No, You Dont Have

By Larry Seltzer  |  Posted 2004-10-14 Print this article Print

to Load SP2"> One of the rumors I heard on Patch Day, in the confusion surrounding Microsofts release of a large number of patches for various versions of Windows and other products, was that there were patches for problems affecting Service Pack 1 that required you to install Service Pack 2.

There are many places I could go with this, such as to the point that almost everyone should be running SP2 anyway, so whats your excuse? But there are some reasons not to install SP2 even today, and even I have one. There is one application I have, and absolutely must use, that is flat-out incompatible with SP2. The developer has said Microsoft wont be fixing the problems anytime soon. My solution is to keep a separate SP1 computer on my network that I use almost exclusively for this application, and in fact I generally use remote desktop to access the system.

SP2 may mean trouble for agentless patching. Click here to read more.
Since Patch Day, I ran Windows Update on that system, and I can see how someone would be confused by the messages it sends. The bottom line is that its possible to apply the SP1 patches and not install SP2, but Microsoft makes it really convenient to apply SP2.

First, forget about automatic updates. I dont think theres a good way to get around SP2 there. I wasnt exhaustive in my studies, but it doesnt matter. Go to the real Windows Update site (Tools-Windows Update in Internet Explorer). Let Automatic Updates take over, and it will try to give you SP2.

Even if you havent installed SP2, it looks like you get the new version 5 Windows Update now, so things may not be as you remember. Theres an Express Install and a Custom Install. Choose Custom. Most of the next screen will be dominated by an effort to get you to install SP2. At the bottom there is another section that says "If you do not install Windows XP Service Pack 2, other updates might still apply to your computer." Click the "Review Other Updates" button nearby. The rest of the process is basically like the old Windows Update, and there are no more tricks to get you to install SP2.

I saw five critical updates on this system: MS04-031, MS04-032, MS04-034, MS04-037 and MS04-038. This is exactly what I would expect based on the configuration of the system and the issues in the advisories.

Fellow SP1 hangers-on, well all have an inconvenient time of it until such time as we can apply SP2, and that has to be viewed as a goal in and of itself.

Security Center Editor Larry Seltzer has worked in and written about the computer industry since 1983. Check out eWEEK.coms Security Center for the latest security news, reviews and analysis. And for insights on security coverage around the Web, take a look at Security Center Editor Larry Seltzers Weblog.

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Larry Seltzer has been writing software for and English about computers ever since—,much to his own amazement—,he graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1983.

He was one of the authors of NPL and NPL-R, fourth-generation languages for microcomputers by the now-defunct DeskTop Software Corporation. (Larry is sad to find absolutely no hits on any of these +products on Google.) His work at Desktop Software included programming the UCSD p-System, a virtual machine-based operating system with portable binaries that pre-dated Java by more than 10 years.

For several years, he wrote corporate software for Mathematica Policy Research (they're still in business!) and Chase Econometrics (not so lucky) before being forcibly thrown into the consulting market. He bummed around the Philadelphia consulting and contract-programming scenes for a year or two before taking a job at NSTL (National Software Testing Labs) developing product tests and managing contract testing for the computer industry, governments and publication.

In 1991 Larry moved to Massachusetts to become Technical Director of PC Week Labs (now eWeek Labs). He moved within Ziff Davis to New York in 1994 to run testing at Windows Sources. In 1995, he became Technical Director for Internet product testing at PC Magazine and stayed there till 1998.

Since then, he has been writing for numerous other publications, including Fortune Small Business, Windows 2000 Magazine (now Windows and .NET Magazine), ZDNet and Sam Whitmore's Media Survey.

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