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May 26, 2008

First Look at "Official" XP SP3

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A couple days ago, I booted into my Windows XP Home installation (yes, blasphemy, I know) in order to pull some pictures off of a Sony Memory Stick, since Ubuntu doesn't seem to recognize the card when I plug it into my card reader. In the course of performing the Windows Updates that I had long been delinquent on, the MS Update site offered to let me download and install Windows XP SP3. I had some free time so, heck, why not?

Since my switch to nearly-all-linux, I had shrunk my Windows partition down to the minimum to hold all the programs I had installed, the OS itself, and about 1 GB of free space. Seems my 1 GB had been reduced in my sparse Windows use; the SP3 download required roughly 370MB, and the installation another 370MB, and I had to find just a tad more free space. :)

After the install (and the ever-needed reboot), there were a couple major problems with my computer. Most major was the complete destruction of my theme capabilities. I'm quite fond of the infamous UXTheme hack; however, after applying the hack for SP3 (and probably before, but I'll have to check), I could not use any UI themes, not even the default Luna theme. I kept getting an error that the theme couldn't load because the file couldn't load... The visual styles could not be loaded because the file failed to load.  Details:

As tragic as it is that I could not use any window themes, at least I can still use the computer. Well, my Root account, anyway; my limited user account threw an error when I logged in saying that explorer.exe couldn't initialize properly. Clicking the OK button continued the login process, only to login to a completely empty desktop. Explorer failed to load, which in turn kept the desktop, taskbar, etc from loading. I was able to pull up the Task Manager, but attempting to start Explorer.exe from the new task option threw the same error. The aplication failed to initialize properly (0xc0000022). Click on OK to terminate the application.I was able to "work around" this major issue by creating a new limited user account (which logged in perfectly fine), but I ended up running out of space while attempting to copy the Docs & Settings directory from the old account to the new account.

Turns out SP3 is placed in the Add/Remove programs list. I'm going to uninstall SP3, check if any of these problems reoccur under SP2, then try re-installing SP3 and see if it works any better. Maybe I messed something up during the install. Or maybe SP3 isn't ready for the masses yet.

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