Is it safe to install Windows XP Service Pack 3 yet?
September 18, 2008 5:41 AM   Subscribe

Is it safe to install Windows XP Service Pack 3 yet?

My Windows Updater has been bugging me since the first of September to install SP 3. I remember earlier this year reading horror stories from family, friends and strangers alike that installing SP 3 borked everything on their computer. Is that still the case, or has Microsoft ironed out the problems by now?
posted by NoMich to Computers & Internet (19 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
Well, my fiance and I installed it a few months ago and everything has been fine.
posted by Nattie at 5:46 AM on September 18, 2008


We use it at the college where I work and have no issues.

There is a one-time Automatic Updates fix that needs to be done, as for some reason Service Pack 3 breaks AU. You can download the updates, but they won't install.

Create a new text document, name it "updatefixer.txt" and open it. Inside, paste this

@cls
net stop wuauserv
regsvr32 wuapi.dll
regsvr32 wuaueng1.dll
regsvr32 wuaueng.dll
regsvr32 wucltui.dll
regsvr32 wups2.dll
regsvr32 wups.dll
regsvr32 wuweb.dll
net start wuauserv
@cls


Save and close. Rename the file to "updatefixer.bat" and run it.

This batch file stops the Updater service, re-registers the .dll's, and starts the service back up.

We used this on every computer that was updated to SP3 (around 200) and have had no problems since then.
posted by DonSlice at 5:49 AM on September 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


I waited about 2 months and then installed on all laptops/PC's in the house.
No negative fallout, and I didn't have to do the fix that donslice posted, so they must have fixed that.
posted by a3matrix at 6:01 AM on September 18, 2008


We required it for incoming freshman to register on our network on campus and I have yet to hear a single instance of someone complaining it hosed their system. We have ~2500 returning students who would have XP.
posted by genial at 6:03 AM on September 18, 2008


No real problems, but it reset all my Office 2007 settings back to the defaults (fonts, colors, etc.) This was a major pain in the ass, because I use Office everyday and had it set "just so."
posted by SuperSquirrel at 6:04 AM on September 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


I've had it installed for a couple of weeks with no problems and I've got a lot of potentially breakable stuff on my PC.
posted by fuse theorem at 6:09 AM on September 18, 2008


or has Microsoft ironed out the problems by now?

The SP3 binary that was released on the day of release is the exact same file that your computer has downloaded. MS has not changed a thing, then again I dont know of any issues with SP3. Arguably, a lot of problems stem from having computers that were on their last legs to begin with.

SP3 is just a collection of the recent hotfixes since SP2 and a few token updates: wpa2, mmc, etc. Its not a major upgrade.
posted by damn dirty ape at 6:58 AM on September 18, 2008


damn dirty ape said:
"The SP3 binary that was released on the day of release is the exact same file that your computer has downloaded. MS has not changed a thing, then again I dont know of any issues with SP3. Arguably, a lot of problems stem from having computers that were on their last legs to begin with."

bears repeating because its true.

with the infinite variety of configurations possible for Windows based PC's, there is no way for us to tell whether or not Sp3 is "safe" to install on YOUR computer. We dont know what software/hardware/drivers,etc you have.

If you are worried about it (and it sounds like you are).. then you should go through your START menu and note down all the software you have installed, and then go do some research to see if those versions are compatible with SP3.

If your computer is a brand name (Dell, Gateway, HP,etc).. you'll want to go to their website and see if there are any hardware driver or BIOS updates listed that might have something relationship to SP3.

In other words: do your homework, clean up your computer (Hard drive Defrag,etc) BEFORE doing SP3.. and you shouldnt have any problems.

Remember: Bad news gets more "news-coverage" than good news. How many times have you seen someone skipping down the street saying "I installed SP3 with NO PROBLEMS!!!!" Right. you dont. There are thousands (probably 10 or 100 thousands) of people who installed SP3 without any problems.
posted by jmnugent at 7:41 AM on September 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


And it seems that bad news by Microsoft gets much more coverage than bad news by Google/Apple etc
posted by bbyboi at 8:15 AM on September 18, 2008


no issues here... the beta of sp3 wrecked some machines but the release that you would download from windows updates today is fine.
posted by zennoshinjou at 8:24 AM on September 18, 2008


The company I worked for okayed SP3 for production just this Monday.
posted by nemoorange at 9:03 AM on September 18, 2008


If you want to just skip past XP Service Pack 3, I've heard good things about this new Mojave operating system from Microsoft.

More helpfully though, I installed SP3 months ago on a lot of work computers and never saw anything go wrong from it.
posted by tushfestival at 9:30 AM on September 18, 2008


I work in a county government IT shop and have been pushing out SP3 for months now. The only problem I've encountered is the aforementioned effect of SP3 breaking Windows Update. I've been using a different method of fixing that than the one DonSlice mentioned above, which I found here, and even that contains some superflous information.

What happens after SP3 is installed is Windows Update will run like normal, detect updates, and download them, but it will fail when it tries to install them.

To fix it, download this Windows Update Agent installer, save it to a directory easily navigable from the command line (I save it to C:\temp\ ) then go to the command line ( Start -> Run, type cmd in the box, press enter), navigate to where you saved the file (type cd\temp and press enter), and run it with the /wuforce option.

So you would type:
C:\temp>WindowsUpdateAgent30-x86 /wuforce
and let it do it's thing.

If you don't give it the /wuforce it will refuse to run.

After that, Windows Update will no longer fail to install updates.
posted by BeerFilter at 9:47 AM on September 18, 2008


No issues here. After my laptop went schizo and refused to work properly, I installed XP SP3 and had no problems, except the initial startup that had nothing to do with the updates (it was an issue with my disk management software).
posted by curagea at 10:46 AM on September 18, 2008


I tried to install it on an IBM thinkpad t30. It broke windows update. I wish I could have read BeerFilter's post a few days ago, it would have saved me hours of frustration.
posted by 517 at 12:18 PM on September 18, 2008


No problems installing on 3 or 4 machines here.
posted by cnc at 1:25 PM on September 18, 2008


I have shepherded ten machines through the SP3 install: office workstation, personal laptop, a VM on my Mac, my Mom's PC, my sister's laptop, two machines owned by a client I do support for, and three other machines owned by good friends.

Of these, exactly one had trouble installing SP3. It just wouldn't install and wouldn't say why, until I downloaded the standalone installer. It turned out that SP3 could not be installed with a particular previously-installed update. I removed that (ignoring the dire warnings that eleventy billion things would break since they were installed afterward), and SP3 installed.

Number of machines that have had difficulty installing updates afterward, necessitating the Update Agent fix: 0.

Anecdotal data, but I'd do a backup and go ahead.
posted by kindall at 4:05 PM on September 18, 2008


It looks like the windows update bug is limited to environments that run WSUS for updates. Residential users probably shouldnt worry. The problem is that admins using WSUS arent updating their clients to the 3.0 version of the client and WSUS doesnt do this automatically. SP3 seems to have an issue with the older wuauclt client.
posted by damn dirty ape at 4:14 PM on September 18, 2008


Well, I went ahead and installed it. So far, everything is as it should be. Thanks for instilling the confidence to run the update.
posted by NoMich at 10:32 AM on September 20, 2008


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