Most people have not had problems but there are some that do.
I have installed SP3 on a test PC without problems but on my
PC that I use for every day use I still plan to hold off installing
SP3 for a while.
Also if I where to install SP3 I would choose to download the
file and not use Automatic Updates.
Your PC must be at least SP1 or SP2 level as SP3 will not
install on XP Gold.
I would also create an "Image Backup" of my drive prior
to installing SP3 just in case you do have problems.
Don't have any Image Backup software:
Try "True Image" (has a 15 day trial version available)
If you use Zone Alarm Firewall (Free or Paid) then update to
Warning do not install ZA version 8.0.xxx as it currently has
Install SP3 in 'Clean Boot' mode:
How to configure Windows XP to start in a "clean boot" state
How to obtain the latest Windows XP service pack
Where to download the SP3 installation file:
(File is large but will only install components that your PC requires)
Windows XP Service Pack 3 Overview
Be sure to download and read the file titled 'Overview of Windows XP Service
Note: "You can run the SP3 update package on any edition of Windows XP SP1
The hard disk space requirements for Windows XP Service Pack 3
Discusses the hard disk space requirements for installing
Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3)
"For a PC on which Windows XP is already installed"
Installing Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3)
Release notes for the Windows XP Service Pack 3
List of fixes that are included in Windows XP Service Pack 3
Steps to take before you install Windows XP Service Pack 3
Recommends steps to take before you install Windows XP Service Pack 3.
Also includes troubleshooting information.
Internet Explorer: (From Shenan Stanley MS MVP)
"If you have installed Windows Internet Explorer« 7 or a beta version of
Internet Explorer 8, and then install Windows XP SP3, you cannot uninstall
Internet Explorer. To avoid this, ensure Internet Explorer 7 or a beta
version of Internet Explorer 8 is not installed before installing Windows XP
SP3. If you have already encountered this issue, uninstall Windows XP SP3,
uninstall Internet Explorer, and then reinstall Windows XP SP3."
IE 8 Beta Warning - Windows XP Service Pack 3(SP3) users only:
Windows XP Media Center Edition 2002: (From Shenan Stanley MS MVP)
"If you install Windows XP SP3 on a computer running Windows XP Media Center
Edition 2002 with SP1, Windows XP Media Center Edition may malfunction. To
avoid this, install Windows XP SP2 before you install Windows XP SP3. If
this issue has already occurred, uninstall Windows XP SP3, install Windows
XP SP2, and then reinstall Windows XP SP3."
XP SP3: Post Installation Cleanup:
How to troubleshoot an unsuccessful installation of
Windows XP Service Pack 3:
Free unlimited installation and compatibility support
(Via Email, Chat or Phone support)
ISO image - used to create install CD:
(You must have CD burning software that can use an ISO as source)
Availability of the .NET Framework 1.0 post-Service Pack 3 hotfix
Describes the .NET Framework 1.0 post-Service Pack 3 hotfix rollup package
for the Mscorwks.dll, Mscorsvr.dll, and Mscorlib.dll files.
How to prevent SP3 from being installed on your PC
(Windows Service Pack Blocker Tool Kit)
(Works for 1 year from date SP3 was released)
Just some of the SP3 Issues:
(see the next to last entry in this list for more issues)
Windows XP SP3 Issues and Fixes Continued:
(Note: there is a section of this article devoted to System Restore points,
After you create Windows XP Service Pack 3 slipstreamed media, your product
key is not accepted
XP SP3: Registry Corruption & Norton SymProtect:
Symptoms: After installing XP Service Pack 3,
Device Manger is empty; the Network Connections panel is empty;
there are no Network connection icons; and/or there is problematic
or no Wireless or Ethernet connectivity;
the Safely Remove Hardware icon no longer appears;
USB devices no longer function, including mice.
You may not have all of these symptoms, only some of them.
The Address toolbar no longer appears on the taskbar after you install
Windows XP Service Pack 3
Describes why the Address toolbar is no longer visible on the taskbar
A workaround (this is not a fix - the address bar is gone) for this missing
functionality is provided.
MuvEnum Address Bar:
A replacement for the missing address bar after installing SP3:
Restore the Address Bar in Windows XP SP3:
Note: I have not tried this as I'm still at SP2, so run at your own risk!
