Microsoft finally releases Windows XP SP2.

According to the folks at the oft-delayed Service Pack 2 for Windows XP has finally gotten the green light from Microsoft so they’ve written up a review of it. The decision was made on Saturday with plans to have it available for download sometime today from Microsoft’s Download Center. Expect Windows Update to carry SP2 a little later in the month and the first boxed units of Windows XP with SP2 already integrated to hit store shelves within a few weeks. 

For awhile it was also possible to order SP2 on CD free of charge, but the site with that info has been changed recently to discuss how to turn on automatic updates instead. Word has it that they’ll offer a CD install of SP2 again in a few weeks for those of you out there without broadband. I managed to get a CD ordered before they changed the site so that I can use it to update folks who don’t have broadband that ask me to do work on their PCs. Should you rush out and install it ASAP? Considering how swamped the servers are likely to be for awhile there’s probably no great harm in waiting for a bit, but it is the sort of update that you’re going to want to apply at some point in the not too distant future.

19 thoughts on “Microsoft finally releases Windows XP SP2.

  1. So far, Micro$oft has only published the network release of SP2 via the web and I would advise those out there not all that comfortable with network dialog to avoid it.  I’ve only seen it on TechNet thus far.

    This seems a bit odd as they had just announced delays as recently as last week.  I believe I’ll hold off a couple of weeks and let the dust settle.  Definitely looking forward to having some pesky holes plugged up though.

  2. Yeah … I’m definitely waiting to hear what this patch breaks before I go installing it (or letting it be installed at home).

  3. Here are three ZDNET reviews.

    IBM goes slow on XP update

    IBM wants to some pre-installation testing because of concerns about changes in the IE interface and about compatibility issues.

    SP2’s new firewall: Better than nothing, but not good enough

    The article describes SP2 and its interface and discusses third party Firewall vendors. I couldn’t really tell where the reviewer had reservation, but it was a quick read through on my part.

    Code check: SP2 may cover worm holes

    A security company reverse engineered the software and liked some of what they saw—specifically stack and memory protection. But

    Of course, the latest upgrade to Windows is not a complete cure for all of its security ills, says Hyppönen. There are plenty of third-party applications, such as instant messaging clients, that create similar vulnerabilities. There is also the continuing problem of users.

    “There are always users who are going to do the wrong things, and that will remain the number one problem—but the attacks will spread much more slowly. We will be getting rid of most of the fast-spreading network worms,” he said.


  4. I’ve been running the release candidates for the best part of 5 months and they’ve both been rock solid with barely any glitches or incompatibilities. The Network Install might sound scary but all it means is that you download one big file that can be installed on any machine, whether it was an XP Pro machine with all current patches or an XP Home machine fresh out of the box. Obviously it’s big but I was getting a consistant download speed of 112KB/sec from (only 8KB/sec slower than the maximum my connection allows) so it shouldn’t take long if you download it now. You could always burn it to CD, and there are plenty of mirrors around.

    If you’re on dial-up then it may be better to wait until it hits Windows Update as then you may only have to download around 80MB – it won’t download what you don’t need.

  5. Ok it’s silly question time!
    I know my way around for the most part.
    I am trying to avoid reinstalling XP again!

    A problem has cropped up recently from using windows update.  Recently a VIA tech (I know get rid of VIA) patch is was available.  Since ( and this is a guess) I ran win update my PC was acting funny i checked NTlog and 2/3 of my drivers (VIA related) weren’t loading even though nothing shows as wrong in windows. and the system is fine just slow, noticeably slow.  So I used sys restore.  It was all good.
    Then it happened again now it won’t let me restore that far back.  I’ve found nothing in forums thus far relating to my problem.
    Is it likely that Service pack 2 will have all the updates from service pack 1 until now?
    This would also be handy to rebuild after a worm or virus as a PC is rather vulnerable until windows is patched on reinstall.
    Any thoughts?

  6. So far, the MS site isn’t getting hammered too hard, I’m getting 165KB/s from Microsoft (direct link on

  7. LK, that is a good, not at all silly question.  Service packs include previous service packs.  So if you burn SP2 on a CD, you can rebuild a system offline, then hit it with SP2 before connecting.

    Sysrestore probably isn’t letting you restore that far back because it may not have a stored image of that vintage.

    Best thing is update your antivirus and spybot S&D, then go offline and turn off sysrestore, then scan the heck out of your machine with no folder exclusions. Then turn Sysrestore back on and make a restore image (or whatever they call it)

    Although… it sounds like MS is hedging its bets on the finality of SP2.  As if they might tweak it a little more.  Does anyone have any thoughts on that?  I must admit to wanting to watch other people install SP2 before I try it. (Based on my previous experience with MS service packs).

  8. I’ve downloaded and installed SP2.  The download took little under an hour (it may have been less) via my Adelphia cable line.  I think i’m the only one in my little town using Adelphia for their internet connection, so that might explain the amazing speed.

    Installing it took over an hour (great time to do a water change on my aquariums), and went without a hitch.  So far, i have not found any compatability issues.  The only annoying thing is my firewall (ZoneAlarm 4.5) is having to re-learn which apps can/not access the net.  And, strangely, the MS Security Centre popped up and wanted to know if it should block Trillian (no, thank you), but has yet to do so for many other apps.

