back to article Patch Tuesday sounds death knell for Win XP SP2

Microsoft released the expected four security advisories on Tuesday, three of which earn the dread rating of critical. They collectively address five security vulnerabilities. There are two critical fixes for Windows in the batch, including an update designed to resolve a zero-day vulnerability involving Windows Help and …


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  1. John F***ing Stepp

    Falling on the sword.


    Hey, give it up for DRM forever!

    I do not steal shit and have to live with MS$ Goddamn stupid (swallowing) of . . .

    We should not go further with that thought.

    Bill you left some stupid fucks in control, OK?

    I am thinking about reloading ME.

    Last stable build of Windows.

    Not kidding.

    Not at all.

    1. Nigel 11
      Thumb Down

      ME? You cannot be serious!

      ME? Stable?? Most of us thought naming ME after a seriously debilitating ailment was quite deliberate.

      The last stable release of Windows was NT4 SP6, or arguably NT3.51, although current XP SP3 isn't bad. The last stable Windows 9x was Windows 98 SE.

      1. C Yates

        I saw your reply and thought of this...

        Quality =)

      2. Lou Gosselin

        NT4? You cannot be serious!

        I won't deny it, microsoft has a tough sell on their hands. They are finding it increasingly difficult to compete against older versions of windows, which users are finding entirely adequate. Sure win7 is nice, but most users couldn't be bothered to pay for it if the older OSes were still supported.

        Microsoft's strategy has been make older versions obsolete artificially: Deliberately breaking compatibility such as making .net deliberately not work on older platforms. Convincing services, like netflix, to use microsoft DRM which is incompatible with older systems. Bundling silverlight/IE into windows. Making drivers incompatible.

        I feels only natural that the upgrade cycle will slow down over time as operating systems mature. I wonder how long the upgrade train can go on? A century from now, will we really be faced with the same pressures to upgrade to a new platform we don't want? Is that business model even sustainable?

        1. The Unexpected Bill


          I think your posting is very well stated. (which is basically what I say below, with observations)

          I had good reason to move from Windows NT 4 to Windows 2000 back then...Windows 2000 really came with some features I wanted to have, such as fully integrated plug-n-play support and the ability to service the operating system *once* per service pack! (Anybody remember updating NT after installing a new driver or OS feature and then having to reinstall the last service pack? I don't miss those days at all.) Microsoft didn't really have to work too hard to sell me on those benefits.

          On my systems, and across a lot of different installations, Windows 2000 proved itself to be a stable and FAST workhorse of an operating system, much more so than any release of Windows had ever been (again, in my experience). It was a bit on the hungry side for RAM and not all that secure. At least the security improved somewhat over time (though I would have like to seen the security boosting features of XP SP2 brought to Win2k).

          I moved some systems to Windows XP when some of the software I wanted to use demanded it. Windows XP was definitely slower, naggier (do you want to clean up your desktop? no. how about now? no. now, maybe? no. What about cleaning your desktop...>BLAM!< ... "Local Area Network Connection is now connected, 100.0 mbps...siiiiiigh...) and came with some definite non-features such as product activation, the start of the DRM-related protected output path(s) and other stuff. Oh, and the Explorer windows that lose their shape and size settings any time you change your screen resolution--plus, some, like the floppy drive window, don't save their settings at all, choosing instead to default to some asinine large window that takes over too much of the screen. Yay for progress.

          I have no use at all for Vista and Win7, the shell in each one is so badly broken and stripped of capabilities that I came to know and use that I just can't do it. If they were going to copy the Macintosh, couldn't they at least have done it *properly*?

          Microsoft won't sell me another copy of Windows because there is nothing I want to be found. Make the damn thing work, make the UI sensible and make it lean 'n' mean...and I'll buy it. Otherwise, no sale.

          Windows 2000 still soldiers on with most of my computers. It does what I want and has every feature I need. I'll run it until I can no longer do so. And when I can't, it looks like I'll be done with Windows. I don't know for sure where I'm going yet. Probably a mix of Mac OS, Linux and some type of FreeBSD derivative.

          Back to your regularly scheduled programming.

          1. Automatic jack


            Windows peaked at Windows 2000 - The first genuinely stable version of windows.

            Everything since has been a naggier and increasingly crippled version of the OS.

            I'm on Windows 7 64 bit now it it sucks ass - apps are unstable and even core operating system components regularly stop responding. I reckon I'll be downgrading to 32 bit XP SP3 before long. I would downgrade to Win2000 if it was still being supported and patched.

            Might even be time to run Ucuntu ...

    2. Captain Thyratron

      About as stable as actinium.

      It goes about as long as astatine does before flying into little radioactive pieces, even if left in the dark undisturbed.

      A friend of mine who was using Windows ME called me over once to show me something. He was posting a message to Livejournal, and noticed that his check-boxes and the arrows on his drop-down menu were tilted diagonally. Oh, sure, you might try to blame the application, but the application merely asks the Windows API for a check-box or a drop-down menu, and it gets what it gets.

