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Thread: Windows XP Service Pack 2 Release Candidate 2 review

  1. #1
    amd_man2005's Avatar
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    Default Windows XP Service Pack 2 Release Candidate 2 review

    Windows XP Service Pack 2 Release Candidate 2 impressions


    Introduction Today I will be giving all of you my impressions of Windows XP SP2 as well as the benefits and new features added to Windows XP with this new Service Pack.


    Installation The network release of SP2 comes in at 264mb, much bigger than the 133mb of the SP1a network install. Included amongst all the updates is a revamped firewall, pop-up blocking for Internet Explorer, wireless network setup, and a SecurityCenter which keeps you protected and combines all the security options into a small easy to use GUI.

    Installing is fairly easy, as long as you have a legitimate copy of Windows XP Home, Professional, or Corporate, without a modified bootscreen (ntoskrnl.exe) or log-in screen. After downloading and starting it gives you the run of the mill software agreement and shortly after starts installing. It took me about 15-20 minutes to install on my Pentium 4 2.4c overclocked to 3GHz with 512mb of RAM.

    Once installing, you are asked if you want to reboot, I’d recommend you do so. When first rebooting, everything seems the same. The bootscreen was changed a little, with the removal of the dates in the bottom left corner. Once you have surpassed the bootscreen, it comes up with a Windows XP screen with the “Please Wait…” much similar to what you get when first installing XP. Once that has passed, it comes up to a GUI about automatic updating and if you would like to enable it or not. After that, Windows loads up and you will notice the addition of a “Fix a Bug”: icon



    Control Panel

    When navigating into the Control Panel, you will notice a host of new icons and things you can use, from a SecurityCenter to Wireless Network Setup.

    Network Setup Wizard


    Although already built into XP, a handy icon shortcut to the wizard
    makes life easier when it comes to wired networking.
    Wireless Network Setup Wizard

    A new feature to the Windows XP environment which makes wireless networking quite simple.

    SecurityCenter

    A handy little GUI that combines all of the elements of securing the Windows OS into an easy to use menu.

    Automatic Updates

    Although already integrated into the System properties, an icon has been added to the Control Panel to a revamped GUI.

    Windows Firewall

    A revamped version of the built in firewall that is much more professional and has made it much more secure.



    I will now go into detail on all of the new effects, except the Network Setup Wizard.


    Automatic Updates
    A new GUI has been put into place for the Automatic Update system, which has added more functionality and ease of use of Automatic Updating.

    As you can see, its about the same as the old Automatic Updating, besides the fact it’s in a nice easier to use GUI than before.



    SecurityCenter A very welcome addition to Windows XP, especially for those novice users out there who could use the extra help in having the security set-up properly configured.



    With the power to edit your Firewall and Automatic updating sections all in one, as well as the ability to be sure your Anti-Virus is functional, this has to make you wonder if Microsoft has a future in security programs any time soon.



    Wireless Network Setup

    A new, very easy to use wizard added with Service Pack 2, which is a nice addition for those who need the extra help when setting up a wireless network.





    Offering options to set up more computers manually or by USB flash drive, makes setting up a network simple as ever and is really making the transition into total wireless networking solutions easier. One glitch I found with the wizard was it allowed me to run it, although I have no wireless hardware.



    Windows Firewall

    Probably the best security feature in SP2, the renewed Windows Firewall has it’s own separate GUI with options of what to allow and what not and much more. Much better than just ticking a checkbox on the original Firewall.



    As you can see, it has 3 different settings. The best of course being the firewall enabled, with exceptions allowed.



    The firewall allows you to make exceptions to the rule, and lists them all in this easy to edit list.



    Here you can edit all the advanced settings of the firewall, from networking to security logging.



    The menu that comes up when an unauthorized program tries to access the internet.



    Pop-Up blocker

    An entirely new addition to Windows XP, a pop-up blocker for Internet Explorer which has been long awaited by all user of Windows XP, as pop-ups are becoming quite a nuisance these days.



    The settings for the pop-up blocker are found under the Privacy tab in Internet options.



    Here you see the individual settings for the pop-up blocker.



    Conclusion and Final Thoughts

    Overall, from what this Release Candidate of Service Pack 2 shows, the final release is going to be a great change for Windows XP and will finally make it the full blown, easy to use, secure operating system people are looking for. It is definitely worth your time to download this release candidate and give it a whirl, I’m sure you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the results.
    Download Service Pack 2 RC2 via Windows Update
    Download Windows XP SP2.RC2 network installer

    Thanks for your time in reading my article
    J. Mitchener (amd_man2003)
    Last edited by amd_man2003; 08-02-2004 at 03:12 PM.

  2. #2
    provoko's Avatar
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    Default Re: Windows XP Service Pack 2 Release Candidate 2 review

    Great review, I can't wait to try out the official when it's released.

    By the way, have you tested the firewall, does it stack up to zonealarm and other free firewalls of it's kind?

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    amd_man2005's Avatar
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    Default Re: Windows XP Service Pack 2 Release Candidate 2 review

    Thanks, thus far it has worked just as good as ZoneAlarm.
    Welcome to TweakTown!

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    amd_man2005's Avatar
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    Default Re: Windows XP Service Pack 2 Release Candidate 2 review

    Service Pack 2 released

    Download SP2 here, directly from Tweaktown. Or look in this thread for more mirrors if that one doesn't work. A fnial review on Windows XP Service Pack 2 final release will be coming very soon!

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    xyberace is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Windows XP Service Pack 2 Release Candidate 2 review

    Gee, i don't know... Seems too good to be true... Ain't there a catch?

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Windows XP Service Pack 2 Release Candidate 2 review

    No, subscribers of MSDN are able to download SP2 early and, of course, it has been quickly redistributed across the Internet. There is no catch there nor is there one to service pack 2 itself. If Microsoft had put anything in it that would be undesirable, you would have heard about it by now.
    Last edited by Yawgm0th; 08-11-2004 at 01:03 AM.

  7. #7
    tuxfreak is offline Member
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    Default Re: Windows XP Service Pack 2 Release Candidate 2 review

    Quote Originally Posted by amd_man2003
    Thanks, thus far it has worked just as good as ZoneAlarm.
    the built-in firewall still sucks. It's better than it was, but it still has major flaws. You would be doing yourself a favor by disabling it and installing a real firewall.
    #

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