View Full Version : Windows XP Service Pack 2

August 9th, 2004, 4:27 AM
From Winbeta.org
Microsoft's arduous, oft delayed journey to mecca del RTM has finally been completed with the release this morning of Windows XP Service Pack 2.

Build # 2180 is stamped boldly on the shiny new badge adorning their latest efforts to update the rapidly aging Windows XP and keep some interest alive in their on-going Operating System endeavours till Windows Longhorn debuts sometime in 2006.

Build # 2180 is 266.1MB in size for the English version.

Currently the build is available to beta testers only via Windowsbeta, however it is scheduled to be rolled out to other distribution mediums over the next few days.

We're going to test this build out thoroughly and will report back with more information shortly...

Windows XP was released originally back in 2001.

The rapidly changing landscape of computing with the huge explosion of high-speed internet access has meant a radical new approach to security is necessary.

Though growth in connectivity to the internet has been a significant boost for anti-virus and security companies, they now face increasing pressure as Microsoft does as they have done in so many other software markets, simply include their own version of a product for free with their Operating System, kill the competition and then abruptly give up on innovating said product.

Let's hope that Microsoft Firewall does NOT allow their own products to 'Call Home' despite the firewall being turned on. This we will test comprehensively.

Microsoft has devoted hundreds of years worth of man-hours to engineering this build which has had a significant drain on other product development cycles. The mirage that is Longhorn Beta 1 may now start to become a little more discernable now that the many software engineers seconded from Longhorn to XP SP2 can now return to pushing the envelope that is Windows as we currently know it.

It's not available just yet, but it's expected within the space of a week to be available via Windows Update.
Anyway, onto the meat of this post~

What is a service pack?
As you guys know, Microsoft releases update after update for their Operating Systems, and downloading them all can be a pain. So every so often, they combine all current patches to date, as well as a slew of new features and program versions, into a Service Pack, for our conveniance.

Why get Service Pack 2?
Well apart from the aforementioned notion of staying up to date, the new features are quite tasty.
This is far from a comprehensive list, but it gives you a general idea:

Turning on Windows Firewall by default.
Currently users have to turn it on themselves, and I know sooo many people who don't even know it exists. Sure, it's notcomparable to the likes of Zone Alarm, or Black Ice Defender, but its something, and it costs nothing.

Closing ports except when they are in use.
This ties in really well with the Firewall defaulting to being enabled. XP will now close ports that aren't in use by legitiment programs.

Improving application compatibility when Windows Firewall is on.
The biggest problem with the firewall, and any firewall, is programs disagreeing with it. To this end, Microsoft have done their best to remedy the problem.

The attack surface of the Remote Procedure Call (RPC) service is reduced.
In essensce, this new version of the RPC service has been toughened against abuse, so worms such as Blaster and the like from the past 12 months no longer have an exploit to, well..exploit.

Disabling the Windows Messenger Service by default.
This is not referring to the Instant Messenger client but to a service that runs in the background on your Windows XP PC. This is a service that is responsible for popup messages that appear to be from Windows, and selling you things, being allowed to run free on your system.

Boot time security.
On PC's running Windows XP Service pack 1, there is a window of time between when your PC can "see" the network and when Windows Firewall provides protection. This results in the ability for data to be received and delivered to a service without Windows Firewall performing ANY filtering. This can expose your PC to all kindas of hazards. A new service now blocks this window, providing the XP Firewall is enabled.

Execution Protection (NX).
Execution Protection (also known as NX, or "no execute") marks all memory locations in a process as non-executable unless the location explicitly contains executable code. For the lamens among us, this means that ANY malicious code on your PC, that attempts to insert and run dangerous applications on your PC will be denied.

Crash Detection Feature.
This is one the big enhancements that is packed in with Service Pack 2. Whenever Internet Explorer crashes, the "Add-on Crash Detection" program is launched. Add-on Crash Detection is an error analysis program that examines the state of the Iexplore.exe process. It collects the list of DLLs that are loaded, and the value of the instruction pointer register at the time of the crash. Add-on Crash Detection then attempts to find the DLL whose memory range the EIP lies within. This DLL is often the cause of the crash. If a DLL is found, it is not a system DLL, and the DLL is the COM server for an Internet Explorer add-on, the Internet Explorer Add-on Crash Detection window appears. This dialog box contains information that indicates which add-on caused the crash, the name of the company associated with the add-on, and the description of the DLL file that contains the add-on code. Click Advanced to display Manage Add-ons, which you can then use to disable the identified add-on.

Pop Up Blocker.
This is about the most well known change coming. A Popup Blocker, for Internet Explorer. And about time! You have the ability to block ALL pop-ups, allow pop-ups for certain sites or you can turn the pop-up blocker off.

So yeah.
Something to look forward to in the next few days.
As always, stay aware, stay alert and stay UP TO DATE!

Update: Windows XP Service Pack 2 has been released, and if you have broadband you can head right on over to the Official Site (http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=049C9DBE-3B8E-4F30-8245-9E368D3CDB5A&displaylang=en) and grab it.
Those of you on Dialup should still wait until it becomes available on Windows Update, as you'll have access to a smaller, more optimized Service Pack

August 9th, 2004, 4:31 AM
I know i'll be downloading it... sounds like it's actually worth downloading for once.

The pop-up blocker sounds like one of the most useful tools... if you still use IE. :P

*looks up* XP has a firewall? O.o;;;

August 9th, 2004, 4:53 AM
I know i'll be downloading it... sounds like it's actually worth downloading for once.

