Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.
Windows XP SP3 is releasing. If you're on dial-up, or have many machines, you may want to wait for the Network Install or for a CD to be available.
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 do?
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:
As expected, Microsoft has made the network install, and an actual ISO image of the CD available for download.
Windows XP Service Pack 3 - ISO-9660 CD Image File is an image of the actual SP3 CD that can be downloaded and burned directly to CD, and then used on multiple machines. As you might expect, it's large: 550 megabytes.
Windows XP Service Pack 3 Network Installation Package for IT Professionals and Developers as discussed in the original article below is also a single download for SP3 that you can use to install on multiple machines. You can burn this to a CD if you like, but it's not required. It's 320 megabytes in size.
How to replace Microsoft software or hardware, order service packs and product upgrades, or replace product manuals is a general support article that includes the phone numbers to call to order service packs on CD. If you visit Windows Update this page is referenced when you are given the option to download Windows XP SP3.
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.
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 anyway.
(I'll update this article when I find that the Network Install has been made available.)
Comments on this entry are closed.
If you have a question, start by using the search box up at the top of the page - there's a very good chance that your question has already been answered on Ask Leo!.
If you don't find your answer, head out to http://askleo.com/ask to ask your question.