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What Do You Think of Service Pack 3 for XP?

by analyzerbunny / September 20, 2008 3:21 AM PDT

Up until this August, my desktop had XP Pro with service pack 2.

However, after getting infected with a virus and having to take it into a repair shop, even though I instructed the tech to not put service pack 3 on my computer he did and told me after the fact.

He said it was necessary for security updates.

However, I don't like a lot of things my computer has been doing since getting it back.

It runs fast and hasn't frozen or crashed, but there's a lot of irritating quirks it has now.

For example, my screen saver works perfectly except if I am playing music in Windows Media Player 11.

The system will not allow me to install WMP version 10 (my favorite). All I can do is roll back to version 9 and the re-install version 11.

I have a windows installer pop up on my screen several times and then disappear (which has happened almost every time I've used the computer).

I have had application errors where I am asked to click "cancel" to debug or "Ok" to terminate the program.

Recently, my Earthlink dial-up window started popping up every ten minutes causing my screen save to go off (something that's never happened before).

Once after putting the compute in stand by, when I woke it up, the welcome screen came up and told me the computer was locked because it was being used by another user. Although I was able to click the log in box and get back to the desktop, I didn't like getting that message.

Fortunately, that has only happened once.

Additionally, I had installed Fix It 8 on the computer (the tech recommended I get the program) and after uninstalling it to do some trouble shooting was unable to get it re-installed. A window kept popping up telling me the serial no. was already in use. Not even anyone at Avant could help me get it back on the computer.

Black "underscores" began to appear on my desktop which would disappear and then reappear in a different spot if I moved an icon over them.

After turning off invisble files just after getting my computer back, about ten days later, the invisible files started showing up again, and I had to go back and turn it off again.

The tech had recommended scanning the computer with Trend Micros free onling scan, and each time it got to the "greyware and malware" scan there was an error.

Upon checking Trend Micros latest version Service Pack 3 was not listed in the "system requirements", so I could only imagine their program is not geared to scan computers with service pack 3.

The tech told me service pack 3 had been out at least a year, when in fact it was only released to the public May 6th of this year, and I am very concerned about having such a massive update put on my computer that is so new because as far as I can tell, my computer ran much better with service pack 2. With service pack 2 my computer didn't do all these weird and irritating things.

Does anyone out there have any experience or opinions about service pack 3?

Should I get it off my computer until its been around long enough for all the bugs and glitches to be worked out and for all the software companies to get up to speed on it?

What do you think?

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What matters to you is what matters.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / September 20, 2008 3:33 AM PDT

"What Do You Think of Service Pack 3 for XP?"

It's been just fine here however you can find where the increased security or forced moves to the latest Microsoft WMP or other tools are not acceptable to some. Microsoft has written all about why so I won't duplicate it.

Next time, if you pay for something to be done a certain way just insist on that. Be sure that if they tell you about a security issue and your machine gets slapped with that exploit that you know you made the decision and they will charge again for the reload.

I know some that won't understand that it's costly to not know how to install Windows.
Bob

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None of those things
by Jimmy Greystone / September 20, 2008 3:55 AM PDT

None of those things you list, after a quick skimming of your post, have anything at all to do with SP3.

I know people seem to have this mistaken idea that service packs are like a rerelease of the operating system, and they add all kinds of new changes and features, and to some extent XP SP2 was like this, but it's more of an exception than a rule. For the most part though, the changes are all in areas completely hidden from user view. In fact, aside from the About Windows dialog box saying Service Pack 3, you really shouldn't notice ANY differences at all.

And I'll also just add that just because a virus scanner and/or firewall program doesn't specifically mention XP SP3 doesn't mean they won't work equally well on a system with SP3. All it really tends to mean is someone hasn't gotten around to updating their website yet.

Before UPS killed my old computer running XP, I had SP3 installed on it... Ran just fine for the few days after that I used it before I moved. Another system I updated before moving is still running just fine.

To me, it sounds kind of like you took your system to a less than competent tech. A big tipoff is their not honoring your wishes about not installing SP3. They may be right from a technical standpoint, but it's not their decision to make. Then they suggested some cleanup program, which are generally next to useless. So, it's hard to say whether or not this tech screwed something up when you took your system to them.

