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Tech Tip – Windows XP Service Pack 2

August, 2004

 

Microsoft is about to release their latest patch (update) for Windows XP - Windows XP Service Pack 2.  If you are running Windows XP, you are definitely going to want to get this new update.  If you are running Windows 2000, ME, 98 SE, or 98, you want to check for updates regularly and keep your computer current with all of the latest patches.

 

Windows XP Service Pack 2 is a huge backup – over 260 megabytes.  If you have a 56K modem, that’s about an 11 hour download.  On a 512KB connection (DSL or some cable modems), it is well over an hour download.  Faster cable modems or T-1 lines, it is 40 to 60 minutes.  So…you may want to purchase the update from Microsoft when it becomes available on CD in a couple weeks. 

 

Also, I wouldn’t rush off to download and install this update the very day it comes out (which will probably be the week of August 16).  There are sure to be bugs in the first release which will be fixed and then re-released.  You may want to wait until early or mid-September to do your update to make sure Microsoft has the little bugs worked out.  My rule of thumb – never rush out and install a new major update on any software – wait for the "update to the update." I have shut off my Automatic Updates (in the Control Panel) until September when I will turn it on again and get this update.

 

So – what’s in Windows XP Service Pack 2 – do I really need to get it?  Some very good stuff – yes – get it!

 

Here are a few features:

 

  • A much improved software firewall – one worth using.  (The current XP built-in firewall is so poor, it is advisable not to use it).
  • Built in pop-up blocking in Internet Explorer.
  • A download manager in Internet Explorer that lets you block malicious software.
  • Improvements to Outlook Express which help reduce unwanted email.
  • Better wireless support.

Want more reasons?  …..Read the top ten reasons here:

http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/sp2/topten.mspx

 

You can read more about Windows XP Service Pack 2 here:

http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/sp2/default.mspx

 

The 3 most important things to do to maintain good computer security are

  1. Stay current with updates and patches
  2. Have virus protection on your computer and stay current with updated viruses definitions
  3. Use a firewall to protect yourself from hackers

And, as always, be careful where you surf!

 

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