Despite all the problems circulating the web about Windows XP Service Pack 3, I thought I would go ahead anyway on a new installation. The installation part went fine and the system restarted properly with no lock ups, stops or looping restarts. So far so good, unfortunately I celebrated my good fortune too soon – Windows Update stopped functioning. Whilst updates were being downloaded, Windows XP would fail to actually perform the update.
I did a bit of googling and whilst I didn’t find any accounts exactly matching my problem, I decided to follow the advice on this Microsoft KB article.
First of all, stop the automatic update service from the command prompt.
1. Open up Start Menu > Run
2. Type “cmd” and press Enter.
3. In the command box, type “net stop wuauserv”, should should get the following confirmation:
Now we need to reregister the DLL involved in the Windows Update process.
4. Type in “regsvr32 %windir%\system32\wups2.dll”. The following control box should pop up after a moment:
Now we need to start the update service and hopefully all should be well again.
5. Type “net start wuauserv” which should yield this confirmation:
Thats it, updates started working for me immediately afterwards. If this didn’t do the trick for you, follow the alternative methods on Microsoft’s KB article linked above.
The blog of exo.performance.network contains some fascinating pseudo-real world benchmarks of the release candidates of both Vista (SP1) and XP (SP3). The, now aging, Windows XP managed to outpace Vista in the benchmark by competing it in almost HALF the time!
The Microsoft Vista team were quick to pass judgement to the benchmark adding more fuel to the synthetic vs real world benchmarking argument calling the Exo team’s benchmark a “window-open, window-close” exercise. In an interesting counter, the team revealed exactly what their benchmark entailed:
a. Reformat all section headers and subheads in Word.
b. Generate multiple chart objects in Excel.
c. Generate complete multi-slide presentation in PowerPoint.
d. Multi-page scroll w/copy paste of chart objects into Word.
e. Slide sort/apply multiple templates in PowerPoint.
f. Multi-page scroll/print preview/print-to-file in Word.
g. Multi-chart print preview/print-to-file in Excel
h. Global search/replace in word (multiple).
i. Multi-slide preview/print-to-file in PowerPoint
j. Navigate simulated research web site in IE (multiple).
It seems to be a fair representation of ‘real world’ usage. The results are curiously at odds with one of Microsoft’s key ‘features’ of Vista, especially if the test is repeated a number of times to get a consistant result.
Windows SuperFetch helps improve PC responsiveness and helps make system performance more consistent. Windows SuperFetch tracks which applications you use most often and when you use them—and then it preloads those applications into memory to ensure quick access.
It would be interesting to see these tests re-run with some of Microsoft’s new ‘features’ disabled. For example, services like shadow copy and indexing might be interfering with the process. Still, if nothing else, from the looks of things my XP systems are going to get a 10% boost (in some circumstances) with SP3 and that is something to celebrate.