Windows

Windows XP Service Pack 3 is available now

At some point after noon CST on Tuesday, March 6th, Microsoft made their latest service pack for Windows XP available. Earlier that day, articles were still being written about the latest collection of bug fixes and added features being "in limbo." However, the update is now ready for download from Microsoft's Windows Update site.

At some point after noon CST on Tuesday, March 6th, Microsoft made their latest service pack for Windows XP available.  Earlier that day, articles were still being written about the latest collection of bug fixes and added features being "in limbo."  However, the update is now ready for download from Microsoft's Windows Update site.

XP and Vista service packs still in limbo (Yahoo News)

The update contains all of the bug fixes that have been released prior to the service pack, along with some feature upgrades.  Among these are Network Access Protection, which checks antivirus and patch levels before it allows a computer access to the network, as well as black hole router detection.  Microsoft hasn't always done a good job with patching and service packs, but has been improving lately to the point that some people believe that they are headed in a positive direction where Apple's patch management has gotten worse.

Windows XP SP3 Inches Closer To Release (Information Week)

XP SP3, Vista SP1 back online for automatic updates (Network World)

Apple's Security Patch Process Gets Worse While Microsoft's Gets Better  (Information Week)

Microsoft's patch management strategy has seriously evolved over the past 10 years.  The last truly bad service pack I have seen was SP4 for Windown NT 4.0 (never in my life have I seen so many BSOD's as after that one), but all of them since then have broken far less than they have fixed.  Breaking with my usual tradition, I included the service pack on a machine I started building yesterday, where I usually wait a few weeks before applying a new service pack.  Are you happy with the job Microsoft is doing with patch management?

48 comments
kcrochet
kcrochet

Based on internet listings, there is a widely known bug in SP3 for Office 2003. Comboboxes go blank. The fix seems simple enough but entails working the fix on each combobox individually.

jacquesb
jacquesb

I tried to install mine, but it stops; "Control ID not found" I have no idea what's that. Can someone help me? jacquesb@gmx.com

mharris
mharris

I downloaded and installed SP3 and it locked my computer internet access. I couldn't accrss IE or Outlook Express. I have DSL access thru a local router. I other computers worked ok. removed SP 3 and now all is well

kwilliams30
kwilliams30

This link will get you to the Microsoft page that will let you know what is/is not included in SP3. Scroll down and open/download the Overview file you want. http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=68C48DAD-BC34-40BE-8D85-6BB4F56F5110&displaylang=en Also, Knowledgebase Article 936929 lists all other all Knowledge Base articles associated with updates that are included in Windows XP SP3. You can get the Knowledgebase article at the following link: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/936929

JohnMcGrew
JohnMcGrew

...and no problems yet. Will let it go awhile before I let it deploy to my masses.

yam650e
yam650e

Installed the service pack yesterday, on my home PC's (two desktops and a laptop). So far no problems have been noted with XP or any other programs that I have run.

eric.l.harris
eric.l.harris

A vanilla install of XP SP2 last night and the first update I see is SP3. Put that down and afterwards all updates fail. Either something went wrong of MS forgot to remove some dependencies.

jaomadn
jaomadn

hi i have i querry did the new release of SP3 had fix the issue on realtek audio about the update kb888111 only SP1 & SP2, because i already install service 3 releases but have some problem is realtek auido it doesn't work or the driver is not compatible on SP3..

Derikd
Derikd

Does anybody know how up to date you will you be regarding Microsoft's security patches if you do a clean install of XP Sp3. By this I mean the updates that Microsoft bring out on Patch Tuesday every month. Up to what number is included with SP3? Thanks Derik

bowenw
bowenw

I was able to snatch XP SP3 last week from the Microsoft server before it was fenced off because of the POS software issue. So far I've installed it on 6 machines ranging from a 1998 vintage P2-366 Compaq laptop to a 6-month old Toshiba tablet machine. In all cases the install went just fine (though it took bloody forever on that old Compaq laptop). The only glitch I've found so far is if you have your Boot.ini file modified to turn off DEP the SP3 installer will modify that entry and restore DEP to operation. Takes less than 30 seconds to reset it back to off. Other than that one issue I've had ZERO problems with SP3 (I was a bit worried about that Toshiba tablet so I held off and did it last, but my fears seem to be unwarranted). The slower machines do seem to operate a bit faster, though the improvement is not big (around 6~10%). Memory footprint before and after is with +/- 3MB. It appears that MS actually got it pretty much right on this SP.

edgabel
edgabel

SP3 installed on my Dell notebook and one of my desktops (HP) without problems. Tommorrow, my other desktop (Dell) gets it. (LOL)

jerseyjoe
jerseyjoe

I was asked to test SP3 on my workstation. I've installed it yesterday afternoon and so-far-so-good.

