Service Pack 3 for Windows XP was officially released for public download on 6 May. However, its take up rate is still low as news has not exactly been reported by the media. It will soon be pushed out through automatic downloads somewhere in June or July. Features are available in Wikipedia
. The Microsoft white paper on SP3 is available here
In the meantime, I simply could not resist downloading the 316MB file from Microsoft's website
. Its description states that "This installation package is intended for IT professionals and developers downloading and installing on multiple computers on a network. If you're updating just one computer, please visit Windows Update.
I guess I can classify myself as an IT professional so I went ahead. Although it is stated as one can obtain it via Windows Update
, the many problems surfacing on the Internet and an installation failure on my first try has resulted in me taking this approach as recommended by PCWorld
. That is, download this gi-normous standalone installer
and execute it in Safe Mode.
Not exactly very glamorous but its my first screenshot after SP3 was installed.
There isn't much difference in the use-and-feel after the half-hour installation. Some websites touts it to improve performance
by 10%. But I simply could not sense it.
Verdict: Until the initial problems associated with Service Packs are solved, dun bother to installing it. Especially when the performance and feature gains in this SP are negligible and seems useless to most home users.
If you wanna wait for Microsoft to iron out its kinks, please do. If not, you can always follow in my footsteps. If you dun even know how to get into Safe Mode, then you are not qualified to be an IT savvy person much less an IT professional. Lol!
This was my last screenshot I took several days ago before I took the SP3 plunge yesterday. Compare the version numbers at the bottom right of the screen.
If you look at this picture hard enough, you will notice certain key improvements in the user interface to the one you currently have. Namely, the black theme, tabbed browsing in My Computer, a green-text Command Prompt of different font and a pop up of a file's contents when I hover my mouse above it. Of course my "YKM" start menu.
Let me give a brief outline on how to accomplish the above interface. I'm currently using a Microsoft-signed but unreleased Royale Noir
theme. For the Tabbed browsing in Explorer, download QTTabBar
. My Command Prompt uses the Consolas font
for easy readability. To modify the look of the prompt, type this command "prompt $V$_$D$_$T$_$P$G". The technical information that you saw in the first screenshot is accomplished by BgInfo
. For the "YKM" start button, follow these instructions
. Lol, I forgot what was the Mouse hover program!
Try these instructions at your own risk! Nobody will be responsible if your com crashes while attempting them.
If you have also noticed, I have seem to have a huge number of drive letters from A to O except B. Actually ah, I only have one physical 160Gb HDD. Those are just partitions created by me to allow easier organisation of data and the rest are my multi-card readers.
I also selected the file systems on purpose. I won't state the "chim" rationale here, ask me personally if you want. The sore-thumb looking Ext2 file system holds my Linux partition. The software that allows viewing integration of Ext-formatted partitions in Windows Explorer is Ext2 IFS
I upgraded my Ubuntu Linux
installation just a few hours ago from version 7.10 to 8.04. Took 30 minutes for the initial install and two hours to configure the "basics" up to my liking.
(There are some problems with the dates due to time zone errors. I resolved it after these screenshots were taken. The time is correct but the dates are supposed to be today, 22 May.)
Basic intro and goals of Ubuntu in the main desktop picture. Simple and clean!
I have deliberated mounted all the Windows partitions to prove that this is installed on my computer!
Nautilus is the Linux (using the Gnome
desktop environment) equivalent of My Computer or Windows Explorer. I personally prefer KDE
for desktop environment
but its issues with Mozilla Firefox in Ubuntu forced me to switch.
My blog as appears in Mozilla Firefox 3.0 Beta 5 in Ubuntu. I did not choose the Beta, it was installed by default.
The fonts look abit weird but still readable once you get used to it. Its not Linux's fault, the proprietary nature of many of our commonly used fonts means they cannot be included in this open source operating system. By right, basic features we take for granted like MP3, MP4 and DVD playback are not allowed in such systems as they are strictly licensed by their owners. However, there are always "workarounds".
Then there is the issue of wireless adapters in Linux. Due to the nature of its designs and manufacturer laziness, most adapters in the market today cannot work with Linux without extensive trial and error or modifications to generic drivers. One may even have to manually build from highly-customised source codes. Stuff I dun even know for now.
So for now, my computer has both a 802.11g Linksys adapter that connects to my router and a wired Ethernet modem. Due to Singtel's ADSL
limitations, I can only use one at a time. Two ways to connect to the Internet from a single computer, not bad.
The Firefox display problem is something that is seen throughout all KDE-based installations. Apparently it is a result of Firefox using the Qt toolset by default, which is the main engine Gnome uses, which kinda leaves KDE out of the picture.
I think there are some fixes for it. On the Mandriva Linux I use, it is pretty much "fixed" by default, but I think you can google the fix up online, especially for Ubuntu which has a strong user community. Try "scrollbar fix" "firefox" or similar keywords, I presume that that shall help you a li'l with your problem lest your problem is not the same one as what I think it is.
So you are a Linux user too!!! Not bad, you are the second person (in real life) I know who uses Linux. Support open source software!!!
Thanks for your advice. My answer to you is in my latest 26/5 post.
In the meantime, I would like to know your experience with Linux. When you started using it? How did you know about it? etc...
I started in Sec 2 when a friend of mine introduced it to me and I never stopped since then.