There are two ways to get Windows XP SP2. One of them can be removed, and the other cannot.
I’ll bet you can see where this is headed, can’t you?
And, as you’ll see in a moment, you really don’t want to remove it anyway.
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Windows XP SP2 can be installed either of two ways:
- As an update to Windows XP, or Windows XP SP1. That means the system was running without SP2, and it was installed either via Windows Update, or via the Automatic Updates feature. In this case, there is a “before” and an “after”, and you can return to that “before” state, usually through uninstalling via Add/Remove programs.
- As an integrated part of a fresh install. Once SP2 was released, the changes it contained were integrated directly into new copies of Windows XP. Thus the CDs and other installation media simply install copy of Windows XP with SP2 already incorporated. In a case like this, there is no “before”. The machine has SP2 included from the beginning, and there’s no way to go back, because there’s nothing to go back to.
If your machine arrived with SP2 already installed by the computer store, I would bet that that’s exactly what they installed … a copy of Windows XP with SP2 already integrated.
In my opinion, this is a good thing. Typically when there are issues with SP2 that might cause someone to want to install it, it’s because there was a problem with the upgrade, or the state of the machine prior to the upgrade. In your case, there was no upgrade, SP2 was there from the beginning. That implies that any problems you are experiencing are not likely to be SP2 related.
If you are absolutely, positively, dead set on removing SP2, the only way I know to do it would be to find and install a copy of Windows XP that did not have SP2 integrated, make darned sure you have replacements for all the security enhancements that SP2 provides, and make sure not to take SP2 as an automatic update.
But I really don’t recommend it.
I mean, I really, really don’t recommend it.
In my opinion SP2 remains a very good thing, and an important part of keeping your computer safe and secure.