The pop-up blocker sounds like one of the most useful tools... if you still use IE. :P

*looks up* XP has a firewall? O.o;;;
The XP firewall is very basic and you can find it...in I forgot. I believe it's in Nework Connections then you click something eles and you'll see your internet connection. Right-click, properties, and then click the last tab and you'll see it. I think it's something like that. I'm not sure, I use Linux so I can't tell you.

August 9th, 2004, 4:58 AM
Eh, it'll be turned on anyways when I download this, so meh. =/

*downloads* XP Though I think linking to that is against the forum rules at this point in time...

August 9th, 2004, 4:58 AM
I think you should remove that link, Kip Kip.
This thread will be viewed by alot of people who aren't as well versed as we are with their systems, and they should wait for it to appear on the Microsoft website.

I can't stress this enough, to everyone;
Never download Windows Updates from anywhere other than the Microsoft site.
Would you accept medication from some stranger on the street, or would you go down to the drug store and get it from a proper source?

Edit: Thank you ^_^v

August 10th, 2004, 3:08 AM
How fun that was. Quickest 270MB of my life. I love downloading from Microsoft, it always goes at 700+ speeds :P

This SP2 seems kinda good. Especially the blocking of all ports feature. It is annoying me with little popups every few minutes telling me useless things, like, for example "This version of this software isn't very well compatible" and "Your anti-virus protection is not responding" when clearly, theres my Norton in the system tray, working it's @$$ off. I guess it'll take a while to get used to. Thumbs up for this release, it's kinda good.

Hiroshi Sotomura
August 10th, 2004, 4:20 AM
O.o; Gr8person62.2 why don't you just update your apps and then they will be compatible? Putting up with them and getting used to them? Not a solution in my book, but I'll let you be the judge.

I will never update the Windows XP on my Virtual PC. Why? Because my Mac will protect it. =p

August 10th, 2004, 5:04 AM
I can't "update" those programs. I'm using the latest Nero, and it says it's not fully compatible. It's really getting to me now this firewall too. I'm sick of reading notes of what it just did. I'ma disable it.

August 10th, 2004, 6:31 AM
I've been running a windows xp service pack 2 beta since may~

so far I've had like, 0 bugs or anything~ Security is pretty awesome as well, I remember before when I used SP1, I managed to get tons of freaking spyware in a few days, since i've had SP2, I still have yet to hit 20 traces of spyware. :33

I recommend this completely. :>

August 29th, 2004, 2:18 AM
I downloaded SP2 yesterday. Other than a few hiccups (with some configurations like picture files and blocking systems altered) that I've settled by myself (my parents scolded me when they had those problems), it's ok.

Sakura and Espeon
August 31st, 2004, 8:18 PM
I got Service Pack 2 in the mail and it works great for me. ^_^

no problems at all.

September 22nd, 2004, 7:40 AM
I will download it when I get my new internet(hight speed)..If i would do it now with dail up im guesing it would take me about 1 week.
Sound really cool though.

September 24th, 2004, 4:37 AM
I read a heap of reports on SP2... let's just say that if I had XP I would NOT install it. Why? It completely messes up a whole heap of compatibility settings and stuff. Nah, a decent firewall and antivirus is good enough for me. *nods* I know how to take care of my computer.

September 24th, 2004, 5:33 AM
Funny, I've been running Service Pack 2 ever since the first version showed up on Winbeta.
Never had a problem with it, or compatability ^^

September 28th, 2004, 5:53 PM
but I will never trust IE ever again... ^_^...

September 28th, 2004, 7:28 PM
YAY! I just got SP2 installed on my computer, its working great and I love it!

September 28th, 2004, 7:31 PM
...I regret installing SP2.

I DESPISE the firewall. And it gives me a stupid pop-up whenever I have to reset Explorer...

September 29th, 2004, 4:27 AM
*laughs at Greggy*

ALWAYS read industry reports. I can't stress that enough... *pokes a stack of computer magazines spilling out from a box in her bedroom*

September 29th, 2004, 5:46 PM
Disable the Windows Firewall, I disabled mine so my third party would work. ^_^

September 30th, 2004, 7:23 AM
I have it disabled. That's why it gives me the pop-up.

"Your computer might be vulnerable. Click here to solve that problem."

Darn thing.

September 30th, 2004, 11:02 AM
When I wanted SP2, it took take a week, plus, Windows Firewall is crappy, but I wanted to see features it provides protection against Spyware, but it said on my machine (when I installed SP2) that "Your Dial-Up Connection is not safe and is spyware. Windows has automatically removed it from your system"

Luckily, I used System Restore beforehand, so I am back on trusty SP1.
If you want to use SP2, use System Restore first.

Also, never use IE, use firefox, the browser, reloaded XD

September 30th, 2004, 11:23 AM
Third Party Firewalls is always better than the microsoft one. =p

I use Mcafee Persional Firewall Plus ^_^

Hiroshi Sotomura
September 30th, 2004, 1:10 PM
It unregistered the .DLLs and .OCXs I had put into the System32 folder, AND REMOVED IT. I had to reinstall them and register them... manually.

October 2nd, 2004, 8:52 AM
I have Service Pack 2, it works really good, and the best thing is I got it for free XD.

October 4th, 2004, 7:26 PM
o_O SP2 is free, that's the point of it, otherwise you wouldn't be able to patch up security flaws...

October 5th, 2004, 6:56 PM
if you are worried about security flaws, switch to MacOS X. =p

November 1st, 2004, 12:17 AM
Well, I tried out Service Pack 2, and I uninstalled it shortly after. It just didn't appeal to me (the changes to the interface and the like), despite all the security fixes... I'll just stick with my AV and Windows Update... ^^;