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Windows XP SP3

by Vince.Rosati / July 17, 2008 10:08 PM PDT

I recntly read an article on making a SP3 boot disk, so I wondered if I am running under SP3.

Belarc adviser tells me that my OS is XP Media Center Edition Service Pack 2.

Belarc also shows aboout 80 files, all downloaded on 3/4/- and 3/5/2008, for SP0 (few files), SP3 (about 70 files), and SP4 (6 files). (No files show up for SP2.)

What's going on? Do the SP3 downloads cover SP2 also? Should I "upgrade" to SP3? (Weren't there bad things said about SP3?)

Gateway, 3.2 GHz, XP, 2 GB RAM, 160 GB C:\

By the way, I really, really like this forum.

Thanks to all,


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Windows XP SP3
by Vince.Rosati / July 17, 2008 10:58 PM PDT
In reply to: Windows XP SP3

(I forgot to check the :notify" box.)


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Try winver
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / July 18, 2008 12:57 AM PDT
In reply to: Windows XP SP3

Goto Start > Run, type in winver and click OK. That should display Microsoft's "About Windows" window and will tell you whether you have SP3 or not.

If no, then I would certainly then goto Windows Update from the Start > All Programs menu, and see what updates are offered.

If SP3 is offered I would then visit the Gateway web site to see if there are any special instructions for SP3 for your model.


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I Can Only Tell You What I've Done..
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / July 18, 2008 9:00 AM PDT
In reply to: Windows XP SP3

So far, I've updated all our office XP machines to SP3, about 40 of them.. In addition, I've updated all my family XP computers and all my customer's XP computers to XP, and that includes two or three Media Center Editions.. I've had no problems at all but I've also taken all the appropriate precautions prior to install SP3. (Clean out all the junk files and spyware from the computer, defrag the computer, make sure that any issues such as the AMD/HP/Compaq were address, then I restart the computer, temporarily disable all antivirus and antispyware scanners, then install SP3 using the full SP3 download which can be retrieved from the link below: (The download is a BIG one so you'll need a broadband connection and after the download, you may want to burn a copy to a CD so it can be used later, if it's ever needed..

You question whether or not you're running SP3.. On the Media Center Edition computers here, RIGHT clicking on "My Computer", choose "Properties", then look at the "General" tab will tell you which service pack you're using.

And by the way, Belarc has always identified various Windows updates as to their "future" service pack rating, even if they don't actually make the service pack. It's Belarc's rating, not reality.. Belarc's information isn't really truthful as to whether you're running a specific service pack..

Hope this helps.


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Windows XP SP3
by Vince.Rosati / July 18, 2008 11:06 AM PDT


Wow, I never would have thought of doing all that! Thanks for the info.

Actually, what will be the up side of going to SP3?

Also, is there an app like Belarc that doesn't embellis?



(Thanks to Mark, et al, too.)

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I Use Belarc All The Time..
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / July 18, 2008 1:11 PM PDT
In reply to: Windows XP SP3

It's a reliable program for identifying items on your computer.. It's just that one needs to know exactly what those types of programs are reporting.. As to others, there is a program called Everest which performs similar types of system information write-ups..

As to what will be the up side to moving to SP3.. Most importantly, if Microsoft acts as they have in the past, eventually, you'll be REQUIRED to have SP3 to get any further Windows Updates.

Hope this helps.


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I use Belarc all the time
by Vince.Rosati / July 18, 2008 11:53 PM PDT


Thanks very much (again) for your expert assistance and advice.

I did everything you suggested before downloading and installing SP3, except I didn't know what to do for HP. However, my 2610 Photosmart seems to be working just fine in print and scan modes (hallelujah, because frequently I lose the ability to initiate scanning from the printer).

So, it looks like I'm in business.

Thanks and best regards,


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by chucker111 / July 19, 2008 6:55 AM PDT

After reading this,I went to Windows Update,and noticed that XP3 has been sitting there,waiting ?,to be installed.My comp. is 5 yrs. old,but runs great.Is it really "necessary" to install XP3.??Is it just about future updates.??Should I follow the instructions I've read in this post(uninstalling Anti's,etc...),and then install XP3.??AND,why wasn't it an "automatic update".??Some help,plz,and a short list (again) of exactly what to do.I trust the forum religiously,but,my comp. has been running great.??Thanks in advance.(Sorry to ask the SAME question).I'm just a "little" confused.!!

