My machine can’t handle Windows XP SP3. How do I prevent Windows
Update from continually trying to install it?
Window XP SP3 has had a fairly reasonable success rate, but it
definitely causes some people problems. While I don’t think it’s a long
term solution, you can indeed prevent Windows Update from trying to
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First, let’s make sure that you’ve done everything correct to prepare
for installing SP3. It’s not as fragile as SP2 was when it first came
out, but nonetheless, the following steps from the “are you ready for
SP2” information still apply:
success rate …”
Make sure you’ve scanned for both viruses and spyware, and that your
scanners are running with up-to-date malware databases.
Make sure you’re up to date with all the patches prior to SP3.
Back up your computer.
Make sure you have room for the service pack to download and
install. (Microsoft recommends at least 1.5 gigabytes.)
Microsoft also has its own knowledgebase article, Steps to take before you install Windows
XP Service Pack 3, with these and other tips for a successful SP3
But what if all that still fails? There are reports of machines
where SP3 causes problems which force users to uninstall it to recover.
Microsoft has also made available a Windows Service Pack Blocker Tool Kit. This tool will add
a registry entry that will prevent Windows Update from installing SP3.
Note that manual installs will still work; this blocks only the
installation via Windows Update.
When the time comes to install SP3, you can then also use this tool
to remove that block.