Again, just based on a brief skimming of your post, it sounds like you have a malware problem. Might be a result of something the tech did, might be something you did, kind of hard to tell from here.

But if you're taking your computer to someone to be fixed, then odds are you could probably use with my set of tips for keeping a smooth running system, so I'll tack it on to the end of this message.

The rest is learning that part of life is change, and adapting to that change. So don't allow yourself to get too set in your ways, because odds are, you will be forced to change those ways at some point in the future. It's also bad from a mental standpoint, in that the brain is a muscle that requires constant maintenance and upkeep. Adapting to changes is a good way to give your mind a good workout. You exercise several of the higher cognitive areas of the brain in doing so, and thus increase the odds of keeping your wits about you into old age.

TIPS FOR A SMOOTH RUNNING SYSTEM
================================

The more of these suggestions you follow, the fewer problems you should have. They won't solve any existing problems you have, but if you follow them all you should be able to avoid virtually all problems in the future.

Things you should NOT do
--------------------------------
1: Use Internet Explorer (1)
2: Use any browser based on Internet Explorer
3: Use Outlook or Outlook Express (2)
4: Open email attachments you haven't manually scanned with your virus scanner
5: Open email attachments you were not expecting, no matter who they appear to be from
6: Respond to spam messages, including using unsubscribe links
7: Visit questionable websites (e.g. porn, warez, hacking)
8: Poke unnecessary holes in your firewall by clicking "Allow" every time some program requests access to the Internet (3)
9: Click directly on links in email messages
10: Use file sharing or P2P programs
11: Use pirated programs

Things you SHOULD do
-----------------------------
1: Use a non-IE or IE based browser (4)
2: Always have an up to date virus scanner running (5)
3: Always have a firewall running (6)
4: Install all the latest security updates (7)(8)(9)
5: Delete all unsolicited emails containing attachments without reading
6: Manually scan all email attachments with your virus scanner, regardless of whether it's supposed to be done automatically
7: Copy and paste URLs from email messages into your web browser
8: Inspect links copied and pasted into your web browser to ensure they don't seem to contain a second/different address
9: Establish a regular backup regimin (10)(11)
10: Make regular checks of your backup media to ensure it is still good (12)

Being a considerate Internet user & other misc tips
----------------------------------------------------------
1: Do not send attachments in emails (13)(14)
2: Do not use stationary or any other kind of special formatting in emails (13)
3: Do not TYPE IN ALL CAPS (15)
4: Avoid texting speak or "l33t speak" (16)
5: Do not poke the sleeping bear (17)

Notes
--------

(1) Sadly sometimes this is unavoidable, so only use IE when the site absolutely will not work with any other browser and you cannot get that information/service anywhere else, and only use IE for that one specific site.
(2) Outlook and Outlook Express are very insecure, and basically invite spam. Possible replacements include Mozilla Thunderbird, Eudora, The Bat, and dozens of others.
(3) When it doubt over whether or not to allow some program, use Google to find out what it is and whether or not it needs access to the Internet. Otherwise, denying access is the safest course of action, since you can always change the rule later.
(4) On Windows your options include: Mozilla Firefox, Seamonkey, Opera, Flock, Chrome, and Safari. It doesn't matter which one you pick so much as that you pick one of them and use it over IE.
(5) AVG Free and Avast are available if you need a decent free virus scanner
(6) XP/Vista's firewall is probably good enough for 99% of all Windows users, but other options include ZoneAlarm, Outpost Firewall, and Comodo. If you have a router with a firewall built into it, there is no need for any of the aforementioned firewalls to be running.
(7) Microsoft's usual system is to release security updates every second Tuesday of the month.
(8) Use of Windows Update on Windows operating systems prior to Windows Vista requires Internet Explorer, and is thus a valid exception to the "No IE" rule.
(9) Service packs should ALWAYS be installed. They frequently contain security updates that will ONLY be found in that service pack.
(10) You can go with a full fledged backup program, or simply copying important files onto a CD/DVD/Flash drive.
(11) I'd recommend a tiered backup system. For example, you might have 5 rewritable DVDs, and every day you burn your backup onto a new disc. On the 6th day, you erase the disc for Day #1 for your backup, and so on so that you have multiple backups should one disc ever go bad.
(12) Replace rewritable CDs and DVDs approximately every 3-6 months.
(13) These dramatically increase the size of email messages (2-3X minimum) and clog up email servers already straining to cope with the flood of spam pouring in daily.
(14) If you want to share photos with friends/family, upload them to some photo sharing site like Flickr or Google's Picasa Web and then send people a link to that particular photo gallery.
(15) This is considered to be the same as SHOUTING and many people find it to be hard to read along with highly annoying.
(16) Unless the goal is to make yourself look like a pre-adolescent girl, or someone overcompensating for their gross inadequacies, and you don't want people to take you seriously.
(17) Most REAL hackers are quite content to leave you alone unless you make them take notice of you. No dinky little software firewall or consumer grade router is going to keep them out of your system. So do not go to some hacker website or chat room and start shooting your mouth off unless you're prepared to accept the consequences