Andy J. Moon
Andy J. Moon

I broke one of my longstanding rules yesterday when I installed the latest Microsoft service pack without first waiting at least two weeks to make sure that others didn't have any problems with it. However, Microsoft's patches and service packs have gotten dramatically better over the decade or so since the fourth service pack for Windows NT 4.0 seemed to break more than it fixed. Will you be installing XP SP3 in the near future?

RodsMine
RodsMine

"The fix seems simple enough"... and the fix is?

Buff Loon
Buff Loon

jacquesb@ On my computer it refers to Admimistrative rights, are you logged in as Administrator? I had the same hassles until I set my computer up with owner/administrator login and password.... If I were you I'd locate one of the IT's in this blog, and ask them the question... I'm a music teacher...and I'm coming from experience.. good luck.. jaxontop2

Cynthia R.
Cynthia R.

I've just installed service pack 3 because Microsoft made it a High Priority Update and didn't give me much choice. Can anyone tell me what it has changed?

slatimer76
slatimer76

I have several machines where I have done this exact thing. I installed XP SP2, updated to SP3 and now, when Automatic updates occur, the updates are not installed. This includeds IE7, and Office 2007 SP1. The .msi install file that is downloaded will install, but ALL auto updates/windows updates website/microsoft update website fail to install. Any Ideas??

Trs16b
Trs16b

We had 2 machines going out to users yesterday. 1 brand new Dell Vostro, and on re-build Dimension. After XP PRO SP2 installs we ran the SP3 update. Vostro then failed on all other updates (IE7 and such), while the Dimension puttered right along during these updates. Not exactly glitch free.

gsimoni
gsimoni

I'm using xp64bit ona several pc's, and I wanted to download sp3 but I could't. Maybe someone knows the URL to download it? Regards, George

VAR1016
VAR1016

Exasperated with Vista (OEM installation on new computer) I decided I would replace it with XP. I bought an OEM XP home on ebay, but before installing I arranged Google updates on the subject of SP3. I decided to ignore the tales of doom anyway. I cleared out all the Vista rubbish and installed XP - so easy - even I had no problems! I installed all the necessary drivers for my computer and I then held my breath and installed SP3. So simple and quick and no problems whatsoever. And so much faster than Vista; and all my peripherals worked first time with installation in seconds - even Bluetooth works (never did on my old XP computer). I am content (you don't read that very often do you?) Paul

Buff Loon
Buff Loon

I've got a flakey Vista, and Depend on my healthy XP to keep going. I downloaded several pages from Monkeysoft re: cautions on installing SP3 on XP. There's an awful lot of RED writing in thier advisory, and I need to read and understand it thorougly....B4 I jump in. I have a great working XP now, I'm going to wait awhile a couple weeks (months, years ?) or more, and let everyone proof out Monkeysofts latest attempt at Programming. Vista burned me several times, and still continues to dictate what I do on my computer depending on the mood it's in. It's a partime employee, when it shows up. I don't trust Monkeysoft, and I would'nt advise anyone else to do so. Then again there are those who love to reformat thier drives and reinstall the OS time and time again, kind of a pain/pleasure thing. Wierd.... If it aint Broke, don't fix it...that's the best advice I've ever heard. Good luck Gang... jaxontop2 (trying to stay there)

garyleroy
garyleroy

I've done several successful SP3 updates, and one uninstall (to see if it was causing a modem problem, which it wasn't). There is a somewhat tricky issue with IE7; they chose NOT to include IE7 in SP3, to cater to those still using IE6, which makes things awkward. It's recommended that you uninstall IE7 first, run SP3, and then reinstall IE7. Even at that, there's a problem with a couple of updates for IE7 that don't install after that, but that is being fixed. An alternative, assuming your system is working well, is to do a disk image first, which is a wise idea with any service pack. The reason in this case is that you cannot uninstall IE7 after applying sp3, unless you uninstall sp3 first. If you should have to do a repair using the Windows disk, it will repair the system using IE6 files, and having IE7 installed will cause IE to not work at all. This sounds like a real mess, but with the disk image for a backup, the unlikely need for a repair is minimal. I chose this one, leaving IE7 on and applying sp3, giving up my option to use the XP repair, rather than open another can of worms by shuffling IE's around. Take your pick, just be aware that if you don't do a disk backup and you don't remove IE7 before applying sp3, your windows disk repair option will not work.