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Same.?? (again).
by chucker111 / July 19, 2008 6:59 AM PDT
In reply to: Same.??

Sorry,I forgot to ask in my previous post.How exactly would you make a backup disc for XP3,and why would it be needed.??

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Same ??
by Vince.Rosati / July 19, 2008 7:20 AM PDT
In reply to: Same.?? (again).

Having just installed SP3, I am now an expert! (Kidding.)

I followed Grif's advice and everyhting worked fine.

Clean out spyware. Clean out junk files. (Start > All Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Clean Disk) I used "Fix-It Utilities" do do these jobs.

Defrag Drive, as above, but System Tools > Defrag. Then install, if you have SP3 already downloaded.

If you Google "SP3 Recovery Disk," you will see an article from PC magazine that explains why you should do it.

ON THE OTHER HAND - If it ain't broke, don't fix it. (If only I followed my own advice!)

I'll bet that if Grif sees this and there is an error, he will jump in.

Good luck,


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by chucker111 / July 19, 2008 9:30 AM PDT
In reply to: Same ??

Appreciate your reply,BUT,When you say"if it ain't broke,don't fix it",it makes me think,that if everything is running GREAT without XP3,then maybe I should NOT install it.I'm still confused.Thanks anyway,BUT.??????Any other advice.????Thanks for taking the time to read and consider this question,fellow posters(you too,Vince).!!

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Why you should.
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / July 19, 2008 8:44 PM PDT
In reply to: ????

Where Vince said "if it ain't broke", I feel he was referring more to creating an SP3 Recovery disk, rather than installing the SP3 update. If you need to do a recovery, the something major has gone wrong anyway and you need to reinstall your Operating System, (OS), and then reinstall any other software that you installed manually previously. SP3 might just as well be installed manually as well as the other software. But slipstreaming the OS with SP3 is perfectly acceptable. Google will help with Slipstreaming.

But why should you update to SP3? It adds nothing particularly new. I have seen one or two changes, but these are minor things that do not affect the normal running of the OS. For example, the System Configuration Utility, (Start > Run, type in msconfig, click OK), appears to have a new "Tools" tab. At least, I never saw it before SP3.

It adds nothing new, but it consolidates all of the updates installed on your system since SP2, which was the major upgrade. There are some other minor changes, updates that would normally have been issued separately, but instead were issued with SP3. Now we move on to SP4. All new updates since SP3 will, eventually, be incorporated into an SP4, and so on.

So, it is a tidying up process, and it allows your system to continue to receive post SP3 updates without having to continually reject SP3 itself.

For the sake of the OS and keeping it up to date and running smoothly, I believe you should update to SP3.

Like Vince says, preparation is the key. A trouble free system is essential, a bit of housekeeping, and, (just in case), carry out all your normal backup routines for those personal files you cannot afford to lose. That's standard advice.


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by chucker111 / July 20, 2008 2:43 AM PDT
In reply to: Why you should.

Thanks Mark,and to everyone else who contributed to this post.Sometimes you just need to have it explained "several" ways.I will take everyone's advice,and install SP3.Thanks again to everyone for their time and expertise.

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It's always good to update.
by Maddogmcree / July 21, 2008 7:37 PM PDT
In reply to: Thanks.!!

Many problems occur with older service packs.

When you get the latest, it solves the problems the old service pack had.

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by hikergirl / August 7, 2008 12:50 AM PDT

Grif: I have a used "mini" CPU, Windows XP Pro w/SP2, Word 2003, Firefox browser.
MS harassed me for a long time re installing SP3. That was at a time when MS had 10 bulletins issued just prior to releasing SP3. Subsequently, I cancelled automatic updates and now require updates at my option. Last night, I chose to not be again reminded of SP3 install.
So, because I don't understand computer lingo, nor do I know anything about your suggestions, e.g. "Clean out all the junk files and spyware from the computer, defrag the computer, make sure that any issues such as the AMD/HP/Compaq were address, then I restart the computer, temporarily disable all antivirus and antispyware scanners, then install SP3 using the full SP3 download which can be retrieved from the link below: (The download is a BIG one so you'll need a broadband connection and after the download, you may want to burn a copy to a CD so it can be used later, if it's ever needed.."
I don't know what any of that means or how to do them. Also, I don't have the ability to "burn" a CD.
Would you please tell me how to clean out junk files & spyware; defrag; disable antivirus & antispyware scanners - whatever they are??
Has MS cleaned up all the problems w/SP3? If it hasn't and I have problems because of it, I'm in a world of trouble.
Thanks for any help you may choose to give.

