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Service Pack 2 for Windows XP

[Note for Ein-Kerem campus users: Those who have joined the new (EKTNG) system should not do anything - the process has been completely automated].

Service Pack 2 (SP2) is a collection of patches and fixes for Windows XP. The collection contains all the patches that Microsoft released for Windows XP during the last 3 years, up to August 2004. SP2 changes the behavior of some windows components, mainly in order to provide a more secure computing experience than what windows users experienced recently, with better protection from viruses and worms. Microsoft recommends that Windows XP users install SP2. However, it is a major change and should be dealt with carefully.






Installation Requirements

  1. Windows XP English/Hebrew Enabled (English interface) and for Windows XP Hebrew edition (Hebrew interface).
  2. Hard disk space - 1.8 GB free space.
  3. Connection - The size of the update ranges from 75-266 MB. If you have a slow connection from home (modem), and can't download big files, you can bring a blank CD and burn SP2 in one of the Ginges computer centers, or from your campus computer.



Pre-installation recommendations

  1. Don't install SP2 if you already have problems with Windows, Internet Explorer, or any other application. Deal with the problems prior to installation.
  2. Clean your computer from Spyware - Installed Spyware can lead to computer freezes. Follow our Instructions: Installing and running Spybot.
  3. Run a full scan with an updated antivirus.
  4. Recovery preparations - you should take the following steps:
  5. Run disk check on your disks. Do not attempt to install if you find any disk errors.
  6. If you have old peripherals that are connected to your computer (especially with USB) - check their compatibility with SP2 at the vendor's site.
  7. In case you wish to install SP2 on a laptop -
    • Check compatibility with SP2 on the vendor's site (i.e, IBM, Dell, HP/COMPAQ).
    • Make sure the laptop is connected to a power supply during the whole installation process.



Installing SP2

  1. We recommend downloading the full SP2 installer, rather than using Windows Update that is more problematic.
  2. Download and save the correct SP2 version according to the appearance of the Start button in your computer:
    SP2 for English and Hebrew enabled Windows XP [266MB]:
    SP2 for Hebrew Windows XP [259MB]:
  3. Restart your computer after a successful download.
  4. Close all open applications.
  5. Make sure you are logged-on as a user with administrator rights, and that no other users are logged on during installation.
  6. Install SP2.



Managing SP2's security features

Automatic Windows Updates
Sp2 offers several ways to automate future updates to your Windows. Follow our instructions: Configuring Automatic Updates.

SP2 includes a new Windows Firewall. The new Windows Firewall blocks incoming traffic unless it has been specified as allowed (traffic exceptions), therefore it provides some protection from malicious users and programs that try to attack computers on a network.
Windows SP2 Firewall may limit some applications and services. This restriction can be removed manually. Follow our instructions to open up applications and services.

More technical info:

Pop-up blocker in Internet Explorer
With SP2, Internet Explorer now includes a pop-up blocker. The blocker is enabled by default. Once SP2 is installed, some sites, such as Savion Web interface, will no longer function correctly. The solution is to create an exception for the affected web site. Follow our instructions to open HUJI sites to pop-ups.

More technical info: http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/using/web/sp2_popupblocker.mspx

Security Alerts
When a program tries to use one or more of the resources or the ports on your system that are covered by the firewall, a Security Alert dialog box appears. More info.

Outlook Express issues
With SP2, Outlook Express now has a setting that forces all incoming email to be read as plain text. This prevents infection by some viruses that are encoded in the e-mail message itself. If you use Outlook Express for email, we recommend that you enable this setting to reduce the possibility that your computer will be compromised via email. Unfortunately, using this setting prevents searching for text within an email message. This setting is not enabled by default.
Another new setting in Outlook Express prevents automatic display of images from the web. This setting is enabled by default. If you notice that images in email messages are no longer displaying, this setting may be the reason. You can disable the setting, but this is not recommended. Individual images and other blocked content can be viewed by clicking on the External Message Information Bar that appears when external content is blocked.



Norton Antivirus issues
Symantec/Norton Antivirus products may not be detected properly by the new Windows XP Security Center. Even if Norton Antivirus is installed, updated and running correctly, the Security Center may warn that "no antivirus solution was detected". This is not a serious problem but Symantec is developing a patch to correct it.

McAfee Antivirus agent
Windows SP2 Firewall may limit some applications and services, like McAfee agent. This restriction can be removed manually -instructions.

If you are running VPNClient on WinXP SP2 and are experiencing frequent disconnections, download and run the utility vpnrule.exe from our site. The utility will open up the needed ports in Windows firewall.

Uninstalling SP2

  • If your Windows starts-up after installation, but you encounter problems (such as lack of Network/Internet connection), you can remove SP2. For instructions see: Removing SP2.
  • If your Windows doesn't start up after installation, you can try to recover your computer with Microsoft's Automatic Recovery feature - Microsoft's instructions.

Incompatibility of drivers
You might encounter problems with old drivers of devices (especially USB devices). Symptoms: Windows freeze, or devices (for example scanners) don't function properly. In such cases, disconnect the device and search for an updated driver.

Incompatibility of Applications
Some applications could not work properly with SP2. For programs with known problems see:

Incompatibility of personal firewall
If a personal firewall was installed in your computer prior to SP2 installation, you might encounter problems with the personal firewall or with SP2's security center. Check compatibility of your personal firewall at the vendor's site.

More issues






Last updated: July 27 2011