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Installing Windows XP SP2 over SP1

Do you need to install Windows Service Pack 2 if you have Service Pack 1 and regularly run the Windows Update? Site expert Kevin Beaver recommends the move, especially for network admins with security on their radar.

Do I need to install Windows XP SP2 if I have SP1 and regularly run the Windows Update? I know SP2 has the convenience of coming with all the updates in one bundle, but do the Windows updates off the Microsoft website give you everything you would have with SP2? I have looked all over the internet but found no answer to this.
There are many security enhancements in Windows XP SP2 over SP1 that help justify installing it.

These enhancements include:

  • Windows Firewall
  • Data Execution Protection (for hardware that supports it)
  • Pop-up blocker and security zone improvements for Internet Explorer that enhance default security
  • Security Center that ties into built-in and third-party security applications
  • And more

If you're in a networked environment, there are over 600 new Active Directory Group Policy Objects affecting security which is nice for centralized administration. So, having said all this, I'd definitely recommend applying SP2 if security is on your radar.

This was last published in September 2005

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