Step 8a: Install Windows XP Service Pack 2 (from CD)

Windows XP in this state is like a newly built house. It's all shiny and fresh, but it's full of building flaws. Left like this, it's a great target for all kinds of Internet nasties. So you have to fix the flaws.


Don't forget: If you have a recovery CD or Windows XP installation CD made in 2005 or later, SP2 is part of the installation programming. If so, you can skip the installation of SP2 as it has been installed with Windows. If you're not sure whether SP2 is installed on your PC, open any folder on your hard drive, click the Help menu, and choose About Windows. The dialog box that pops up tells you whether SP2 is installed.

Microsoft issued a great big security fix in the summer of 2004 called Service Pack 2. It has a wide-range of new features that make the paper house that is Windows XP a little more corrugated.

You can get a copy of SP2 on CD free from Microsoft (they even pay for the shipping!). It takes a month or more to show up after it's ordered, but it's worthwhile. I'm going to assume you have it in your hot little hands now. However, if you don't, go back to the beginning of this chapter where I show you how to order it.

Insert the Windows XP SP2 CD into your CD or DVD drive. The installer program should start automatically. If not, click Start, select My Computer, select your CD/DVD drive, and double-click the icon for your drive. If it still doesn't automatically start, go to your Desktop, double-click My Computer, double-click the icon for the SP2 disc, double-click the Autoexec.exe file, and the installation should begin.


If you can't be bothered to order SP2 on CD and want to forge ahead anyway, skip to "Step 8b: Install SP2 from the Internet," where I show you how to download it.

Click the Continue icon in the lower-right side of the screen to get started (see Figure 9.18). The next screen features a link that says What to Know Before Installing Service Pack 2. Clicking it launches a Frequently Asked Questions page in Internet Explorer. Don't worry; this is on the CD, not on the Internet. Read this, and then close the browser. Click Continue and the installation program begins to extract some files, though there might be a brief delay.

Figure 9.18. Install SP2 to fix all the security holes in Windows XP. To install SP2, insert the CD and follow the instructions.

Eventually, another window opens to take you through the actual installation process. Click Next. The next screen is a license agreement. Make the lawyers happy and read legalese if you need a sleep aid. Then click the dot to the left of I Agree and click Next.

The installer then inspects your hardware configuration, backs up files, and updates the necessary files. A blue progress bar moves slowly from left to right, and the Details box below it tells you what's happening. Wait for this process to complete (see Figure 9.19).

Figure 9.19. The installation of SP2 is mostly automated and includes a back up of replaced files.

The next screen tells you that you've completed the process. Click on Finish to reboot your computer, and then go to "Step 9: Configure Your Security Settings."

Hot new Security Fixes Added by SP2

Service Pack 2 is arguably the most important Windows service pack ever issued by Microsoft. It completely renovates XP, changing it from a skinny 98 lb. weakling to a skinny 98 lb. weakling inside an armored personnel carrier: Weak at its core , but with better defenses.

SP2 adds these key features:

  • Windows Security Center This new Control Panel element monitors your antivirus and firewall programs and turns on the Windows firewall, if needed.

  • Windows Firewall SP2 turns on the firewall by default. The firewall is easier to configure than before and is turned on during Windows startup.

  • Outlook Express SP2 turns off images in emails and alerts you to any email-sending activity that could be virus behavior. It also warns you about potentially dangerous email attachments.

  • Other nonsecurity features SP2 improves Wi-Fi and Bluetooth support, updates DirectX, and adds Windows Media Player 9 (which has since been made obsolete by Windows Media Player 10).

Absolute Beginners Guide To. Security, Spam, Spyware & Viruses
Absolute Beginners Guide to Security, Spam, Spyware & Viruses
ISBN: 0789734591
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2005
Pages: 168

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