Sunday, August 15, 2004

XP Service Pack 2 Initial Impressions

Although XP SP2 hasn't been released for general consumption, in the sense of being available through Windows Update, it is available through MSDN, here (266 meg download). I downloaded it and installed it on my Compaq Presario 710 US laptop this morning. Specs for this box are a 1 GHz AMD Duron CPU and 256 MB of RAM.

Download via my cable modem took about 15 minutes. Since the box was acting sluggish when I tried to maximize Thunderbird and Firefox, I rebooted it before proceeding.

After Windows came back up I navigated to C:\Temp, where I'd dumped the file, and doubleclicked on it to start the update. It first had to decompress the cab file, which took about 5 minutes, then created a restore point and went on to install the SP itself. The whole process including the reboot afterwards took about an hour. If this had been a desktop with at least a 5400 RPM hard disk I'm sure it would've taken much less time, but as always, the laptop's 4200 RPM hard disk and accordingly low disk I/O performance dragged things out.

The box had not been set for Automatic Updates, so upon reboot I was first presented with a screen offering to set this up for me. I let it do this, although I subsequently changed it to automatically download and then prompt me to install patches. I don't like automatic installation of patches.

When the desktop came up I was presented with a Windows Security Center window. This told me the status of the Windows Firewall, Automatic Updates, and my antivirus program (AVG from Grisoft).

I'll need to work with it for awhile to see if SP2 broke anything or if it left my setup mostly untouched. I'll post additional reports as warranted.

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