RodsMine
RodsMine

HP a1630n (AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual-Core) running 32-bit WinXP SP2. I read the Release Notes, did not have any of the problematic software that tends to cause installation problems, etc. Initial installation completed without a hitch, but the "restart to finish installation" was an infinite loop of rebooting. After the 'black screen with the green bar" turns into a real black screen just before the blue 'loading Windows' screen comes on, I had a BSOD; it flies by so fast I can't pause to capture the 2-3 lines displayed on it. I had to uninstall SP3.

wesley.chin
wesley.chin

NAP (Network Access Protection) is included with SP3. Right now, there is not a server at the workplace, but there has been talk of possible having one in the future. Given that, would it be advisable to install SP3? Right now there is no server, all of the computers are standalone,with file-sharing enabled.

nepenthe0
nepenthe0

I must have grabbed SP3 minutes before Microsoft yanked it off the website April 29th. It was ~320MB download (2-3 minutes with Comcast broadband internet), and took only 10 minutes to install. Several weeks ago, I installed the [i]beta[/i] version of SP3, but IE-6 subsequently misbehaved. I prefer IE-6 because I can consolidate all requisite buttons in a single toolbar - particularly useful with the notebook computer. The SP3 version transiently posted April 29th fully supports my prefered IE-6. It adds an annoying folder (called [i]favorites[/i]) to the Favorites drop-down menu to push Microsoft services, but this can be deleted by a simple Registry edit. It also disallows tampering with the RPC service (Remote Procedure Call) - it can no longer be disabled or altered to [i]manual[/i]. After 8 days of [i]testing[/i], I'm compelled to give SP3 a [b]thumbs up[/b]. Rick/Portland, OR

Jim_MacLachlan
Jim_MacLachlan

I'm refurbishing a couple of old PC's & found that it's an automatic update already if Microsoft Update is set to Express. It's got a special blurb & section if you choose Custom. I'm installing it on a few PC's now, including my own. So far, so good, even with a program that has some Vista issues (ProE, a mechanical CADD program). I'll be testing it later with Protel DXP, an electrical CADD program. I need to find out the bad news quickly. Hopefully, there won't be any. I agree with not installing it immediately, but I haven't set up a WSUS server yet & have most of my 85 PC's set to update automatically. Patches have gotten a lot better, although I still won't install a video or NIC patch unless all else has failed. I don't know that I've ever been happy with the former. Thank goodness (Microsoft?!!!) hardware patches aren't automatically pushed.

boxfiddler
boxfiddler

at least not on my own computers. I'll wait a few weeks, watching what happens with the work machines after it is installed there, and keeping my eyes peeled for trouble in Cyberville. While it may be true that updates, SP's, have improved over the past decade, they haven't improved that much that 'fixes' don't still sometimes break something that wasn't broken. Wait and see. Wait and see.

richard.wilson
richard.wilson

that your job role shows "Education" yet you are giving tech advice on a tech forum... (Not to mention the HUGE amount of grammatical errors. What exactly do you teach?)

garyleroy
garyleroy

There has been an issue with the Intel driver being reenabled by sp3, in cases where manufacturers used the same disk image for their Intel and AMD processors, and just disabled the Intel one. If you have an AMD and especially if it's a mass-produced unit, a single registry change in safe mode should fix it: http://forums.microsoft.com/TechNet/ShowPost.aspx?PostID=3285530&SiteID=17 I've installed sp3 on both AMD's and Intels successfully without issues, but none were mass production machines.

richard.s
richard.s

Same here, WinXP SP3 appeared to install but after re-starting the PC it became stuck in a repeated rebooting loop. Eventually it allowed me into "Safe Mode" but "add/remove programs" refused to remove SP3, wrongly claiming that the language was "Bosnian"! The "restore point" eventually rolled-back and removed SP3, taking 2 to 3 hours, but trashed IE7. I'll now have to completely reformat the hard drive and reinstall all the other programs. SP3 is not yet ready for general release.

breathe
breathe

Do you happen to know where I can find a comprehensive list of all of the functionality changes that SP3 includes (e.g., removing ability to disable RPC service, etc.)? I'm alway reluctant to implement upgrades if I don't know specific details of what underlying elements have been changed.

jdclyde
jdclyde

B-) I always let people that are either braver or dumber than me do the testing of service packs.

