I’ve read that Windows XP Sp3 is to be released this week. Should I install it?
That depends on who you are, and your tolerance for risk.
If you’re someone like me, techie and proud of it, or willing to set an example for others … well, then by all means go for
it. I will.
On the other hand if you’re not me … you might want to wait.
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SP3 is big. And while I honestly don’t believe it’ll be a problem for most people simply by virtue of everything it’s
attempting to encompass it will cause problems for some.
You don’t want to be one of those folks unless you’re in a position to take the time to work through whatever issue pops up.
I’ll of course be updating my machines as soon as it hits. But even then, I’m not going to take unnecessary risks … my
wife’s machine, of course, will be one of the last. I’ll want to make sure that SP3’s working well on the other five or six XP
machines I have around here first.
immediately prior to installing SP3.”
So, what should you do?
For most folks, I recommend the following:
Make a full backup of your machine. If anything goes wrong you’ll always have this point to come back to. (You should, of
course, be doing this regularly anyway.)
Make sure that if Windows Automatic Updates is on its set to “download and notify” only. Don’t let it automatically install
anything. Yes, that means you may have to live with the “updates are available” notification for a while after SP3 is
Wait. Wait for others to take the update. Wait for problem reports to circulate. Wait for some level of confidence that the
update will in fact work. Pay attention to tech news sites, even the popular press, and sites like Ask Leo! for problem reports and
a sense for just how bad it is, or isn’t. How long to wait? I’d recommend 3 to 4 weeks, though I know that others recommend even longer, and it’s hard to argue against it.
Regardless of when you take the update, now or later, at a minimum take a full backup of your system drive immediately prior to
installing SP3. It’s the only way to truly protect yourself in case something goes wrong.
Like I said, I don’t expect SP3 to have a tremendous number of problems, or cause the same number of issues that, say, SP2 did.
But unless you have a specific need to hurry, waiting for others to try it out first is a safe and sensible approach.