Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Microsoft pushes Service Pack 3

Monday night, I noticed a large download from Microsoft on the yellow triangle while working on my desktop, which has the XP Home Edition. (I havent' gotten Vista yet, but that is coming down the pike.) It stalled after slowing down the computer. So I checked for updates, and first got a new download verification patch, and then was asked to go ahead an install Service Pack 3.

A writeup of the fixes available is here. It seems as though it has been available since May.

The information seemed to suggest that the new version was rather urgent. It does look as though most of the patches are rather insignificant, other than some potential buffer overflow fixes.

The whole process took about an hour and 45 minutes. The Microsoft “progress report” behaved in an interesting fashion. The first 33% was “preparing to download.” The file was 66 meg but did not take long itself, probably because it had been downloading automatically before. Then there was another phase, “verifying download.”

The install phase supplied a second pop-up, which was unnecessary and confusing, as the original update mechanism reports everything. That went away, but then another window appeared, and gave more progress as to the details, including what files were backed up and re-installed, as well as a notation of registry update. The process was lengthy.

Then I was prompted to restart. The first time, a protected mode screen came up briefly and executed. Then the usual Windows start up process executed, but took much longer than usual. Then two command prompt boxes appeared, and one of them gave some security access errors. Finally, McAfee restarted (it showed two registry updates on the event log) and, last but not least, the Internet connection got re-established. I rebooted again, and the process was faster, with no command prompts. But since the install, the Internet connection (from Comcast) has taken longer than usual, up to about 90 seconds. Now it seems that McAfee always starts first before the connection is made; maybe that is part of the fix.

Aug. 14

Microsoft already had 16 more updates today. They seem to be the same as what my XP Pro laptop received, and that machine still does not have SP3 yet.

Note: the internal blogger link for this post starts with the first sentence. That's because I published it and forgot to enter a Title. I wish Blogger would make the publisher enter a title. But it is NOT a problem otherwise!

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