favor by setting them up with a good build. I actually do give my clients this option, but I tend to talk them out of it also. I've used personal builds in the past and been very satisfied with them, but even I have succumbed to buying name brand. Thanks for your input! P.S. I just ordered my SP3 disk yesterday!

ProperName
ProperName

I have found a couple of issues with SP3. All of which only occur on factory-built machines ie: HP, Dell, and other big box store specials. One readily available issue is the auto-reboot loop which I have only faced on those factory builds. I have also installed SP3 on several systems built by myself, pieced together to give my users a little individuality. These systems, as different as each is from the other, are running Win XP SP3 with nary an error. I installed SP3 on my personal machine nearly two months ago and have not had any kind of error with it at all. My games (Crysis, Half Life 2, NFS ProStreet etc) all play without issues. However those prebuilds with add-on graphics have crashed and continue to crash since the update to SP3. Thanks to the keyboard gnomes for keeping me crash free. (No thanks to MS, my guess is they have programmed the errors for the easy-to-obtain images found on the recovery partition of pre-built machine) lmbo :D

JCitizen
JCitizen

You reminded me the last RC will be a "beta" too! HA! Or at least a 'piece of work'! =)

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

But I was just responding to the poster above who is claiming that they have installed SP3 on their Home Computer and it has caused problems. I was just pointing out that they have installed a Beta Copy of SP3 and their current experiences with a beta is in no way connected to something that is yet to be released. :0 Well I suppose the current Offering of SP3 is more of a Beta Copy as apposed to the True Beta which M$ call the RTM Copy. :^0 Col

wesley.chin
wesley.chin

How so? Earth shattering in the good way or bad way?

XT John
XT John

I'm hoping SP3 turns out to be ok. Has anyone run across an XP machine that is at Service Pack 1 lately? Even after running the Service Pack 2 update manually, there are still some 80 + downloads as well as several reboots, etc. Wouldn't it be nice to restore a machine's OS and run just one update?

Timbo Zimbabwe
Timbo Zimbabwe

"At my job we haven't placed SP3 in production yet" I'm glad to hear that. I think it is still only a release candidate. ;)

Nice Techie
Nice Techie

At my job we haven't placed SP3 in production yet, although I am pretty sure it will be coming down the pipe soon. But seriously guys, we go through this every time MS releases service packs. Remember, as long as we all do the proper testing we will be ok. We all know someone isn't going to do it and cause major head aches at their business and make the news, then we can justify our positions that much easier because we can say that we tested it so that wouldn't happen.

b4real
b4real

I, too, have been running it for a few weeks and have not had any issues. Much less earth-shattering that SP2!

JCitizen
JCitizen

to help you with your update problems. Just go to the Microsoft Support site and enter your PID and if your OS is supported it will redirect you to free support links(chat at least) but I have had them call me as well. I've received top notch help through them so far. But I must admit is is a little too often.

onoff81
onoff81

Same here, i have installed SP3, n lot of programs just stopped working, my computer is freezing sometimes as well, i meant a complete freezing so the only way to recover from it is to just restart it, i have installed the same games on my other machine where SP2 is installed, the games worked fine when i did the update to SP3, the games stopped working, i tried to work arround it by editing the registry, uninstalling the games, then install them again, but it didn't work! any help.....!!!!!!

bcreighton7
bcreighton7

This was a mess. It nearly locked up alot of computer functionalities. For instance just logging over to different users took 5-10 minutes. I don't remember the other problems I immediately noticed, but there were others. I didn't even get into testing other areas. I didn't uninstall it, I reverted the hard drive, and then did a defrag. I highly suggest this procedure to get rid of this beast. When it is finally released, I will be standoffish for a good month.