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Thanks for the Great Info, but, I Have a Question...
by analyzerbunny / September 20, 2008 4:20 AM PDT
In reply to: None of those things

Thank you so much for your detailed response.

I am going to print it out and make sure I follow your advice.

About the malware thing though, I do have Malware Bytes on my desktop and did a thorough scan, and it found nothing.

I also have run the Avast antivirus thorough scan, and it's found nothing.

And, although I wasn't able to scan the computer with Trend Micros and Kaspersky's online scanners, I was able to scan the computer with ESET's online scanner, and it too, found nothing.

After doing all that, do you still feel it could be a malware problem?

If so, how many software progams does one need to have to detect a problem?

Collapse -
Yes
by Jimmy Greystone / September 20, 2008 5:17 AM PDT

Yes, as one malware remover is simply not enough. None of them detect everything, and so you need to run 3-4 of them, at a minimum, to be reasonably sure that there's nothing on your system.

Collapse -
windows xp service pack 3
by internet_guy / September 20, 2008 8:57 AM PDT

this evening i installed windows xp sp3 thru automatic updates

my system got slow and my internet also became slow


when i tried to uninstall sp3 i get a error, KB952954$ does not exist

i feel sp3 messed up my system

PS: i forgot to do the system restore

Collapse -
The Tech Who Worked on My Computer Said...
by analyzerbunny / September 21, 2008 2:46 PM PDT

Hello,

Sorry to hear about your computer nightmare, for I can totally relate.

My computer has had nothing but problems all this year.

Regarding SP3, one thing the computer technician told me (after he had consulted a number of friends who also do computer repair) was if you just download and install SP3 on a system which has been running, had programs installed etc. there's going to be problems.

He said the way around it is to make sure you do fresh install of the operating system and install SP3 right away before doing anything else with the computer.

In my case, I can't say for sure if he's right or not. My system is running fast and doesn't freeze or anything, but all these odd occurances have caused me a great deal of concern.

For me, if it's not the SP3 the tech installed when he reinstalled the operating system, I can only guess it's the darn Fix It 8 program he recommended I get which messed things up because after taking the advice of fellow CNET member, my computer definately doesn't have any malware or viruses which could be causing the problem (I scanned the thing all day today).

Anyway, I do wish you the best of luck with your computer and SP3.

It sure would have been nice if MicroSoft had bothered to warn people about just going ahead and downloading and installing SP3.

Collapse -
You need a new tech
by Jimmy Greystone / September 21, 2008 3:55 PM PDT

You need a new tech if they're feeding you crap like that.

I installed SP3 on two systems personally, none have had any problems. Both were running several months to years before having SP3 applied, and I did NOT format any of them. Others have reported installing the update on dozens, hundreds, even thousands of machines, all with no issues.

Your "tech" is full of it, and so are his friends if they agree with him. Do yourself a favor and find a new tech. Who knows what else that guy has bungled with regards to your system already. Better yet, learn to do these things yourself, and stop paying others. It's not advanced calculus or rocket science, most of it is really pretty simple. Here is just a basic set of dos and don'ts, that if followed, will put a huge dent in the number of problems you encounter.

TIPS FOR A SMOOTH RUNNING SYSTEM
================================

The more of these suggestions you follow, the fewer problems you should have. They won't solve any existing problems you have, but if you follow them all you should be able to avoid virtually all problems in the future.