      That machine does not run Windows ME anymore; he put up with it for longer than anybody else I've known, but that little incident was persuasive enough. It is a curious coincidence that, ever since he dumped Windows ME, the friend in question has never again seen check-boxes or arrows on drop-down menus tilted diagonally.

  2. Pavlov's obedient mutt

    OS version usage

    Do you guys know where I can find a report on OS Version adoption rates?

    I'm curious about comparing OS X release update uptake to Windows rates

    no reason other than curiosity

    1. mego
      Jobs Horns

      Good Luck

      Microsoft doesn't count what version is used, only that it sold a license for the latest one (whether or not you use downgrade rights makes no difference to them)

  3. TRT Silver badge
    Thumb Down


    XPsp3 breaks some machines. I've deliberately rolled several machines back over performance and stability issues.

    IMHO sp3 was a way to transition people to Vista/Windows 7 with it's excessive memory usage and slower graphics performance.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      AMD perchance?

      If so, there's a patch for this. There were some OEM's that didn't label their systems correctly (internally I mean). The original install ended up using Intel drivers instead, which break SP3

  4. Neil Greatorex

    Apart from numpties & "Tick box" admins

    Does anyone actually have "Automatic Updates" enabled?

    The box I'm using to add this comment is a 2003 vintage AMD 64 @ SP2 & *not* fucked^H^H^H^H^H^H updated automagically. No "Updates" since April 2004, MS address space is blocked on my perimeter firewall, I use Opera & Eudora (*NOT* security by obscurity, I genuinely prefer them) , my hosts file is now quite large (but doesn't impact on performance) & my machine runs sweet as a nut, and has done for over 7 years*.

    At work, by contrast, automagic updates are enabled, we use Fista (I know!!) & the PCs, which are more than three orders of magnitude more powerful/RAM packed than mine, take 15 - 20 minutes just to get to a usable condition.

    Advances eh?

    Bollocks I say.

    * Apart from 2 weeks over Crimbo in 2008. I was in Germany & switched it off :-(

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      RE: Apart from numpties & "Tick box" admins

      My advice....

      Treat yourself to a nice new PC at home, hire (or suggest to boss) some decent sysadmins to sort out your work PC and go on holiday more ;)

  5. Michael Kean

    SP3 BSOD = End of Line...

    I'm always just that little bit hesitant about installing XP SP3 as it has a minor tendency to kill the occasional PC, requiring a manual uninstall. I guess it's not a big deal, but wonder how many PCs are affected.

  6. MJI Silver badge

    Evil SP2

    I hate it - much prefer SP1 or SP3 - but then I was trying to install on a P4 2.4!!!!

  7. Winkypop Silver badge

    XP SP2?

    Last time I looked XP SP3 was still free.

    It should also be pretty stable by now too*

    * for a MS product.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    SP3 is fine

    I've just rolled it out onto 450 PC's, AMD and Intel and I've not had any issues. The only real problem is that a couple of AMD boxes wouldn't clean build from an SP3 image so i had to build them as SP2 then install SP3 but as I say that's a couple of PC's.

  9. Marc 25

    no problems here

    rolled SP3 out on to just 25 machines this week as a test...everyone completed successfully.

    if you're getting BSOD's there was a problem before you started the update tbh.

  10. Anonymous Coward

    Re: Automatic Updates

    @Neil Greatorex:

    >Does anyone actually have "Automatic Updates" enabled?

    "Automatic Updates" enabled? Are you INSANE? That is the first thing disable after installing XP.

    Happily running vanilla SP2 behind AV/Firewall/NAT/Firefox/AdBlock/NoScript for many years now.

    Only thing thing I am starting to consider is a 64bit machine for 4GB memory; I tend to do most of development in virtual machines (win2k in VM - smaller memory footprint). That and Eclipse regularly scoffing 1GB - what a pig!

    Maybe that's when I move off Windows and onto 64bit Lenny full time (as opposed to just the laptop)?

    Installed Windows 7 64bit on this machine on a spare drive. Performance was underwhelming so off it went.

    1. Neil Greatorex

      Re:AC @ 13:03

      ""Automatic Updates" enabled? Are you INSANE?"

      Nope, neither updates enabled nor insane, thought my post made that clear :-)

      I'll have *two* pints please...

  11. MJI Silver badge

    SP3 fine here on multiple machines

    Including a Q8200 and the afore mentioned P4.

    Work is now Windows 7 and is our W7 test PC!!

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    WIN 2K

    Went to manually update my home Win 2K last night, and no updates were available, so June was the last patch for me; running on a pair of Tualatin's.

    My work 2K machine died last week; not sure why but a video card fixed the apparent problem the week before, I still have to try replacing the battery for the BIOS. So I moved to a spare Win XP SP3 machine, and am trying to learn this OS peculiarities.

