What if XP SP3 were the minimum OS?

Currently, the minimum version of Windows that Paint.NET will run on is XP SP2. Unfortunately, it’s starting to show it’s age and it’s making a big hassle for the installer. The issue is that a “fresh” installation of XP SP2 does not have Windows Installer 3.1, whereas XP SP3 does. I have all sorts of custom code to detect this, and special packaging rules for creating my ZIP files and self-extractors. It adds about 2MB to the Paint.NET v3.5 download, although it greatly improves the user experience and reduces friction for getting our favorite freeware installed. I was hoping to get the .NET 3.5 Client Profile installer to auto-download Windows Installer 3.1, but unfortunately it has a hard block on this before it even starts to parse the Products.XML file which contains the installation manifest and logic.

If I were to set the minimum system requirement to be XP SP3, then it would greatly simplify things!

There’s no charge to upgrade from XP SP2 to XP SP3. So, why isn’t everyone using it yet? I have a thread over on the forum where I’m asking any XP SP2 users to reply and tell me why they haven’t upgraded to XP SP3 yet. So far the reasons are: dial-up, too busy, and “didn’t see a reason to.” (actually that last one came to me via a private message, so you won’t see it on the forum)

I’d like to extend the discussion to this blog: if you haven’t upgraded from XP SP2 to XP SP3, please post a comment and let me know why. I’m not trying to make judgements here, so please don’t be shy — I’m simply on a fact-finding mission. The sooner I can bump up the minimum requirement to XP SP3, the better things will be: the download size will go down, I can spend more time on other engineering tasks, less time testing, and I can drink more beer. All three of these make someone happier.

This also brings to light the issue of prerequisite management on Windows, and for freeware apps. First, why isn’t it easier to deal with prerequisite OS components? Second, in the eyes of a typical user, what leverage or authority does a 1.5MB freeware (Paint.NET) have in dictating what service pack level you should have installed? If Photoshop were to require SP3, you can bet that a user who just paid $650 is going to install it so that they can get their money’s worth! And it probably isn’t a good idea (or feasible!) for Paint.NET to auto-download and install an entire service pack. Which means that the user experience involves the trusty message box that says, “You don’t have ___insert stupid computer nerd babble here___. Click Yes to do something even more confusing, or No to go back to what you were doing before.”

72 thoughts on “What if XP SP3 were the minimum OS?

  1. craig says:

    Maybe if you just put a prompt in the next version saying that the version after will require sp3 because… its is recommended you upgrade because…
    and ask if they want to go to a website so they can upgrade.

  2. pdnuser001 says:

    Hi, long time PDN user here. I have about a handful of computers here that I use personally. Half of them have SP3, and the other half are still SP2. If you only require Windows Installer 3.1 just make a note on the download page with a link to download it and also put a link in the install program. There is no need to make the PDN install larger to accomodate this or require users to install SP3. Besides all my SP2 systems already have Windows Installer installed so I don’t see what the big deal is.

  3. Matt Hamilton says:

    I haven’t applied SP3 because my primary box at home is also my XP Media Center Edition box, and it’s so stable right now that I didn’t want to risk breaking it.

    Of course, I’d hate to lose the ability to upgrade to the latest-and-greatest Paint.NET, so I’d probably just apply SP3 if you were to force the issue. 🙂

  4. Fowl says:

    Why not let Windows Installer be the prerequisite, instead of SP3?

    Not that it matters to me, but I still know people for which the SP1 (!) installer fails.

    Do you not have telemetry on SP levels coming in?

  5. Rick Brewster says:

    pdnuser001 — You can’t just “make a note on the download page”. Nobody reads those. They may as well not exist. See my earlier posts on the Paint.NET install experience taken from the perspective of a “normal” user.

    Fowl — That’s currently the case. .NET Framework requires Windows Installer 3.1, and since Paint.NET requires .NET Framework …

  6. Dean says:

    I have a feeling most of the answers will boil down to “I didn’t have a compelling enough reason to do so.” Those people on dial-up, or with not enough time would still upgrade if they had a reason that was good enough.