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Instructions and Questions.....
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / August 7, 2008 2:59 AM PDT
In reply to: SP3

It sounds like you're REALLY a newbie..... It's not that tough to install a Service Pack but there always is a possiblity that troubles can arise.. It's a personal choice, but you might want to have an expereinced computer user watch over your shoulder while you're performing the task..

Oh well...On with the show..

Questions first:

What brand name and model number is your "mini" computer? And which processor type do you have on your computer? Intel or AMD? (You generally can find all that information by RIGHT clicking on "My Computer" on your desktop, then choose "Properties".. The "General" tab should give you the data you need..

Now the instructions..

1. Start by downloading the large SP3 installer file to you computer from the link I provided above.. As I mentioned earlier, you'll need a fast internet connection to do it.. Do you have DSL, Cable, or a dial-up connection..? (If you have a dial-up connection, you'll need to use a friend or family member's computer to perform the download, then burn/copy the file to a CD disc.)

2.. You should have an antivirus program installed on the computer.. What AV is installed and is it current and up to date? Run a full system scan using the antivirus program and delete any infected files it finds.. .

3. Instructions for how to "clean out junk files" are in the link below:

How To Clean Unwanted Files From The Hard Drive

4. Next, after cleaning out all the unneeded stuff, please run Disc Defragmenter...., Click on Start-All Programs-Accessories-System Tools-Disc Defragmenter. When it loads, click ONCE on the C: drive listing, then click on the "Defragment" button to start the defrag process.

5. When you've performed all of the above steps, restart the computer, and after the restart temporarily disable your antivirus program.. How you perform that task will depend on which AV program you have installed but frequently it can be done by RIGHT clicking on the AV icon in the lower right corner of your screen, then choose "Disable" or "Exit" or something similar..Once the AV program is disabled, then double click on the SP3 installer file that you've saved to your computer desktop. Let is run and follow the prompts it gives you.. It will take 30 - 45 minutes for it to install fully.

Hope this helps.


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Instructions and Questions.....
by hikergirl / August 7, 2008 9:43 AM PDT

Grif: I have an HP e PC 40 w/Intel(R)Celeron 1200 MHz 1.2GHz, 256 MB RAM.
For antivirus software, I have AVG Free 7, which is updated daily. Firefox has its own antivirus software, as do the Microsoft products installed.
I will wait for your response, before I proceed. There will not be anyone here while I attempt the installation of SP3, or any of the other tasks.
Thanks for your willingness to share your expertise.

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Just A Suggestion...
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / August 7, 2008 1:22 PM PDT

As long as you have a fast internet connection, (you didn't say whether it was DSL, etc.), then move on with the instructions as I gave them.

One note, if you have the ability to update the amount of RAM you have on that computer, PLEASE do so.. 256 MB really slows the computer down a lot.. I'd recommed,nothing less than 512 MB and preferably 1 GB of RAM.. I believe the E-PC 40 uses the older PC133 RAM and it may involve spending a little money but it would certainly be worth it before installing SP3. RAM sticks aren't hard to install as long as you don't mind opening the case and sliding a memory module in the slot.

Either way, the steps I listed previously can be done with, or without additional RAM memory.

Hope this helps.


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Anti-virus software
by hikergirl / August 10, 2008 7:09 AM PDT
In reply to: Just A Suggestion...

Grif: Sorry - the post I left clearly did not post.
I have AVG Free 7.5 edition, which updates daily; AV ware from FF, Yahoo. MS has a firewall & other AV "stuff."
You asked about 'net connection: it's DSL lite.
I Googled for cleaning unwanted files from the hard drive. Even though you provided a link, the process is very long and seemingly complicated. I know of only one person who -might- be able to help - he works 60 hours a week.
Because I need to ask - since MS gave me the chance to load SP3, back the first of July, would I have been looking at some serious computer problems, had I gone ahead and done it then?
Also, I understand there is an update for IE7 in SP3 - which I don't have. Won't that portion of SP3 need to be suppressed?
I'll inquire about increasing RAM but finances forbid it. I'll just have to suffer the consequences.
Thank you so much for your information/suggestions.

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Maybe you need
by PudgyOne / August 10, 2008 7:22 AM PDT
In reply to: Anti-virus software
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