SP3-based computer loses wireless connectivity when it resumes from standby
or from hibernation,
or you receive an error message when you try to put the computer in standby
or in hibernation
Device Manager and Network Connections may be blank after you install
Windows XP Service Pack 3
Device Manager may not show any devices and Network Connections may not
show any network connections after you install Windows XP Service Pack 3.
Changes to the 802.1X-based wired network connection settings in Windows XP
Service Pack 3
Describes that the AuthMode and SupplicantMode registry entries are no
longer used in
Windows XP Service Pack 3 for a 802.1X-based wired network connection.
You cannot connect to an 802.1X wired network after you upgrade to Windows
XP Service Pack 3
Problem in which you cannot connect to an 802.1X wired network.
If you have hotfix 885222 applied on a Windows XP SP2-based computer,
and then you upgrade to Windows XP SP3,
an installed 1394b FireWire device reverts from S400 speed to S100
Error messages when you try to install Windows XP Service Pack 3:
"Service Pack 3 installation did not complete" and "An internal error
Windows XP Service Pack 3 installation fails with an error message, and the
following error is logged in the service pack installation log:
"8007F0F4 - STATUS_PREREQUISITE_FAILED"
You must take one of the actions that are described in this article to
resolve this issue.
The Authentication tab is missing in the properties dialog box of the wired
network adapter after you install Windows XP Service Pack 3
Error message when you try to install Windows XP Service Pack 3:
"Access is denied" or "Service Pack installation did not complete"
You do not have enough free disk space on %SystemDrive% to install Service
Error message when you try to install Windows XP Service Pack 3:
"Setup has detected that another update is in progress Please complete that
installation or removal and try again"
Error message during every restart after you install Windows XP Service Pack
"The procedure entry point apsSearchInterface could not be located in the
dynamic link library wlanapi.dll"
Describes a situation in which you receive an error message every time that
you restart a Windows XP-based computer.
Specifically, this problem occurs after you install Windows XP Service Pack
A resolution is provided: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/950720/en-us
Error message after you upgrade a computer that uses a processor other than
an Intel processor to Windows XP Service Pack 2 or to Windows
XP Service Pack 3: "STOP: 0x0000007E"
This is the patch to fix the above issue "For non-Intel processors"
***Must be applied before installing SP3***
You receive a "Stop 0x0000007E" error message after you upgrade to Windows
XP Service Pack 2 or Service Pack 3 on a
From: Jesper Johansson's blog
Does your AMD-based computer boot after installing XP SP3?
(Affects AMD-based computers with OEM images, primarily HP Desktops)
A blank desktop may appear when you log on to a Windows XP-based computer:
(Hotfix for SP2 and SP3)
Event ID: 5603 occurs when you install Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1,
Windows XP Service Pack 2, or Windows XP Service Pack 3:
Updates are not installed successfully from Windows Update,
from Microsoft Update, or by using Automatic Updates after
you repair a Windows XP installation
(This KB article may also solve SP3 Windows Update will not work problem)
Some third-party programs may experience a change in functionality after you
install Windows XP Service Pack 3:
Problems occur after installing Windows XP Service Pack 3 or
Windows Vista Service Pack 1 with a Norton 2008 product installed:
Info and Fix:
The print operation fails, or partial pages are printed when you try to
print to a Citizen printer or to an Alps printer
Custom settings in the Oobeinfo.ini file are lost after you upgrade a
computer to Windows XP Service Pack 3
Error message when you try to use the "Files and Settings Transfer" Wizard
to import settings on a computer that is running Windows XP Service Pack 3:
"Your migration store was created with a previous version of Files and
Settings Transfer Wizard"
Windows Installer 4.5
(supports SP2 and SP3)
The long list of things you don't want to know about Service Pack 3:
How to remove Windows XP Service Pack 3 from your computer
"pubscout" <email@example.com> wrote in message
>I have SP3 sitting in my update queue, but because of the many problems I
> have read about associated with its installation, I have been reluctant
> "Install." Other than disabling my AV/Firewall temporarily, what else do I
> need to do to get this baby to work the first time? And what's the deal
> IE 7 being unable to be uninstalled after the update? Do I need to
> it first?
> Many, many questions from a newbie who's used to MacOS....
> Thanks in advance for any suggestions.