You Install Microsoft's Windows XP SP2?
has released Service Pack 2 to much of
the world, and developers and early adopters world-wide have started
installing this latest set of patches with mixed results. Some
have reported that the patch, once installed, caused three out of five
machines to become completely unusable. Not a very good record,
is a familiar refrain with those who have attempted early installations
of some of Microsoft's previous Service Packs.
SP2 is a major upgrade
to the Windows XP operating system providing a
set of security changes to XP. Among the changes included are the
- Windows Firewall, replacing the old Connection Firewall.
- Anti-virus capabilities built into Windows.
- Windows Security Center
new Windows Firewall is enabled by default and starts itself up
programs in the boot sequence. Some users have found this
annoying, as it requires special configuration for certain programs and
generates warnings for others. The Firewall only protects the
computer from in-bound threats, and does not stop an infected machine
from attempting to spread its infection to other computers.
The new anti-virus
capabilities are provided by the "firewall," and have proven
useful for users who don't currently have anti-virus software installed
on their computers. A major flaw, however, is that third-party
software can disable firewall features leading to an insecure
Readers of past articles will recall that many viruses and worms
attempt to disable anti-virus software and firewalls as one of their
top reported problem with Windows XP SP2? Programs that don't
anymore. There are known problems with numerous applications,
including some from Microsoft. Symantec's Norton Anti-Virus
SP2, but Symantec has released a new version that will work properly
with SP2. You can expect similar problems with other security
Programs that create numerous
connections to other computers are slowed
down by SP2. This new "feature" was added by Microsoft to stop
spread of various worms, such as Sasser, but break various
Other programs with reported
problems include Visual Studio.Net 2003, Microsoft Access 2003, Novell
Style XP, the Thief III game, Radio Userland, Crimson Editor 3.60, the
Tablet PC's OneNote application, the Skype IP telephony program, MSN
Messenger and the ATI graphics control panel. Others are being
found every day.
install or use Service Pack 2 for a while yet. Windows users need to
be cautious, however, as
Microsoft's Windows Update will be attempting to install SP2 on
computers everywhere shortly. Make sure you don't
have Windows Update configured to allow automatic installation of
patches, and don't select SP2
as a patch to be installed on your computer!
With Regards, R. Craig Peterson
P.S. You don't have to
worry about upgrading your Windows XP to SP2 if you're running a good firewall,