First Impressions: Windows XP Service Pack 3

Discussion in 'Reviews and Articles' started by j0k3r, Nov 27, 2007.

  1. j0k3r

    j0k3r El Chupacabra

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    Service Pack 3 provides a solid computing experience and is an unobtrusive upgrade to Windows XP.

    When I first started with build 3244 which is tagged as RC1, it didn't take long for me to make the decision to put this on one of my production machines. This is a heavy work machine as well. This is not a machine that sits in the corner and gets occasional usage. Since these are my first impressions, I was determined not to put it through a heavy battery of testing or performance evaluation. Instead, I decided to use the machine as I normally would every day and see what jumped out at me.

    Specifications
    Dell Latitude D620
    BIOS Version A08
    Intel(R) Core(TM)2 CPU T7200 @ 2.00GHz
    2GB PC533 DDR2
    Hitachi HTS721010G9SA00
    NVIDIA Quadro NVS 110M 256Mb
    SigmaTel High Definition Audio

    [​IMG]

    Software Installed
    Office Ultimate 2007
    Gimp 2.2
    Visual Studio 6.0 Enterprise
    Visual Studio .NET Enterprise Architect
    Visual Studio 2003 Professional
    Visual Studio 2005 Professional
    Visual Studio 2008 Professional
    SQL Express w/ Advanced Services SP2
    Adobe Reader 7.0
    Java 6 Update 3

    There is other software installed, but these are the applications that get the most usage on a day-to-day basis.

    Changes and Additions
    The first thing I noticed was the healthy list of files in the C:\WINDOWS\$NtServicePackUninstall$ directory. There are a total of 3,451 files in this directory. Pretty much all of the system utilities have been upgraded by this service pack. Windows Installer, MS Paint, MMC, PerfMon, VBS engine, even Pinball, this is an all inclusive update.

    Wireless Oddities
    I had an odd experience with my wireless connection. One of the security features I use on my wireless is MAC filtering. After installing SP3, my MAC address had seemingly been changed. I could not connect to my wireless and I thought for sure I had made a bad decision and was about to uninstall SP3. I hit my neighbor's router which is completely open and I was able to connect without issue, so I knew it was working. When I started to check my router settings, I noticed that my MAC address for my DHCP reservation and my MAC filter were different than what was on my computer.

    This puzzled me a little bit. I don't make it a habit of memorizing my MAC address, but I knew that my filtering and reservation was working before I installed SP3. I still don't know what to make of this. I added my ??new?? MAC address to the router and now everything works great, better in fact.

    Other Features
    I use Remote Desktop a lot. I have several development and build machines that I maintain and work on. Remote Desktop attempts to verify the publisher of saved connections:
    [​IMG]

    After selecting Connect, the connection succeeded without issue.

    Windows Media Player:
    [​IMG]

    Internet Explorer:
    I never use IE, so I a not 100% sure if there have been any updates to IE 7.
    [​IMG]

    Faster?
    It could be a total placebo effect on my part, but the OS feels much snappier after the installation. I have defienitely noticed a considerable improvement in wireless performance as well. This may have been an unintended effect, but my Intel 3945ABG is performing much better than it used to in my house.

    Overall, my first impressions are very positive and whether I am developing applications in Visual Studio, editing photos in Gimp, or just browsing the internet, the performance and stability has been outstanding. This is not always the case with a release candidate. This speaks volumes about the pending release version next year.

    Call me a shill, but I still prefer Vista. What can I say it grew on me.
  2. tweakmonkey

    tweakmonkey Webmaster Staff Member

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    You had me until "Vista", but my experiences have all been bad so far and don't use it as a primary OS. It's good to know Microsoft put some effort into SP3 -- were there other changes to the security center or firewall?

    Thanks for sharing your take.
  3. j0k3r

    j0k3r El Chupacabra

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    I don't use the Windows Firewall because I am always behind some type of hardware firewall, but one thing I had never noticed before was a logging option. Is that new?

    I do know there were some updates to the net code that wouldn't be in the face of the user. Some network access protection enhancements, handshaking, IP stack updates, etc. Otherwise the Security Center looks the same.

    I know I am soundly in the minority, but I like Vista. I have a lot of machine power running it and I am using very mainstream hardware, so that may have an effect, but I have had no problems with it since very early on.

    The important thing to note here is, everything just works. This is especially noteworthy given that this is an early release candidate.
  4. Chris

    Chris Raptor Jesus

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    Thanks for sharing J0k3r. I was quite impressed with SP2, I hope SP3 is just as good or better :)
  5. snipes040

    snipes040 New Member

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    so is SP3 out now cause I've heard that i's out but I can't find it??
  6. innocentbystander

    innocentbystander New Member

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    I installed SP3 for XP.. slowed my rig down, made games stop working properly.. it quickly got uninstalled.