HelpWithWindows Newsletter Volume 11, Number 9
May 17, 2008
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In this issue:

Windows XP Service Pack 3 Released

by Arie Slob

Hello Windows users,

Windows XP As I wrote in the last newsletter on April 26th, Microsoft did release Windows XP's final Service Pack.

For those of you still running Windows XP and wondering if you need this service pack: Service Pack 3 (SP3) does not contain any new items... with one notable exception. SP3 does include Network Access Protection (NAP) to help organizations that use Windows XP to take advantage of new features in the Windows Server 2008 operating system. But this does not apply to home users.

SP3 does include some functionality by default that is only available if you apply the specific updates to a pre-SP3 machine:

  • MMC 3.0
  • MSXML6
  • Microsoft Windows Installer 3.1 v2
  • Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS) 2.5
  • IPSec Simple Policy Update for Windows Server 2003 and Windows XP
  • Digital Identity Management Service (DIMS)
  • Peer Name Resolution Protocol (PNRP) 2.1
  • Remote Desktop Protocol 6.1
  • Wi-Fi Protected Access 2 (WPA2)

Some enhanced functionality includes:

  • "Black Hole" Router Detection (detecting routers that are silently discarding packets)
  • Enhanced security for Administrator and Service policy entries

If you decide to install SP3, make sure you have at minimum a System Restore point set & backup at least your user data (better yet have a complete image of your system). Some users have reported minor problems with SP3, others have reported serious problems. If you have an HP computer that runs an AMD CPU, you should not install SP3 before HP offers a patch: you'll be left with an endless rebooting system if you do! The cause of this problem is that HP (and other PC makers?) used Windows XP install images designed for Intel-based systems, not AMD-based ones. The endless rebooting is caused by the SP3 update looking for a non-existent Intel driver. Read this Microsoft Help and Support document explaining how to recover from the problem.

My advice? If your Windows XP SP2 system is up to date with Microsoft patches, and working fine, there's no pressing need to get SP3. Instead I would download the full (also called 'Network Installation Package') version of SP3, and slipstream it into my XP SP1 or SP2 CD, so that if you have to reinstall Windows XP in the future, it will be up to date with all patches that were released after SP2.

If you want to know how to slipstream SP3, read my article on the subject.

SP3 is available from Windows Update. The size of the update is usually around 66MB for a Windows XP SP2 system that is up to date with patches. A stand-alone - Network Installation Package - is available from the Microsoft Download site. This version is the one that is needed if you want to slipstream the service pack into your Windows XP CD.

Slipstream Windows Vista Service Pack 1

Slipstreaming a Service Pack is the process to integrate the Service Pack into the installation so that with every new installation the Operating System and Service Pack are installed at the same time.

Slipstreaming is usually done on network shares on corporate systems, but it also makes sense for the home or small business user to do.

Microsoft had originally planned to make the system of integrating a service pack into Windows Vista an easy task by supporting integration into offline images, but because Microsoft made some significant changes, this is not supported in SP1. Right now the word is that this should be supported in future service packs.

However, there is a method of repacking the install.wim to make a Vista SP1 integrated media image. The disadvantage of this method is that it requires a complete install of Vista RTM in order to integrate the service pack. For those of you who want to slipstream Vista SP1, this may be the only way to do it as Microsoft does not provide any switches in the SP1 executable to allow for simple integration.

Read Full Article


BitLocker Tools

Windows BitLocker Drive Encryption is a Windows Vista (Enterprise & Ultimate) feature that encrypts one or more volumes (drives) attached to your computer and that can use a Trusted Platform Module (TPM) to verify the integrity of early startup components.

Microsoft recently released these downloads to 'manage' the BitLocker feature:

Windows XP: Want a snazzy theme?

Some years back, Microsoft posted a Windows XP Tablet PC Edition 2005 Energy Blue Theme Pack; new colors, new effects and new wallpaper. With a little effort, you can also use this theme on your Windows XP Home or Windows XP Professional based PC.

Read Full Article

Latest Microsoft & Windows News from around the Internet

Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer v2.0.1

Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer (MBSA) 2.0 is an easy-to-use tool that helps small and medium-sized businesses evaluate their security according to Microsoft security recommendations. The tool also offers specific remediation guidance.

More Information

Outlook 2007/2003/2002 Add-in: Personal Folders Backup

The Personal Folders Backup download creates backup copies of your .PST files at regular intervals, in Outlook 2002 and later versions, making it easy to keep all of your Outlook folders safely backed up.


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