Upgrading to SP2... worried... advice please.

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Thread Starter
Oct 7, 2001
Hi All

I am running XP Pro on an 18 month old Dell Lattitude laptop and have regularly received and installed 'Updates' from MS AutoUpdater. However, I have not upgraded to SP2 and have now not updated windows for some months.

I am concerned that I may be missing out on some system updates that i should perhaps install and so am contemplating upgrading to SP2. What I am wondering is if I do, can I use System Restore to easily revert back to what I have now as a just in case?

I have heard of so many issues regarding SP2 that I don't wish to experience. What do you good folks advise?


Oct 2, 2003
I have SP2 now on all my machines
On a laptop of 18mths the hardware should not be an issue age wise - which is where some drivers had problems
But do you have any old software running ????

how to remove SP2


Jan 2, 2001
I have put sp2 on many systems; both an "update" and an integrated install. There have been no problems at all.

Things to do before installing any sp.

1 Delete all temp files; do a complete disk cleanup.
2 Uninstall any software you do not want or is not compatible with the sp.
3 Disable [not uninstall] any AV software that you have running.
4 Most important make a complete backup of anything important.

Now install the sp.
Jun 11, 2004
A few steps I've come across to help increase your chances for a successful upgrade:

ok here is what you need to do.
1) clean out your temp files in the temp folder.
2) clean out your temporary internet files and cookies.
3) defrag the hard drive.
4) turn off your anti virus and firewall before downloading the service pack and installing it.
5) during the install you will be asked if you want to archive the files, do so. the archived file can be deleted later if the service pack works. having the archived files, will allow you to uninstall the service pack if you have any problems .
6) after the pc reboots, reboot a couple more times. this insures that when you start up every thing will start up with in a good time period.
7) After rebooting the extra times, turn your anti virus and firewall back on.
these steps will help insure that your download and install do not get corrupted. That is what causes alot of the bad installs of the service pack.
after about a week of running the service pack adn you find that you do not need the back up files, here is the info on how to remove the archived files.
SP1 - Removing Archived/Backup Files:
If you selected "yes" and did a backup it should be listed in Add/Remove. If not, check here: Start/Run/Regedit
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion \Uninstall
If you no longer wish to uninstall SP1 you can remove those extra files, to do so: Set your folder options to show hidden files then go to: C:\Windows\$NtServicePackUninstall$ and delete it.
After uninstalling the folder go to Add or Remove, choose uninstall and it will fail and then the listing will be removed.
i have been running the service pack since it came out and before it was released when it was a beta package. i have not had any problems with it at all. as long as you follow the instructions i gave you should not have any problems with it.

Although written for XPsp1, this is still the best advice I know of for install of SP2.
Note that due to the threat of modern network aware worms you should turn on the XP firewall before disabling your firewall.

I just thought of one more, those with spybot resident shield and teatimer should shut them off too

Here is what we have gathered so far as the best advice for a safe install

1. Back up your data to be safe. You should have been doing this all along, but this gives a good excuse to catch up on it.

2. Do a disk cleanup, clean temp internet files, empty recycle bin and defrag. Good standard maintenance and definitely worth doing now so that things are clean when you do your Service Pack 2 install.

3. If you have an XP CD, do a system file check. This way you have all damaged or missing dlls and system files replaced before you do the Service Pack 2 install so that it is working with a solid install . Put your XP install cd in your cdrom drive and go to start/ run and type
sfc /scannow
hit enter. It will start windows file protection and compare all files to the original install or update patches(The $NTuninstall files in windows) . If it says failed , hit retry , it just means something is using it and you have to hit retry to pause the process. May take two or three clicks of retry.

4. Restart computer

5. Turn off your antivirus, make sure script blocking is disabled. Enable the windows firewall (right click on your connection in network places and choose protect with ICF) and disable your current firewall. If you have spybot run and choose advanced interface (under mode) and under tools go to resident and disable resident shield and tea timer.

6. Run the install if you downloaded it or windows update if you are doing it that way. It will take some time so be patient. Do not panic if things seem to stop. Get a sandwich or something. Just check back to see if you have to click something else.

7. When it finishes and asks to restart, choose no : I will restart later and then finish. Re enable your antivirus (but leave off script blocking) and firewall.

8. Restart PC. It will take a bit longer than normal on reboot , but not extremely long. It should finish with a prompt to enable automatic updates and verify your firewall and antivirus. If Norton antivirus, it may not properly interface so you may have to choose the do not monitor my antivirus it checks for updates itself.

9. Re enable spybot resident shield. It will warn of a new IE toolbar (which warns of sites trying to run active x or install things behind your back) and a lock of the blank.htm web page file to prevent its being replaced by coolwebsearch. Re enable script blocking in your antivirus.

10. One final step I like to do is clear the prefetch file . This will make sure windows does not waste time while booting looking for files which were replaced. I prefer using X-setup to do this, but you can just locate windows/ prefetch and delete the contents.

Six notes.

1. All the add/ remove programs entries for old hotfixes disappear and are replaced with a single Service Pack2 uninstaller.
2. Many of the $NTuninstall entries likewise disappear. Only those installed independently of the service pack remain.
3. Double check your security settings in IE and services settings. This resets everything to default settings, which may not be as restrictive as you or I like. It reset my Internet zone security to medium for example and would turn on some "services" which gamers had disabled. Double check the performance tab in control panel / system / advanced. In otherwords, double check all your settings since most will be set to SP2 defaults. These are more restrictive than SP1 defaults, but still not as restrictive as I like.
4. Norton Antivirus. If you have a Norton product you will have to run Live Update Manually twice after you install SP2. This will install an update to NAV itself and a WMI patch to allow it to integrate with the Windows Security Console. You can now go back and if you previously selected "I have an antivirus and will monitor it myself ." you can now uncheck it and NAV will integrate with the windows secuity console. NAV may ask if you want to allow other software to be informed of its status, approve this.
5. It has been reported that third party "hacked" drivers may develop or cause problems, so if you have any it is strongly advised that you uninstall them and install the latest approved drivers from the manufacturer prior to doing the upgrade. Failure to do so may make it very difficult to install either driver.
6. If you have a browser other than IE set as default browser, after the upgrade make sure to go to tools/ internet options/ programs (in IE) and verify that IE should check to see that it is the default browser is not checked.
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