Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.
Windows XP SP3 (Service Pack 3) is on the horizon. We look at what we can expect from it, and what you might do when it arrives.
I've got several questions with respect to Windows XP SP3. Do you think SP3 will install IE7? Have the IE7 bugs been worked out? Do you think people will be able to opt-out of downloading IE7 if it's part of SP3 or at least uninstall it after download and return to IE6? I have almost 200MB of hot fixes, patches and updates to XP Pro SP2 that Microsoft has issued; would SP3 be in addition to the 200MB already installed or would it automatically delete them and just install itself (presumably a download equal to SP2)?
I need to clarify that this is an opinion piece. I've not seen SP3, and much of what we hear about it is currently either rumor or information that could change before it releases.
That being said, I do have some opinions.
First, let me say that most people should not install Windows XP Service Pack 3 yet. Wait until it has been officially released. It's likely we'll see virus emails inviting you to download and install it; if you see them, know that they are bogus.
What's likely about SP3
SP3 will be made available via Windows Update and Windows Automatic Update.
There probably will be a downloadable version (typically called a "network install") available via the Microsoft website (don't trust any other location).
Because it'll be big, I expect Microsoft to offer a CD version, much like they did with SP2.
SP3 will supersede SP2 and most all of the patches issued since SP2. In other words, SP3 will include all of the fixes in SP1, SP2 and since, along with additional updates we haven't seen yet.
SP3 will release sometime early next year.
It's highly unlikely, in my opinion, that SP3 will be a turbulent or problematic an update as SP2 was for some people.
Do you think SP3 will install IE7? I think it's highly likely that it will, yes.
Have the IE7 bugs been worked out? There's no yes/no answer here. I'd expect that many will have been, and that many will not. It depends entirely on how Microsoft perceives the severity of the bug and the cost and risk to fixing it. I'd expect IE7 in SP3 to be "better" than what we have today, but it's too soon to say whether it will fix any specific problem you might hear about or experience.
Do you think people will be able to opt-out of downloading IE7 if it's part of SP3 or at least uninstall it after download and return to IE6? I could be wrong here, but I'm guessing that IE7 will be a required component of SP3. Microsoft has a lot of incentive to move more people to IE7 and to stop diverting energy into maintaining IE6. Typically things that are installed with the service pack cannot be individually uninstalled. Again, I could be wrong.
I have almost 200MB of hot fixes, patches and updates ... would SP3 be in addition to the 200MB already installed or would it automatically delete them and just install itself? SP3 will most likely contain all those patches and more. However it will either not install patches that you already have, or it will replace them. SP3 will then add new patches and updates that you don't already have.
One of the reasons that SP3 is making news right now is that it has a rumored 10% speed increase for some applications. That'll be pretty cool if proven true.
Will I install SP3? Absolutely, but only after it's been released.
Should you install SP3 once it's been released? Probably. It's likely to be a net win. But I'll have a stronger opinion once it's actually been released and more "regular" Windows users have installed it.