Windows XP SP3 - Read all prerequisites for a successful installation
The XP SP3 installation upgrades have worked well for me on three systems and they should for most users. A service pack represents a major upgrade of operating system or product binaries and should be performed in a cautious manner.
Some best practices for a successful installation of XP SP3 (or any major software install) include:
-- Read the Internet Explorer prerequisite information (e.g., IE 6 and IE 8 users are affected -- IE 8 must be uninstalled first and IE 6 users will return to IE 7 if they choose to uninstall XP SP3 later)
-- The "standalone" version for professionals is a huge download (312MB). I had 3 PCs to update and that made it beneficial to use the full version (plus I wanted to archive this as a future backup). For just a single PC, the Windows Update facility provides a more efficient download as it only retrieve only the SP components needed based on the PC configuration.
-- Once you're ready to install, reboot your system for a fresh start
-- Shutdown all possible applications that automatically start-up
-- Disable your Anti-virus software
-- Optional, you may want to temporarily disconnect from the Internet on home PCs to avoid any potential interruptions (only if you're using the standalone version)
-- XP SP3 requires considerable disk space (1GB or more of free space needs to be available). Make certain you have enough free temporary space. If your hard drive is almost full, use the disk clean-up tool and delete all unneeded items.
-- Start the XP SP3 install process and read/accept the various prompts offered
-- Do not use your system for any other activity while it's running
-- Be patient as the update process could require 30 to 60 minutes depending on system speed, free space, and other factors
-- Reboot your system as prompted
-- After the final settings have been made following the reboot, I usually perform an additional reboot to test out the change and to give the PC a fresh start after applying the service pack.
It's important to read and research all prerequisites prior to installing. For example, as I'm currently testing Internet Explorer 8 beta, I discovered it must uninstalled before you can apply the XP SP3 upgrade. After XP SP3 is installed IE 8 was reinstalled.
Internet Explorer Prerequisites - A must read for XP SP3
Excellent resource for Windows XP SP3 links and information
Microsoft Forums - XP SP3 issues can be reviewed or reported here:
Other XP SP3 Issues - A few systems have experienced constant reboot issues
May 13, 2008 Update: The following blog entry provides an excellent overview of most current issues:
Shaun Cassells Blog - Some XP SP3 Users Experience Crashes, Mostly Due to OEM Problems
QUOTE: While Windows XP is receiving some bad press due to the crashes, again, it appears that most of the crashes are due to hardware issues stemming from unsupported configurations, and thus the blame fall largely to the PC manufacturers, and the makers of component drivers. Fortunately, the majority of the problems have easy fixes that do not even requiring uninstalling the Service Pack.
Similar problems occurred with Windows Vista SP1, though in that case the blame ended up resting with a Microsoft pre-install update. It is fairly typical for a Service Pack to take some computers out of commission, particularly one for an OS with as large an operating base and as varied a hardware environment as Windows XP. Nonetheless, such problems are serious concerns for users affected, and those potentially at risk.