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Part: VII Appendixes > Installation Options

Installation Options

Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2) comes in four different flavors. The four means of installing SP2 are summarized here and explained in detail throughout the rest of this appendix.

  • Automatic Updates— If your computer was set up to automatically download critical updates from Microsoft, and you spend enough time connected to the Internet, Service Pack 2 will be downloaded automatically. All of the required service pack files will have already been downloaded by the time you get the notification to install them. I'll discuss the installation procedure shortly. (On a corporate network, your network manager may have disabled this option.)

  • Windows Update— If the Automatic Updates feature was not enabled, you can install Service Pack 2 from the standard Windows Update Web page. Windows Update will download from Microsoft just those service pack components needed for your computer, saving some download time over the “standalone” method. However, if you have more than one or two computers to update, you'll save time by using the Standalone version.

  • Standalone— The standalone version is the traditional Service Pack format. It's a compressed file that, for SP2, weighs in at nearly 275MB, and contains all of the updated files needed to add SP2 to any version of Windows XP. If you have two or more computers to update, the standalone method is the one to use. While it's bulky and contains updated components that your particular computers may not need, it's still faster to download this one large file than to have several computers download the Windows Update version independently. You can download the SP2 setup file from www.microsoft.com/technet.

    If you have a slow Internet connection, you can order the standalone version on a free setup CD from Microsoft at www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/sp2, or you can likely obtain one at a computer store or from a friend.


    If you download the standalone service pack file, its default name will be something like WindowsXP-KB835935-SP2-ENU.exe. I recommend that you save it with a more presentable name like XPSP2.EXE, unless you have to keep track of several SP versions in different languages. Save the file in a shared network folder, or burn it onto a CD.

    You can either expand the Service Pack onto a shared network folder for faster, easier installation onto several computers, or you can carry the Service Pack CD from one computer to another. The standalone Service Pack can also be used to “slipstream” Windows XP installation media—that is, to update a set of Windows XP setup files so that future installations onto new computers will start out with SP2 already present.

  • Integrated— The integrated version is a full, fresh installation version of Windows XP that has SP2 already included into its code. This can either be a new installation CD-ROM acquired from Microsoft or an OEM, or a “slipstreamed” installation CD-ROM or network share that you have created yourself. Installing an integrated version performs a full, clean installation of Windows XP SP2 without the need to subsequently install the Service Pack. However, it can't be used to upgrade an existing XP setup.



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