Things you should NOT do
--------------------------------
1: Use Internet Explorer (1)
2: Use any browser based on Internet Explorer
3: Use Outlook or Outlook Express (2)
4: Open email attachments you haven't manually scanned with your virus scanner
5: Open email attachments you were not expecting, no matter who they appear to be from
6: Respond to spam messages, including using unsubscribe links
7: Visit questionable websites (e.g. porn, warez, hacking)
8: Poke unnecessary holes in your firewall by clicking "Allow" every time some program requests access to the Internet (3)
9: Click directly on links in email messages
10: Use file sharing or P2P programs
11: Use pirated programs

Things you SHOULD do
-----------------------------
1: Use a non-IE or IE based browser (4)
2: Always have an up to date virus scanner running (5)
3: Always have a firewall running (6)
4: Install all the latest security updates (7)(8)(9)
5: Delete all unsolicited emails containing attachments without reading
6: Manually scan all email attachments with your virus scanner, regardless of whether it's supposed to be done automatically
7: Copy and paste URLs from email messages into your web browser
8: Inspect links copied and pasted into your web browser to ensure they don't seem to contain a second/different address
9: Establish a regular backup regimin (10)(11)
10: Make regular checks of your backup media to ensure it is still good (12)

Being a considerate Internet user & other misc tips
----------------------------------------------------------
1: Do not send attachments in emails (13)(14)
2: Do not use stationary or any other kind of special formatting in emails (13)
3: Do not TYPE IN ALL CAPS (15)
4: Avoid texting speak or "l33t speak" (16)
5: Do not poke the sleeping bear (17)

Notes
--------

(1) Sadly sometimes this is unavoidable, so only use IE when the site absolutely will not work with any other browser and you cannot get that information/service anywhere else, and only use IE for that one specific site.
(2) Outlook and Outlook Express are very insecure, and basically invite spam. Possible replacements include Mozilla Thunderbird, Eudora, The Bat, and dozens of others.
(3) When it doubt over whether or not to allow some program, use Google to find out what it is and whether or not it needs access to the Internet. Otherwise, denying access is the safest course of action, since you can always change the rule later.
(4) On Windows your options include: Mozilla Firefox, Seamonkey, Opera, Flock, Chrome, and Safari. It doesn't matter which one you pick so much as that you pick one of them and use it over IE.
(5) AVG Free and Avast are available if you need a decent free virus scanner
(6) XP/Vista's firewall is probably good enough for 99% of all Windows users, but other options include ZoneAlarm, Outpost Firewall, and Comodo. If you have a router with a firewall built into it, there is no need for any of the aforementioned firewalls to be running.
(7) Microsoft's usual system is to release security updates every second Tuesday of the month.
(8) Use of Windows Update on Windows operating systems prior to Windows Vista requires Internet Explorer, and is thus a valid exception to the "No IE" rule.
(9) Service packs should ALWAYS be installed. They frequently contain security updates that will ONLY be found in that service pack.
(10) You can go with a full fledged backup program, or simply copying important files onto a CD/DVD/Flash drive.
(11) I'd recommend a tiered backup system. For example, you might have 5 rewritable DVDs, and every day you burn your backup onto a new disc. On the 6th day, you erase the disc for Day #1 for your backup, and so on so that you have multiple backups should one disc ever go bad.
(12) Replace rewritable CDs and DVDs approximately every 3-6 months.
(13) These dramatically increase the size of email messages (2-3X minimum) and clog up email servers already straining to cope with the flood of spam pouring in daily.
(14) If you want to share photos with friends/family, upload them to some photo sharing site like Flickr or Google's Picasa Web and then send people a link to that particular photo gallery.
(15) This is considered to be the same as SHOUTING and many people find it to be hard to read along with highly annoying.
(16) Unless the goal is to make yourself look like a pre-adolescent girl, or someone overcompensating for their gross inadequacies, and you don't want people to take you seriously.
(17) Most REAL hackers are quite content to leave you alone unless you make them take notice of you. No dinky little software firewall or consumer grade router is going to keep them out of your system. So do not go to some hacker website or chat room and start shooting your mouth off unless you're prepared to accept the consequences

As you can see, none of these are terribly involved or complex. They don't even really require that much effort on your part. It's mostly just avoid problematic programs like Internet Explorer, and take a few basic precautions against other types of attacks/scams. Depending on your beliefs you were either given higher order thinking abilities by god or evolution, so why not make good use of them?

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