To get or not to get Windows XP Service Pack 2? That is the question

September 05, 2004|SHEILA J. CLARK

The talk in the computer world seems to be whether or not to get Microsoft's Windows XP Service Pack 2. Both sides of the argument offer pros and cons as to whether or not computer users should proceed with this upgrade. By fall, computer users won't have to worry about making that decision, as computers running Windows XP will come preinstalled with SP2.

I recently was asked my views on the SP2 matter, so here's my short and sweet take on the issue. Usually, I would say, quick, get your Microsoft updates ASAP. This time, I will start by saying proceed with great caution.

First and most important, make sure you do your homework on this upgrade, as it's not your ordinary update. Read the special notices that Microsoft has posted on its site, especially the Windows XP Service Pack 2 page at It will tell you the benefits of SP2 and it features links to various other online resources. Then do a Google search on "Windows XP SP2" and read others views on it.


Secondly, make sure you visit your computer's manufacturer's site to check for any XP SP2-related news updates. While you are there, make sure you get the latest drivers for your hardware and upgrades for any pre-installed software. Microsoft has posted a list of software programs that are known to have compatibility problems after the SP2 update at

I feel really bad for the folks using dial-up who want to do the upgrade because this upgrade is huge - 75MB in size. If you are one of the dial-up folks, I hope you have plenty of free time and a really good connection to your ISP. Otherwise, I would suggest that you have Microsoft send you a free copy of Windows XP Service Pack 2 on CD by visiting It will take about four to six weeks before it will arrive. After you're done with it, you can let another dial-up friend borrow it.

The system requirements posted on Microsoft's site for this update are: a 233MHz processor, 64MB RAM and 1800MB of free hard disk space. Especially take notice to the hard drive space as the other two requirements should have been met prior to installing XP.

In closing, I would suggest that if you are currently working on a big project on your XP system, wait until after it is completed to do the update and as always, backup your files. Better safe, than sorry.

Net buzzz

* Last Tuesday, Apple revealed its newest iMac G5. The system is a sleek, all-in-one design where the display also holds all the inner computer components such as the processor, hard drive, etc. Check it out at

* Microsoft launched the beta version of its online music store called MSN Music. Internet users can purchase songs for 99 cents each. The launching comes at the same time that Microsoft has launched the latest version of its Windows Media Player 10. Learn more at

* Lindows is now officially Linspire worldwide. Learn more at

VoIP update

Adelphia soon will be offering AT&T CallVantage Net phone services as an add-on to its broadband Internet offerings. Learn more at

Sites to see

* has a great, educational cyber-detour for kids. In its Kids Center, a ton of great games can be found to help with their homework in a fun and entertaining fashion. Visit the site at

E-mail me at; or fax me at (859) 236-9566.

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