back to article Microsoft hopes third time is lucky with XP SP3 update

Microsoft yesterday got out its big red felt pen and marked a few release dates on the calendar. Small Business Server 2008 and Windows Essential Business Server 2008 will both land in November this year. Meanwhile, Windows XP service pack three (SP3) will finally be pushed out “shortly”. The software giant has been forced to …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    Legal theft?

    So... "the company stopped retail sales of the operating system and barred computer vendors from installing it on most new PCs."

    If I want a copy of XP now then, I'm allowed to nick it from a torrent site?? I can but hope...

  2. CJ
    Thumb Down


    I downloaded XP SP3 on Saturday, so it was definitely available then.

    Mind you, it wouldn't install on my laptop because it wasn't plugged into an external power source. And then wouldn't install when I did plug it into an external power source either, so I'm going to have download again (and I'm on a 1Gb a month cap!)

    But then if it was causing endless reboots, it's maybe just as well I couldn't install it.

  3. Klaus

    Completely Agree

    I completely agree with the AC, how are they able to legally do this??

  4. Tom Kelsall

    Errrm.... repeated reboot issue?

    Have they fixed it then, or what? I've seen anecdotal evidence from any number of sources that this issue was NOT, for the people in question, ANYTHING to do with sysprepped images, because they had installed clean from Select or Retail media. So - can I safely apply this service pack if and when it ever arrives?

  5. Charlie van Becelaere
    Gates Horns

    Non-Intel Chips

    So does this mean that my AMD machine (home-built, XP Pro) will have problems with SP3? I've never installed SP2, so I haven't experienced the endless reboot cycle, but I really have no desire to find out just what I've been missing.

    Are they really so arrogant as to release software that they already know will cause problems for a significant portion of their customers? Oh, sorry, this is Micro$oft - that must have been a rhetorical question, mustn't it?

    evil billg because he's evil. are we going to get an evil ballmer icon soon?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    As I understand it, if you have an original disk, retail or OEM, of any software and/or media product, you are legally allowed to download a copy for "backup purposes". The issues around torrenting arise from seeding the software. This of course, is how torrent clients work. You seed at the same time as leeching. Of course, any argument about not being your responsibility for leeches having a genuine version in the first place would be steamrolled by the MPAA, RIAA, whatever they are called, with their seemingly bottomless bank accounts and veritable army of lawyers on permanent retainer...

    I'd love to see someone sued by these "legal"organised crime gangs and laying the smack down on them to the tune of large sums of money and a legal precedent in the consumers' favour for a change...

  7. Steve Evans
    Gates Horns

    XP SP3

    Having just applied this to a couple of machines, I found a really annoying pointless change.

    Terminal services client from the command line used to use the following for accessing the console...

    mstsc /v:servername /console

    For no reason (except to make it like the version shipping in Vista, which is different for no reason) you now have to do

    mstsc /v:servername /admin

    Why?! If you must have /admin, why can't /console still exist and do the same?

    I'm sure there are loads of admins on the planet logging on to servers using their tried and trusted batch files who are wondering why nothing is running on the remote 2003 server... When in reality they have just logged onto a whole new session, and not the console they expected!

  8. Anonymous Coward

    @ AC

    Maybe just maybe and it's not nick it's a long term copy.

    XP isn't perfect but then again how else can they get you to go and spend money on NEW hardware... nice shiny new hardware..

    I seen a PC built to basically GPU crunch - rebuilding 3d x-ray images - 4 MSi 9800 Cards SLi'd it ran slick - wonder what it would look like after vista...

    I had to laugh at “Microsoft is committed to providing quality products to customers. As part of this commitment, we would like to remind you that Windows XP service pack three will be released to Automatic Updates shortly...”

    First time I've seen Microsoft and quality products in the same sentence, it must be something in the water at MS HQ.

    I've seen what SP3 does, yeah I've seen the endless reboot Snafu on a customer's machine, think the customer is just going to get a new machine as it could be something else as well with the motherboard but who knows....

    I've seen a machine lose all knowledge and then refuse to see any usb hub let alone port or device and when you try and reinstall them it BSOD'd..

    I'll stick with SP2 works for me, it took me long enough to put that on in the 1st place.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Legal Theft

    Probably not, but I can't see any reason why a copy purchased from Antigua shouldn't be legal.

  10. Kevin

    @Charlie van Becelaere

    My friend installed it on his home built AMD system and got the endless reboot cycle so it was not a OEM only issue. IT seems it was more a issue with the version from windows updates I used the CD image of the update on a exact copy (we bought 3 sets of the same hardware) of my friends pc and it worked fine.

  11. paul clarke
    Gates Horns

    Torrent XP?

    But surely torrenting an XP cd is NOT illegal, after all you only pay for the licence to use the software, not the actual software.

    So unless someone is torrenting the stickers then how is torrenting the xp cd illegal as it has no financial value?

    So long as you are not giving out keys then I can see nothing illegal about this.

    Microsoft seem to want us to play by their rules, so long as they can change the rules once they start to lose?

    Brat with own ball not picked for team comes to mind.

  12. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

    Who's in charge at m$ ?

    Lets see... you work for a company that makes stuff, after a while you've ironed out most of the bugs in your product, it does a pretty whizzy job and people grudgingly buy it

    So you bring out a new product, this one does'nt work as well as the previous one and in any case you need to buy a lot of other stuff to make it work properly.

    Sales of your new product are'nt exactly what you were hoping for, and people still demand your old product and will pay you money for it.

    The solution... ban everyone from selling your old product and force them to have the newer one....

    Do m$'s accountants know the m$ management have come up with this idea?

  13. Doug Glass

    So They've Fixed XP SP3 ...

