Getting a copy of Windows XP SP2 last week was a daunting task. It was posted first to the Windows XP beta site. There was so much traffic from folks desperately trying to download the RTM copy that it was impossible to download. Luckily, I am a MSDN subscriber, so I was able to obtain an ISO image from the MSDN subscriber download site. It was still a bit slow going, but, thankfully, MSDN manages its downloadable files with its own client to minimize interruptions and maximize bandwidth.
So, here I sit with an ISO image on my computer, but I am still hesitant to go through the steps to install it on my laptop. Why? Because deployment of Windows XP SP2 is going to take a lot of planning. There are several applications on my own computer that I'm worried about compatibility issues. Some I can live without, but others are important for my computing well-being.
Here's what I've planned to do -- and you may want to consider the same: I'm going to go through the applications on my computer (most likely just create a VB Script to automate the process), write them down somewhere (probably put them into an Excel spreadsheet with the VB Script), and then jump to each vendor's Web site to look for their Windows XP SP2 support statements.
Once I have all the information, I can make a logical decision whether or not I should go ahead with the upgrade on my computer. Of course, you can use SMS inventory and reporting to do the same thing. If you feel like this VB Script would be useful to you, drop me a note. That usually forces me to work a little faster.
But this is just the beginning. How many companies have varied computer applications companywide that the business unit relies on? And how many of those applications will break or need a patch or workaround? How many of those applications aren't scheduled for SP2 compatibility until later this year -- or not at all? You see what I'm getting at? This rollout will take some serious planning, but, in my opinion, it's completely worth it. And you have a bit of time to plan. The release schedule goes something like this (subject to change, of course):
- 8/6 release to manufacturing.
- 8/9 release to Microsoft Download Center (network installation package).
- 8/9 release to MSDN subscription site (CD ISO image).
- 8/10 release to Automatic Updates (for machines running prerelease versions of Windows XP Service Pack 2 only).
- 8/16 release to Automatic Updates (for machines NOT running prerelease versions of Windows XP Service Pack 2).
- 8/16 release to Software Update Services.
- Late in August release to Windows Update for interactive user installations.
Also, keep an eye on the following Windows XP SP2 resources for updates:
Support Center: http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=fh;EN-US;windowsxpsp2
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rod Trent, manager of myITforum.com and Microsoft MVP is a leading expert on Microsoft Systems Management Server. He has more than 18 years of IT experience -- eight of which have been dedicated to SMS. He is the author of such books as Microsoft SMS Installer, Admin911:SMS, and IIS 5.0: A Beginner's Guide, and has written literally thousands of articles on technology topics.
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