Free Computer Help.
Powered by Volunteers.

Windows XP SP2 RC1 : A Preview

by Mike E.
March 25, 2004

Windows XP SP2 is now in the works. Although it's not going to be shipped until sometime late this year (2004) they have already put up a release candidate for people to test out some of the functionality and new features. Be aware, that this is not the gold release version. Think of it as Beta, maybe even Alpha testing. DO NOT install SP2 RC1 on a production computer. Layman's terms, don't install it on the only computer in your house if you need it for important things.

With that being said, I mustered up the courage yesterday to go ahead and download and install SP2 RC1 on my Windows XP Home Machine. Here's a list of hardware that I am currently running just to give you an idea of what I installed onto.

It's a Dell Inspiron 4000 laptop.
Windows XP Home
512MB of RAM
Pent 3 1.2GHZ CPU
Nvidia 2go Adapter
HP Deskjet 3320 Printer
CanoScan flatbed Scanner
USB 2.0 Drive Kit.

Now, after taking the 20 minutes or so to download this whopping 273 MB (English version) file I went ahead and created a restore point (start menu | accessories | system tools | system restore). After creating my restore point I went ahead and click the install button.

Before it actually started installing, since this is a Release Candidate and not a gold update, the installer made an archive of all files that were to be replaced during the SP2 RC1 install. Of course, since this is a HUGE update and it's not even finished that took some time to do. Honestly, I think it took about 15 minutes for the whole thing to finish installing. Now, onto "after installation".

After it FINALLY got finished installing it asked for a reboot. Of COURSE I'll reboot now. When it started to boot up I was then faced with a question.

It asked if I wanted to "Help protect my PC" by enabling Automatic Updates. I clicked the yes option and went on my merry way. After taking another 5 minutes or so to boot up and finish loading I logged onto my username.

When the settings loaded and all was said and done there was a Windows Popup. Low and behold it was the new Security Center, it was asking me if I wanted to allow MSN Messenger to access the Internet. Well, without giving it a yes or no answer I notice that MSN Messenger was already signed onto the Internet, as was AIM (AOL Instant Messenger). How weird.

Once I finally figured out what was going on with all the new things it was quite nice. Although I did disable the majority of the things that Microsoft has added on, it seems like a great idea to do this, especially for people who don't really know much about how to secure their PC.

Some of the newest features that I've noticed are as follows..

*Firewall Settings in the control panel
*Ability to save a log of the firewall
*Security Center in the control panel
*Internet Explorer having a few added features like a new dialog to view installed ActiveX components/plug-ins
*Internet Explorer now having a "built-in" popup blocker
*Internet Explorer disabling the downloading of .exe files automatically until you re-enable them or click a gray box that appears in the Internet Explorer window.
*Automatic Updates in the System Properties are a little bit different and so is the Alerter for new updates.
*Internet Explorer now has a new download dialog. Telling you what the file extension is associated with and where you are downloading it from.
*Auto-Complete has a couple more features also.

Some of the things I don't understand about SP2 is in the Security Center apparently it has the ability to know which Anti-virus/Firewall software you have installed. It seems as though Microsoft doesn't like people using free software since it didn't detect my Anti-virus or Firewall software that is FREE for personal use.
Also, after about a half hour messing around with the new stuff an alert came up. It was telling me about some new updates for a service pack, already? Needless to say that it made me a little uncomfortable so I didn't download the newest updates.

Well, that's about it for XP SP2 RC1. I honestly can't wait to see the finished product.


To take a look at some of the screen shots I took while doing the update you can visit and browse through them.

If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask my clicking on the discussion link below.

Discuss this article here

Have a question? Need help? Get free, friendly person-to-person help with your computer questions or spyware questions in our help forums!

Creative Commons License

(C) 2008 Help2Go - Contact Us