| By Susan Bradley |
The growing list of XP SP3-related glitches being encountered by users should give pause to anyone thinking of downloading and installing the update.
If you’ve kept XP patched from week to week, there’s presently no clear advantage to implementing the OS’s latest service pack, though you’ll want to do so eventually.
When should you install XP Service Pack 3?
Since its initial release a little over a month ago — as I reported in last week’s special news update — XP Service Pack 3 has been plagued with reports of problems among early adopters. Considering that the service pack’s most important enhancements relate to computers on corporate networks, you may be wondering whether you need XP SP3 at all.
It comes down to a question of support: Microsoft supports each service pack for two years following the release of its successor. Thus in the spring of 2010, XP SP3 will be the only XP service pack that Microsoft will support. In addition, Microsoft has stated it will offer free support for those facing XP SP3 installation issues through April 2009.
If you have already installed XP SP3 and haven’t experienced any problems related to AMD processors, Norton AntiVirus’s SystemProtect, or any other service-pack glitch, you don’t need to remove SP3. However, if you haven’t yet installed XP SP3, hold off.
Instead, scroll down the Windows Update page each Patch Watch Tuesday and choose to install updates that do not include XP SP3. I’m starting to hear more reports of SP3-related driver problems. For example, Microsoft’s Knowledge Base article 951822 describes a free hotfix for a problem encountered when using certain models of Citizen or Alps printers after XP SP3 is installed.