Doing SP2

Well, I found the all-encompassing, fits all circumstances version of Windows XP SP2 over here (all 270Mb of it, dial-upers, beware), and installed it.

Should you?

Well, if you’re looking at this while hooked up to some company’s or school’s network, they may not like you very much if you do so. IBM, for instance, told its employees not to do so yet “due to known application problems and incompatibility with IBM workstation applications.” Hewlett-Packard has done the same.

For them, as well as for the average person, any problems encountered with SP2 will likely come from the firewall provided in the package blocking programs from communicating. You may want to see this Microsoft page on what to do should that be the case, along with a list of programs that have some problems/need tweaking. This includes some popular games like UT2003.

In a lot of cases, this will simply be a matter of Windows asking you, “Should I block this or not?” However, it’s not too reassuring when the webpage linked above says, “Sometimes (our emphasis), when Windows Firewall blocks a program, a Windows Firewall Security Alert dialog box appears.”

Well, we can attest that it happens sometimes, because it did just that to me with AIM. I unblocked, and it works fine.

However, AIM is not included in the MS list, and you can hardly call it an obscure program. So odds are, that list is very incomplete.

It should also be pointed out that in at least some of the instances where there’s a problem, it’s not just a matter of saying “Unblock.”


Do you run anything (especially any program that communicates with the outside world all by itself?) you can’t knock out of action? Then don’t update until you’ve found assurances that SP2 won’t break them. Normally, you’d find them at the webpages/forums dedicated to the program. Don’t be too surprised if you find out that you
may have to reconfigure the firewall a little to get a few things to work, and those instructions may not be immediately available. Even if they are, they do you no good if you don’t look for them.

Most people running standalone computers probably aren’t in quite that situation. They still ought to look for assurances, but at the very least, they should leave themselves the option of reversing any changes made by SP2.

Unlike SP1, the default installation has no option for not backing up files changed by SP2. There are ways to force a non-backup, but that’s probably not a good idea, especially if you didn’t check to see if your programs are OK under SP2. Yes, that takes time, but so do reinstalls.

No doubt there will be people who can’t wait and will have the time to download and install SP2, but not have the time to check to see if it breaks anything. They’ll go out of their way to stop a backup, but won’t have a backup plan in case things don’t work out.

Then they’ll complain that they’re Victims of MS.

They’re victims, alright, but they’ve misidentified the culprit. They’re victims of their own lameness.

Be careful, or at least wait a little and let others make the mistakes.

But You Did It!

Of course, but I looked around first, had a backup computer and let SP2 back files up.


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