    Just got a Win 7 machine to do data acquisition; is it ever a pain to use. Oh yeah, had to disable all the auto updates to keep from losing week long data files it had acquired. Why does it always have to reboot; uptime is not its strong suit. I'm still using a Win 95 machine for data acquisition on a Pentium 133 that has been running fine for a decade.

    Defrag has not improved since Win 3.0, and that was pretty bad.

    1. 3kids2cats1dog

      I hear you brother!

      I've got a NT box and an 2K box collectiong data as well, Good ol' BX boards max out with Tualatin (yes they work with BX) My workstation is an XPx64 and I have to upgrade it 'cause x64 don't have SP3... O well, progress. Windows 7 does have some nice eye candy

      1. The Unexpected Bill

        You *don't* have to upgrade!

        Hold it!

        Windows XP x86-64 is actually a stripped-down build of Windows Server 2003 software--and as such, it is treated as part of the Windows Server 2003 product lifecycle. Service Pack 2 on that side of things is the latest service pack and support is NOT being dropped for it on XP x86-64 or Windows Server.

        It's also likely (as per the M$ service pack roadmap) that SP2 will be the last service pack for WinServ 2003 and XP's x86-64 bit build. As such, it will be supported until those operating systems lose support sometime in 2015.

      2. Fuzz

        Re: I hear you brother!

        XP x64 is based on the 5.2 kernel so support for SP2 will run till 2014 same as server 2003.

    2. Penguin herder

      Maybe it's time...

      ... to think about replacing the win2k box with a nice new machine running Linux. I still have some big barriers to cross (fewer with time thanks to lots of accumulated work and some attrition), but it is getting to a point that I can't overwrite Windows installations fast enough for my liking.

      When they break "everything" we ever wrote (not really true, but it often seems that way) and change almost literally everything in the user interface and admin tools, they make us free agents. Maybe MS should have thought about that.

  13. Tom 13

    If it bluescreens when you install sp3,

    the system was bolluxed up to begin with and needed to be rebuilt anyway. It was the vendor training website and developed in-house apps that kept us from upgrading to sp3 at the last place I worked.

  14. Neil Greatorex

    @ Tom 13

    "upgrading to sp3"?

    In which ring* do you have to reside to consider a Microsoft patch an upgrade?

    * Dante..

    1. Alastair 7


      Of course an MS patch is an upgrade. Oh, wait, sorry, you were being hilarious.

      All MS products suck lol!!!11

  15. jim 45
    Thumb Down

    not gonna happen

    There's only 1 thing that might get people still using XP to upgrade: a reasonably priced upgrade. MS is still thinking they can scare those hordes of XP users into coughing up $125, to change the OS on computers that do nothing but run a browser. And it's not going to happen, ever.

    I have 2 XP systems here at home, and no intention of 'upgrading' them. I have plenty of other uses for that money.

    1. Penguin herder

      *Something* will happen eventually

      I can relate to the sentiment, but at some point one gets trapped and has to install something, and that can end up being newer/bigger/slower than one might like. The liberating news is that if a machine does nothing but run a browser, then Windows is at best optional baggage and the Live CDs should start spinning immediately.

  16. Combat Wombat

    I have rolled out SP3 to machines...

    of all sorts of hardware specs.. and I have never had a machine BSOD with it, or any of the issues above.

    Probally because I know what the hell I am doing, and run a proper network.

    Only people who have bsod's with SP3 are people who have undetected root kit infected machines.

    Oh wait.. I have a well designed network, so a rebuild only takes 30 minutes + apps to come down via SCCM

    F**king muppet admins..

  17. David McMahon

    You can....

    Build an XP disc with SP3 and lots of updates in, so a new install won't have the time and problems of installing on top of SP2

    This is why I hate Vista's inability to slipstream SP2, there is a way but is very long and never got round to it!

    I find the lower end Vista Machines (Especially Laptops are much better "re"grading to XPSP3 (XP3?)

  18. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

    At least one specific problem with SP3 and certain OEM Windows installs

    Described here:

    "The number of systems that this had affected were minimal" ... specifically at least any HP computer with an AMD microprocessor, and apparently because HP had installed a version of Windows XP including an Intel power management driver. Result as far as I recall: unbootable.

    Probably some people who never bothered to install the service pack now will, and will be bitten.

    So DO make a restore-on-bare-metal backup of your system partition before installing SP3, or any major or even minor software update. For instance, use the Knoppix bootable CD and the partimage or ntfsclone tools, and split the backup file into compressed 330 MB segments: they pack nicely on CD, DVD, and SD storage. Partimage seems to work OK unless there are bad sectors on an NTFS partition (which the XP system partition is), ntfsclone apparently gets around them - I have a machine that I haven't tried this on yet; does anyone want the recipe?

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Automatic Updates: most users are numpties

    If most people disabled autoupdate, most people would never install a single update again. Just like with Adobe Reader where up until I noticed much of my family's computers had a HUGELY outdated version on (yes, I'm ashamed...). For us techies, disabling is a good idea, but if you spread that widely to casual users you're going to make Windows even more of a security fail than it is now.

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