I’m on dialup and downloading Windows XP SP3 will take hours, if it
even manages to complete without dropping the connection. I was able to
get a CD for SP2, but I can’t see that option for SP3. What can I
As I write this, while there are reports that XP SP3 is starting to
appear in Windows Automatic Updates, the Microsoft web site has almost
no information on it.
Here’s what I expect will happen, and what I think you should wait
for, with updated links now available:
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As expected, Microsoft has made the network install, and an
Windows XP Service Pack 3 –
Windows XP Service Pack 3
How to replace Microsoft
At some point Windows XP SP3 will be covered on Microsoft’s web
site, specifically in the Windows XP section. There, at some point, you’ll find
information and download links for SP3. (Be careful not to confuse Office SP3 with Windows SP3 – they’re
two very different things.)
One of the things I’m counting on finding there is called the
“Network Install” of SP3. That’s typically a single, large download that
you can save to your machine, and then use to apply SP3 on as many
machines with Windows XP as you like. Download once, install many
times. The Network Install is perfect for small businesses and people
like me who have half a dozen machines running Windows XP.
businesses and people like me who have half a dozen machines running
Again, as I write this, the network install isn’t available yet,
though I hope it will be soon.
Naturally, you can burn the Network Install to a CD to take it from
machine to machine, or as the name implies, you can simply install it
over your local area network.
In the past Microsoft has made actual physical CDs available for
service packs. There is a rumor – and I must stress it’s only a
rumor – that they don’t plan to for SP3. If that’s their plan,
I personally expect them to change their minds after some amount of
consumer backlash. As you’ve pointed out, downloading SP3 over a dialup
connection is a problem; a big problem.
If they don’t, or you don’t want to wait, the Network Install can
come to the rescue. Get yourself to a location with broadband speeds
and download the Network Install. Burn it to a CD, bring it home (or
wherever) and you’re good to go.
In the worst case, ask a trusted friend to do so for you, and get it
to you somehow. (Just take care that it’s the correct version for you –
at a minimum that will probably mean selecting the correct language,
but may involve other specifics that we won’t know until the Network
Install becomes available.)
But until it’s available, my advice is to continue to wait. In fact,
even when it becomes available, my advice for many is to wait a while
(I’ll update this article when I find that the Network Install has
been made available.)