Buff Loon
Buff Loon

Hello ricgal.. I do work on my XP pro, which is very dependable it has SP1 and SP2. This posting is about the "XP" SP3 coming out...which I don't want to have it turn my XP into a Vista. Is your problem/Question about win Vista or win XP? Vista SP1 along with a lot of other updates MS put out has a few problems the Vista SP1 is built to reveal or correct. It did fix some of the flaky problems my Vista started out with from the factory. (H-Packard) installed OS). Vista is a slower responding OS than XP and is security biased, that is to say it will prevent some applications from installing or working as well or as freely as they do on an XP OS. I have had to spend some time finding workarounds and fixes for some of Vistas personality flaws, things I could not live with. Vista is also a Memory hog, it needs all the RAM you can install, as well as a add-on video card to have it perform well. Put simply, Vista has not been "user friendly" for us compared to XP or Mac OS. I would advise you to find your "System Restore" program and back up your computer just B4 you install new upgrades, updates or new software, this can take a time, but its the fastest way to get you going again when your system flakes out on you. I'm not sure I understand what you are saying, "why web forms time out", does your laptop flake out filling out forms on the web? Does IExplorer flake out and give you an error message then shut down? Does your ISP send you messages about "timing out"? Most of these problems can be fixed, but they are not all related or the same cause. Internet Explorer 7.0 can cause some of these problems depending on how it's configured. Windows Defender and Firewall, do present some hitches, depending on what they are configured to allow/prevent... I went with Zone Alarm, so as to have control with a Security system friendly to my Computers usage. I would'nt be too afraid of Vista SP1, but be sure to back up your System and Files with System Restore B4 you install anything new. I hope this helps... ....there is a lot of Info and fix's as well as workarounds available on Tech Republic, subscribe to thier newsletters, they post new info all the time as well as fix's for new and old problems. jaxontop2

david
david

So it makes sense to wait at least one month before attempting to install SP3. Let others do the beta testing! I'll probably let it percolate 2 to 3 months in the mainstream before deploying.

ricgal
ricgal

Our newest computer is a Toshiba laptop that came preinstalled with Vista home premium. It has been pretty reliable so far, but I have lost some web responses I was working on. Vista Home Premium, no service pack AVG anti virus Windows Defender Windows Firewall Microsoft Office Home and Student 2007 OpenOffice2.4 Firefox 2.0.0.14 Filezilla eSword The Sword Project (not the same as eSword) PeerGuardian BlueCoat K9 Just putting this out for discussion. I am reluctant to download SP1. Intel Centrino Duo blessings

Buff Loon
Buff Loon

I teach music comp and performance. I also teach recording, mixing and mastering with the computer, some on PC and some on Mac. The computer has become a valuable tool for the music industry, music students don't always stay in performance, this gives them a place in the music and movie industry, it allows them a place to expand thier talents. While I'm not a Computer Tech, I do have an opinion as to what tools are dependable and which ones are not, Vista has not been dependable for us. When we spend several hours on a piece of music to have it disapear and have to spend time trying to get the PC up and running it has become waste of time and productivity as much as the business that looses his data base and has to rebuild it from memory. Computer Techs do this for a living, they design and fix computers and software, because thats where thier talents and desires lead them. Users are not all Computer Techs and Computer Techs are not all auto engineers or mechanics but we all have an opinion on what autos or computers are lemons and we do have our say. Being a Tech, tell me why is my XP and Mac OS so much more dependable than Vista, should I waste my time with Vista or wait till it becomes a dependable tool? Advice from someone like you who knows will be appreciated. Thanks for the comments, everyone should take what any of us has to say with a grain of salt. By the way, I was not an english major, I spent too much time on notation and theory jammin with the jazz band. jaxontop2

garyleroy
garyleroy

My guess would be that whatever he teaches, it's done on a Mac, because the comments have a smell of rotten Apples, and about as much credibility as the Apple commercials. Monkeysoft? Wait a few months/years to install SP3? Monkeysoft's latest attempt? Phew. I mean, Vista isn't my favorite, but it works OK, just a bit demanding, and MS's service packs and updates have been remarkably good the last few years...I had no issues with multiple machines for XP sp1, 2, and now I've put SP3 on 4 (so far) without a hitch. I read the precautions MS gave; I didn't see any confusing red warning lines, just a bit of common sense. I covered myself with full disk images of each because that's how I do it, none were needed.

