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Is your company skittish about XP SP2?

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What's your take on the relevance of Windows XP Service Pack 2? What plans, if any, does your organization have for deploying SP2? If you're putting off this long-awaited update, what are your concerns? Share your comments about the relevance of XP SP2, as discussed in the Nov. 8 Internet Security Focus newsletter.

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nothing to fear

by frnt9 In reply to Is your company skittish ...

I like many of you were skittish upon the release of SP2. Let's face it, MS's track record of top notch patches hasn't been that great. I decided to wait awhile before releasing it to my staff. I installed it on the office desktops about 3 weeks ago. While some of the bells & whistles are useless, the one thing that I hear the most positive feedback on is the built in pop-up protecter. I know its inevitable that something will go wrong in the near future, so hopefully it won't be today.

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No small task to test

by zaferus In reply to nothing to fear

As a medium sized company, we have a lot of offices, hundreds of systems, and several specialized applications. Testing SP2 is a big project.

While our apps are vendor supported (fortunately), very few say they will support SP2. I know Microsoft is big on everyone upgrading and just "going for it", but it's not that simple. And how many business can afford to just cross their fingers on this?

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XP SP2 on hold

We're a small company, I'm the security officer and would like a select with ops-admin what changes are applied to the systems. The removal of internet problems was solved by Foxfire and the new email system neither took 75+ meg's. We have a new laptop with XP and an older desktop. The old desktop took over 5 physical hours to install with Microsoft's assistance together with 4 different 128k memory sticks and 2 different cd drives. We still encounter a number of crashes and send in the notification to MS but only receive its a drive problem contact the manufacture. Well! it would be nice to know which device has the driver problem. As the article indicates we're still running 98 and 2000 but looking very hard at Mandrake.

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will not recommend SP2 for most

by jrice In reply to Is your company skittish ...

Tasked with looking after over 400 desktops I do not feel that this update is needed for all computer systems. I do feel that mobile users will find this a usefull update however the corporate desktop should not need this update for the most part. Workers should not be browsing the internet looking at bad sites so the need for protection with spyware etc is not needed. All the systems I look after are behind good firewalls so again the security changes are not needed for the most part. As for XP running better with the service pack again after seeing a number of systems running side by side this is debatable. Public access systems however do benefit and I have used this service pack on those systems. All and all when I am slow ( yea right) then I always have a make work project installing SP2.

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Big deal about not much

by ccollins In reply to will not recommend SP2 fo ...

SP2 is basically just a modified Internet Explorer and a bit of a firewall. IE6SP2 can be opened up wide just like the older versions and you can turn the firewall off. Big fuss about nothing, in my opinion. I have to support software made fom 98 to date and it all works fine. if you want to you can tweak bits of it - all it took was finding the port numbers of stuff and a little modifying of MS's security recommendations for IE (you have to allow users to add add-ins otherwise javascript doesn't work).

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That is provided the the

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to Big deal about not much

Computer restarts after the install. A lot of P4's don't without Flashing the BIOS to a latter version.

Then there are all the other bits and pieces the complete SP2 is 266 MEG in length so considering the size of the Original XP Pro that we use it is more like a rewrite than a patch. Sure an individual computer may only require 75 odd MEG of download to install SP2 but even 75 MEG is one big patch and when you are looking at several hundred desktops across the business it is just not an option downloading the parts of SP2 that each individual computer requires you have to go with the CD version of the patch.

Then there are the suppliers who actually tell you not to apply the Service Pack like in one of the places where I do the Consulting for every LT is not recommended to apply this patch to. Now that may work or they may not bit without a viable BIOS update I for one would never consider patching the CEO's LT without first knowing if it will work after wards or for that matter any of the other field staff who use these things as they would go complaining to the CEO about the lack of their LT's and being unable to do their work.

Rather than experiment I'm sitting put until the maker of these LT tells me it's OK to install the patch and if things go wrong then at least I have an e-mail to point to and say well the maker claims it's OK to install now!


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very big deal

by apotheon In reply to Big deal about not much

I've got a client I'd like you to tell about how it's no big deal. Fully 50% of his computers would not reboot after he installed SP2 on them against my recommendation.

Once SP2 was installed, it decided that the installed drivers on those systems for the SATA controllers did not belong there, and eliminated the drivers. Unfortunately, the SATA drive attached to the SATA controller in each machine was the bootable drive. Attempting to reinstall the driver didn't work, of course, because during boot the SP2-enhanced OS got rid of the driver again ? which means that Windows XP never finished booting up, and the system could not be rolled back to pre-SP2.

The drives had to be wiped, and XP had to be reinstalled from scratch without SP2. Luckily, this client had critical data backed up.

It was a very big deal.

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SP2 has many good features for remote workforce

by smcgirk In reply to Is your company skittish ...

My company is a National Medical Transcription company,, we have 3500+ users that work from home over VPN using dial-up, DSL or Cable Internet access. We are 70% complete deploying XP to these users and will soon begin testing and deploying SP2. SP2 benifits are many for this type of work force, enhanced firewall features and pop-up blocking (to help thwart spyware and malware) are the primary areas of concern at this time.

If companies are not running XP (has been on the market for 3 years now) they are falling behind current desktop OS technology and will be left behind in the patch management, security fix and application development process. Companies are not writing software for NT4 anymore and Win 2K will soon follow, replaced by Server 2003.

Wind 2k will soon go the way of NT4, this is fact, and as Microsoft stops releasing security updates for these legacy operating systems companies will be at greater and greater risk, not to mention hardware vendors such as HP/Compaq no longer support NT4 on their new servers and workstations.

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SP2 ... I'll wait for SP2A...

by j.g. In reply to SP2 has many good feature ...

I am amazed at the MS company line spouted here: "If companies are not running XP ... they are falling behind current desktop OS technology."
What did you have in mind?
Curvy, blue-tinted user interfaces?
XP Home's inability to join a domain?
Patching everything ELSE on an XP-SP2 system just to make it run again?
A nice read, on-topic, direct from Redmond:

I will wait and see, using OpenOffice, websurfing with Firefox and/or Mozilla, on Win2000, behind a "real" firewall.

P.S. Open Office "*.sxw" documents open up NICELY in IE6, of all apps.

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more than skittish

by apotheon In reply to Is your company skittish ...

There are two XP systems here: one has SP2 on it and the other does not. There's one Windows 98 system as well. All other Windows systems are Win2k, because that's the one that Just Works. The three Windows systems running XP and 98 are useful for testing purposes, as this is an IT consultancy.

Everything else in-house runs Linux at present. It's just safer, and it doesn't require signing over privacy rights to Microsoft to use Linux.

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