Windows XP Service Pack 2

Microsoft is doing their part in curbing security problems and maintaining the integrity of Windows XP by continuing to update and improve their Windows XP operating system. There are some things you should know and understand before you update your system to service pack 2 though.

Microsoft is not some huge conglomerate that just tosses new products on the market and then forgets about them. And Bill Gates is not some uncaring CEO who is just out to make himself rich and not give back to the community or the country. My towns library has a whole room full of computers that were donated by him to prove that point. His company Microsoft has a lot of people who are working towards the security and improvements we want and need for our computers and their operating systems.

To that end they have come up with a major update to Windows XP that is called Service Pack 2. This update includes many changes and upgrades for the security and privacy protection so many people have wanted and we all need with the ever increasing problems of phishing and identity theft. There are some things you should know before you take the big leap and install service pack 2, or SP 2 on your computer.

The biggest changes that come with SP 2 are the firewall and other added security. Increased Firewall protection is one of the main benefits but there are others. Windows has added many security features including a beefed up firewall, unwanted download protection, pop up blocker, browser add on blocker and easier to use settings. This all comes in one package made easier and simpler by the new download and update system that is also new. You can download the whole service pack or you can do I like did and order a CD disk for free. They will mail it out to you in about a week.

There are some things you need to do before you upgrade with the service pack and you should know some things about what works with SP 2 and what doesn’t. By this I mean that not everything is going to be perfectly running when you install the update for all things on everyones computer. There have been some problems and Microsoft is working with the companies whose products don’t agree with the update to correct these problems.

One big problem that I ran into and is the main reason why I don’t use the service pack is that the drivers for my video card don’t work with the new additions in the service pack. There is some kind of compatibility issue and the cards program will not allow me to use some of the features of the video card.

So before you install the service pack you should go to Microsofts website and check to see if you have any hardware that is having compatibility issues with the service pack. You can go here for their list: http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/sp2/oemlinks.mspx

You should also check for any problems that Microsoft has been told about with specific programs that you use regularly and that people have found to be having problems with the service pack. You can go here for that list: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/884130

If you plan on using the update you should go to the Windows site about it and read all the additions and especially any problems that they have found about the service pack, there is a lot of information about what to do before you install the update and you need to know what you doing before using it.

This can be a big decision and you should make sure before you update to the service pack that all the programs and your hardware will not have problems before you install the update. There is quite a list of programs and games that people have found to have problems and I have encountered some of these myself. The main things that are affected by the service pack are things that communicate regularly or often in order to run and anything that has to go through the new firewall. This would be Internet games and any programs that require constant updates through the firewall like instant messaging, chatting and extra virus programs.

Not only should you visit Microsoft’s website about the problems they know about but you should look at the websites of any manufacturers of programs and hardware you have and use regularly to ensure all the things on your computer and system will work well after the service pack is installed. This may be a lot of effort to go to all the different sites of all the programs you use but you should make sure the things you use will work after the update, check with the support sections of the web sites for programs you use to see if anybody has reported problems with the service pack 2 and what the support technicians recommend.

One of the most important things you should do before installing it is update everything on your computer before installing the service pack. Any hardware or programs should be update and running perfectly before using the service pack. If you are having some kind of problem and you install the update it will not cure anything and it is not meant as a fix for problems with Windows XP. You will not be overwriting any files or programs that you may be having errors from or problems with and get your computer fixed if it is not working. Your computer should be running well and normally and should be problem, virus and spyware free before the update.

This means of course that you should check with some extra programs such as AdAware and Spybot Search and Destroy as well as a good anti virus program to ensure it doesn’t have unwanted things on your system. You can find the links to these programs by going here for AdAware: http://www.lavasoft.de/ and here for Spybot: http://www.safer-networking.org/en/spybotsd/index.html

I use about six programs to keep my computer free of spyware and things like that and these two are the main ones I check with regularly to ensure I don’t get the annoying things added to my computer. You should also do a regular scan for viruses with your anti virus program before installing it to ensure it works well and you get a clean installation. There is a list of things like this and backing up your important files and documents before updating to the service pack that Microsoft recommends and is a very good idea to follow. The update might have a problem and you may have to reinstall your Windows OS if you have problems and cannot get the system working correctly.

Before you update to Microsoft’s Windows XP Service Pack 2, you should know all you can about it and what it will do to your computer. You should check all the hardware and programs you use and see if it will change or not work with the service pack and you should have a good running computer with no viruses or spyware before updating. It is important to know that the service pack 2 will not fix any problems you may be having with your system but it is only an update to the security and protection of Windows XP.

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