    ... Now what are they going to do about the two XP security patches made available today: KB951748 and KB951978?

    I could just be an isolated case, but one, or both, broke Zonealarm Pro. It took a few minutes to find, but what I had to do was lower the Internet Zone setting FROM "High" TO "Medium".

    No matter, per I'm still "True Stealth" (via my router settings) so all is well in my internet world. Well, as much as Windows can be "well" anyway.

  14. F Seiler

    @AC #1

    i just bought shiny new XPSP3 in a regular brick store last saturday (paranoid pre-emptive buy i guess :), so the channel seems not yet to be completely dry.

  15. ethicsgradient

    You're not alone....

    Thought this was just me as well - installed the patches and suddenly browser / email aren't working.

    Couldn't access internet so just had to restore back to before patch was installed.

    Great stuff m$...

  16. Doug Glass

    RE: You're Not Alone

    Yep, it's going to be interesting to see what fallout there is from these two security fixes; I'm betting you and I are not alone.

    My permanent fix, for this and other things, is not to renew my Zonealarm Pro licenses. Comodo Pro free firewall is outstanding. I have it on my laptop and a couple of other machines and so far it's at least as effective as ZAP.

    You might want to reinstall the two patches and try and adjust your firewall. Both patches can be removed for the Control Panel/Add or Remove Software once updates are revealed. But the two are interdependent somehow so when the first was uninstalled, Windows complained the other needed to go also.

  17. Doug Glass

    Read The End User LICENSE Agreement

    Keep in mind, you neither buy nor own M$ software. You buy the right to use the software of which they retain full ownership. So the idea of having in your possession a software package they own is not necessarily repugnant to M$. They just expect [demand?] you purchase the license. You can, in fact, buy a license (a key code) and not get any software at all.

    Think about it, if the disks were freely handed out a certain portion would "do the right thing" and plop down the cash to legally use it. You can download trial versions of Office 2007 and many other M$ programs; I have one of each they've offered in the last five years or so. And if you really wanted to, you could wipe the drive every thirty days, or whatever, and start over. Adobe offers trial downloads of their flagship software which by the way are the full programs.

    What M$, Adobe, and others fight most fervently is the construction, posting, and use of KeyGen programs and the sharing of good key codes. This is the piracy they claim hurts them so badly. They've never yet said a drive needed to be wiped of a shared program, they've consistently said "buy the license" or words to that effect. They do say that Volume Licensed products are not for individuals and I do suspect if they found you with one they'd ask you to surrender it. The same holds true for academic programs too probably. But the salient point is buying the proper license.

  18. Lager And Crisps
    Jobs Horns

    ...and there will be blood!

    Seems the Zone Alarm issue is the cause of much anguish in the Windows world.

  19. Mark S

    Not alone? It's getting crowded...

    Same here, no email, Firefox, IE or Opera (but I could ping through my router, oh joy). Going with the simple minded solution I just uninstalled KB951748 and KB951978, rebooted to a BSOD thanks to a third party application, rebooted again and back to normal. I also use ZoneAlarm, not sure if that's cause or coincidence.

    SP3 worked fine on two low priority machines, not ready to run it on my workstation just yet.

  20. Anonymous Coward

    XP SP3 and AMD

    Well, I dropped it into a Windows XP MCE2005 box that has an AMD chip (Athlon64 x2 3800+ Socket AM2) and it was fine... I haven't try slipstreaming it into the installer disc and installing from the disc tho, so I'm not really sure that it works if you do that. But the drop-in upgrade didn't cause the endless reboot of death on my HTPC Box.

  21. E

    @Charlie van Becelaere

    I slipstreamed SP3 into an XP install point (is that the correct name?), then made a custom install CD from that. Have used the CD on a variety of AMD and Intel boxes (From Dell and HP to generic beige boxes to machines built from individually bought parts) with no trouble.

  22. Adam Azarchs


    I installed XP SP3 on my AMD machine nearly two months ago with no problems at all (and on my intel box at work). Granted I didn't have the frackup of a computer manufacturer that is HP burning my original hard drive image, but still, from where exactly is the impression coming that SP3 is only being released now?

  23. Anonymous Coward

    Difinitely not just the OEM sysprep issue

    There is a problem with XP sp3 installing on machines that have had their registry hardened by security software - Norton is in the frame but in my case I think it was SpySweeper. The symptom is that installation stops with an access denied error and rolls back. Resetting registry permissions allowed installation but the machine was not right - loads of weirdness like blank device manager - discovered masive registry corruption in the HKLM/system/currentcontrolset/enum area where there were several hundred keys all containing strings beginning $%& deleting them returned machine to full functionality. There's a long thread on technet about it here.

    Note that even if you disable all security software before installation which is recommended you can still get this problem it's the registry permission hardening that is the cause.

    I wonder if the new release is smart enough to avoid this ...MS definitely know about the problem

    John C

  24. Tom

    @Tom Kelsall - Nope, at least with regard to Vista SP1

    I think they figured we were finally far enough from the release date that they could remove the blocks and not catch more blowback for their failure to program properly. I've been using a Lenovo remanufactured Vista laptop for about 9 months and just last week it finally downloaded SP1, then promptly ate itself. I'll get around to "fixing" the problem sometime when I have a whole day to kill. On the other hand, I think I've already installed SP3 for XP manually on my home systems and they are fine. Also, the manual download and install for SP1 installed fine on my hand built behemoth. So the problem seems to be the "auto-sensing" feature of Windows/Automatic update that only downloads the bits you "need" instead of the full pack.

  25. robert finley

    what was the fix for the fix ?

    and the news is ??? what was the fix for the fix? why no mention of the solution ms came up with in order for sp3 to work?

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