XP Service Pack 3 blocks .NET security patches

Susan bradley By Susan Bradley

Installing SP3 on Windows XP eliminates the operating system’s ability to install important security patches for Microsoft’s .NET technology and possibly other software.

This problem forces XP SP3 users to apply patches manually to complete vital updates.

The new error is the latest in a long series of glitches relating to XP’s SP3, which Scott Dunn described in his Sept. 11 Top Story. The issues include spontaneous rebooting of systems based on AMD chipsets, as documented by Jesper Johansson in a blog post from last May.

To determine whether your XP SP3 system has a version — or multiple versions — of the .NET Framework installed, open Control Panel’s Add or Remove Programs applet and look for it among the list of currently installed programs. If you don’t see any .NET entries, you don’t have the framework installed on your system and needn’t be concerned about the update problem.

If you do see a listing for Microsoft .NET Framework, you need to use a third-party update service such as Secunia’s Software Inspector (described below) to patch the program.

A Sept. 16 post on the Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) blog disclosed that .NET 3.0 would not be offered to XP SP3 users. On Sept. 23, Microsoft Knowledge Base article 894199, which tracks changes in the company’s patches, indicated that .NET 3.0 and .NET 3.0 Service Pack 1 should be offered to XP SP3 workstations as optional patches.

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Susan Bradley

About Susan Bradley

Susan Bradley is a Small Business Server and Security MVP, a title awarded by Microsoft to independent experts who do not work for the company. She's also a partner in a California CPA firm.