    Anyone encounter SP2 related issues ?

  9. Biggest problem I’ve found with sp2 is that it turns services back on that I disabled (built-in firewall and some others I can’t think of) after doing another update.

  10. I recently updated to SP2 and have noticed that the drag and drop cd burning does not work. Have tried it on three machines. It post under details that the disc has no free space. This occurs on DVD+RW and CD-ROMS does not seem to be a problem with CDRW’s.

  11. drewnel – Have you tried copying from a command prompt to determine if it is a GUI problem with the archive bit set?  Are you running any third party software such as Nero or CreateCD?  I don’t think CreateCD is compatible with SP2 yet, at least through RC1.  I know people have been reporting problems with USB drives also.  You might want to check your drive and see if there is an updated driver out there if it is USB, which a lot of the internal writers are.

  12. The problem seems to be that windows xp SP-2 does not recognize free space on the disk. There is however free space and it has not been closed. Can burn to disc with both nero and roxio but not cmd prompt. cmd prompt also shows no free space on disc.

    No drives are usb drives all are ide using the standard widows driver

  13. sorry forgot to mention that this only seems to be a problem with dvd+/-RW or standard cd-rom drives. They all report no free space on disc. But when a standard CDRW/Dvd combo drive is installed it reports free space correctly and while allow burning.

  14. Check out this bullshit…

      I thought I would share the disastrous results I had with Windows SP2.

      I would consider myself an experienced user as I act as the IS manager for our retirement system. We have operations on a mid-sized AS/400 operation, Windows Servers, and use a Linux server.

      This was my personal machine at home. No work software installed.

      It was installed on a genuine Intel 2.0 ghz, 768 meg. mem., 60 Gig harddrive space – over 1/2 free. Windows XP Professional with every update religiously done when they come out to date before SP 2 was placed on.

      The following resulted:

      – Windows Update no longer can work on this machine. It gets the error “08EFD”. I have tried all recommended changes. Some of the sections it says to go to no longer exist on my computer; they did prior to the SP2 installation. Windows own site cannot overcome it’s own XP Professional update.
      – I have the Administrator rights prior to the installation. After SP2 I am listed as the Administrator, but every program that refers to those rights says I do NOT have Administrator rights.
      – Both Internet Explorer (6.0 with SP1) or Netscape (7.1) will NOT allow entry into any SECURED site. Any attempt to use a secure site comes with the message of cannot detect settings.
      – Both browsers will allow entry to any UNsecured site.
      – The Opera 7.5 browser installation that worked without conflict prior to SP 2 installation was deactivated completely, automatically, and the desktop icon automatically removed by SP2.
      – Norton Internet Security was previously installed WITHOUT the Firewall activated. NI will NOT allow me to make any modifications to it because it states I don’t have Administrator rights. I can’t even uninstall it for the original CD.
      _ Norton Utilities was particular hardhit with conflicts in the SP2 installation. It’s Internet Security product was in direct conflict with SP2. But you go to a Symantec website, and all you read is about glowing reports that nothings wrong.
      – The internet is so crucial to my business, that this machine has now become totally useless. I feel my only approach is to wipe it all and go through the Microsoft installation dance.
      – I couldn’t recover using Powerquest Drive Image because that also has been made unusable so any backup I had is unavailable because Drive Image no longer works.

      I finally, manually, removed every Windows Update item that referred to SP2. The remove feature required me to do this one by one. It took 25 reboots. After that I could get Drive Image, my main backup to work, and go back to an earlier save. Yes, I get the old pop ups back, but at least I have my computer back. Since we are all required to use Microsoft products, Microsoft should take better care.

      I am particular disturbed as to how badly Symantec’s Internet Security screwed up in SP2. It locked me out of my own machine! It wouldn’t let me uninstall it, and it’s options were unworkable.

      Microsoft supposedly spent $300 million on this update; at the same time giving away $36 billion to it’s shareholders. Maybe they could have diverted another 1% of their excess cash to get this right ($360 million).

    I found this on Dvorak’s Blog
    I think I’ll hold off for a spell!

  15. Ohhh pleaaaase!!!!!! Don’t tell me I have to go through ALL of this shit again when I upgrade to XP eventually. All the work just trying to get stuff to work.

    I just had to completely wipe/restore my Win98 system because of the aftereffects of a ‘simple’ crash and I still got issues with my graphics card. New problems in fact this time hmmm

    Sheesh. Almost makes me want to buy a console. Almost.

  16. Just had to system restore my XP laptop which had SP2 on and worked fine (restored due to other non-related problem). Now when I re-install SP2 update I can’t get onto internet.  Microsoft said it was due to firewall issues but didn’t tell me what to do.  I Disabled the firewall but still can’t get on.  Modem working fine as when SP1 I can access internet.  Wondered if it could be Spybot program stopping me getting on or other software? so, to talk to you now I am back to SP1 and staying like that until I sort this out… any suggestions?

  17. when i installed SP2 on my XP pro my used space on c:\ increased from 3.67 GB to 4.86 GB. when i total up the folder size (including system & hidden folders) the 750 MB of space is unaccounted. who has eaten up the space?

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