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XP's Service Pack: Gotta Have It?

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Category: 2002 Published on Wednesday, 18 March 2009
Mike Berman
Dave Berman

XP users: Have you downloaded the first service pack for Windows XP? Everyone's gotta do it, despite what my young nemesis says.

Humongous bug fixes such as this have become a tradition in the Land of Gates and, although they don't cure everything, they do eliminate many of the problems folks experience.

But this time there's an ulterior motive to Uncle Bill's massive XP fix: It brings him into compliance with his agreement with the Justice Department, allowing users to turn over control of such things as Internet surfing, checking email and multimedia to programs other than those developed by Microsoft.

Although this new feature isn't obvious to the casual observer, it can be found if you go into All Programs and click on "Set Program Access Defaults".

Maybe you'd prefer to use Netscape instead of Internet Explorer as your default Web browser, or Netscape Mail instead of Outlook. All it takes is a simple click and the change is made.

Also included are tons of enhancements upgrading hardware compatibility and programs included with XP, including the dreaded Movie-Maker.

Of course dowloading and installing this quick fix (maybe not so quick if you don't have a decent broadband connection) doesn't mean that everything is just rosy in Gates' Garden.

Not every bug has been fixed and not all security holes have been filled -- that rarely ever happens. But it is a big improvement over what came in the box or with your computer.

You may discover that a few patches you've downloaded previously have been uninstalled. Unfortunately, you'll just have to reinstall them, because they aren't part of the upgrade. I'm not sure why this occurs, but it's something those of us living in Gates Country have become used to dealing with.

Also, this doesn't replace the necessity of making frequent visits to the Windows Update site to keep current with the latest bug and security fixes. As anyone that has been using Windows for awhile knows, nothing's perfect in Microsoft Country.

 

Everyone's gotta do it? EVERYONE'S GOTTA DO IT!?!?! Ha! What if I said "everyone has to get their hair cut"? That wouldn't be accurate, would it? This is what us professionals call a rhetorical question. *zing* Score 1 point for Webmaster Dave!

You can't make generalized statements like that you big fathead! *zing* 2 points for Webmaster Dave!

Why would I need to apply fixes to my computer when it's running just fine? I don't use programs like Netscape. I'm a happy little monkey when it comes to Internet Explorer and Outlook Express. I don't use XP for much more than chatting, browsing the Internet, checking email and playing games. Why would I need a service pack? The answer is I wouldn't.

If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Well mine ain't broke so I ain't fixing it!

Have I made my point yet?

Do I need to continue to nail this home?

Do cows with three legs have a tougher time walking than cows with four legs?

Do asking these types of questions really change the price of corn?

Yes. No. Yes (unless the four-legged ones have different height legs. The three-legged cow may have the advantage then). No.

If there's one thing I've learned in my years and years of working with computers, it's don't patch anything unless it fixes a problem you're currently facing. Mileage will vary on this depending on what environment you're in. But for Joe Thompson using his computer at home, patches aren't necessary. He can continue to operate his illegal sweatshop just fine using the standard XP installation without any service packs or bug fixes. However if you're an almighty computer user like myself, you may find it necessary or even beneficial to install a service pack.

Computer users beware -- sometimes installing such service packs or bug fixes can create more bugs. So don't be the first to install anything. Wait a whlie and see how others do with it. Your ship doesn't need to be the first to sink.

I'll refer to the old adage once more. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. If Mike's reproducing... fix it. *zing* 5 bonus points for Webmaster Dave!!!

 
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