JamesRL
JamesRL

After DOS 4.0 and several other disasters , some of us adopted that attitude. Excel's second version was named.....2.2 just to fake us out(there was no 2.0 or 2.1). James

Buff Loon
Buff Loon

I first got burned a lttle with win95, or was it DOS 6.0, then came win 97, then win98, then win 98SE, and held off till XP Pro, and got burned a little on XP SP1, Then along came SP2 and it fixed some of the SP1 leftovers....lately I adopted a Vista...this kid is different than all the others, I got a lot to learn with this one. My most indelible experience is all the OS's behaved differently on any same year,model manuf/hardware as well as any dis-similar machines. That is to say, every machine from the same family genesis or mixed marriage has its own personality with a few wierd electrons here and there. I've done transplants in sound and video cards, memory and CPU's and had good results in operating habits from the OS's to correct some of the bad OS personality traits. I Try to stock up in workarounds, fixs, replacement software and a lot of Pro Information off the net....so as to tackle the little irritations and big conflicts when they arise. Your first child won't help you a lot when you have to deal with the dis-similar problems the second one dreams up. If machines and software were cookie cutter perfect, most IT's, Comp Engineers and programmers would be flippin big macs or running thier own multi-level, multi-conglomarate mega-profitable business in some other line of work... My advice is keep a data base on what went wrong, and how you handled it, what others had go wrong and what they did to handle the problems. Computers like People are a crapshoot, the more you know about their personalities the more prepared you'll be to deal with them...but it won't always be easy....with something like a Vista Personality...I think an upgrade video card might give this latest kid a better outlook on life..I hope.. Thats my dig...Good luck keep us informed on your experiences...with the new Kid. jaxontop2 (hopefully)

bill
bill

Sometimes MS gets it right, but often enough to make one wary they don't. My policy for years now is NEVER jump at ANYTHING from Microsoft at the 1.0 stage. MS tends to think that their early-adopters of new MS software can be treated like beta testers, and I'm not risking my systems to debug their half-tested attempts. I'm waiting at least another month for others to trip the hidden wires first.

jdclyde
jdclyde

my coworker took it upon herself to order and load a users system with 64bit XpPro instead of the 32bit version we have EVERYWHERE else. A month later, it took a bit for me to figure out why a package wasn't loading correctly...... it just didn't like it. Oh, and then there was the time she ordered a laptop with media edition.... oh and before that....... ~sigh~

JamesRL
JamesRL

For our customers, not supporting Vista yet, and delaying support till the last minute. We have some issues with Vista printer drivers. We do internal testing on new service packs, and generally implement them a month later. If there is a problem with a service pack the net usually picks up the scuttlebutt within a week or so. James

jdclyde
jdclyde

There is a big difference between updating your own system, and updating your users or a server. This is a reason I went with SuSE instead of the millions of completely free versions. I don't WANT bleeding edge, and I don't WANT updating all the time. Get it tested, get it stable, and leave it alone until you have a valid reason for changing it. In about a month, I will try out the sp3 update.

JamesRL
JamesRL

When I installed Vista SP1, I had just migrated to a new computer a week earlier, so I had an external drive with a backup of everything. So if it did go all wrong, I could reinstall the original OS and be back in business in a short time. To me its a risk analysis. I had little to risk, and if I believed the hype, much to gain. I would be much more cautious with server OSs though.... James

btd
btd

Normally I wouldn't... but this has been in beta forever. I installed it on a laptop and a desktop we're prepping for imaging. So far so good, they actually seemed a little faster (talk to me again in a week). I found a couple of the little tweaks (msconfig tools tab, improved remote desktop client) and can honestly say I'm pleasantly surprised. I'm loading it on 1 of 3 of my home units to see how that goes next.

boxfiddler
boxfiddler

when running NT4.0 Workstation. Was running SP5 with no problems. SP6 was released, and it being early in my Windows life I just went right ahead and installed it, no questions asked. Big booboo. Had to rebuild. I wait at least 6 weeks or so now.

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