    So I guess the real question should be “would Paint.NET v4 be enough of a reason for you to upgrade?”

  7. pdnuser001 says:

    Well I can say that all my SP2 and SP3 systems have .NET 3.5 SP1 installed.

  8. Jeremy Gray says:

    I am on SP2 for the simple reason that I now treat service packs like system BIOS updates: unless I am suffering from a specific issue that the update is known to address without any adverse side effects, I do not update. My system stability is worth more to me than any e-peen to be gained from running the latest service pack without need.

  9. Aaron says:

    Oh, one more thing…

    For people who are staying on SP2 because of “no reason” to upgrade, it’s important to consider that Microsoft will stop releasing security updates for SP2 in the near future. I believe this will be one year after SP3 was released (April 2009?). So, sooner or later, you’ll need to upgrade to keep the stream of security updates coming.

  10. Kenny Kerr says:

    Some of my clients haven’t upgraded to SP3 due to corporate IT rollout policies. I once upgraded my corporate desktop to SP3 to test some software dependency and was forced to roll back to SP2 when they found out.

  11. Mark says:

    My company is still on XP SP2 because we’re not supposed to upgrade to the next service pack until it is officially sanctioned by the IT department. And testing all our internal apps on SP3 doesn’t seem to be high up their priority list.

  12. John Stewien says:

    Google for SP3 installation failed and you’ll see some problems.

    My story:

    I noticed last week my wife didn’t have SP3 installed on her PC. Microsoft Update would try to install it but then show “Failed” against SP3. The error was a generic code that was like 0x800….. that gets shown any time Windows Update fails.

    In the end though I did get it fixed as the network install for SP3 gave me a better error message. She speaks Chinese, I speak English and we had the MUI for SP2 (multi langauge interface) installed on her machine. I had to show all the updates for Windows in Control Panel, find the appropriate KB number, uninstall it, and then SP3 installed.

  13. "Fleet Command" says:

    My answer would be “yes, but…”

    If there is one lesson that I have learned about Windows development, it is that sudden changes are often encountered with heavy resistance, no matter how good they are. You must always “phase out” and “fade in”.

    In my opinion, you should do the phase out process during three releases of Paint.NET:

    In the first release, show an additional dialog box informing the user “it is highly recommended to upgrade to Windows XP SP3”. Do not do more heavy-lifting than what you are already doing.

    In the second release, amongst other pre-requisite checks, check whether the Windows XP service pack number. If Windows XP is not SP3 and all the pre-requisites are already installed, proceed with installation. Otherwise, halt the installation and guide the user to a web page in your site that has link to pre-requisites installation pages. Tell the user that either he/she should upgrade to SP3 or otherwise he/she has to install the pre-requisites manually.

    Finally, on the third release, make SP3 as a direct pre-requisite.

    Note that when telling the user that one of the pre-requisites are missing, you must tell him the truth: “One/Some of your Windows components are two old.” Then list the name of pre-requisites. Users are often oblivious to the fact that Windows Installer, .NET Framework and DirectX are in fact not only parts of Windows itself, but also the most important parts of Windows.

    Another thing is that you must not allow users who have trouble installing SP3 to stop you. Users always have had troubles with their computers; with SP3 or without it. While I sympathize with them and, as a part of my job, try to solve their problem, I do not think such a problem is YOUR concern.

  14. James Schlackman says:

    I have a fairly specialist reason. I’m running a school network here and using 802.1x authentication on the wired network. If I push out SP3 via WSUS, the changes made to the 802.1x supplicant will mean every machine will lose network connectivity after the update and will have to be logged on to locally to correct the problem.

    Given that SP2 is still being patched, there is no compelling reason for me and my staff to spend the many hours required to visit so many machines, especially when in 6 months time almost all of them will be replaced with new machines running Vista.

  15. Mike Woodhouse says:

    My venerable-but-still-loved Toshiba Tablet PC sits firmly in the failed-update camp. Annoying, since it’s always kept itself up to date through Windows Update and even though it’s a Tablet, it’s a pretty mainstream one.

    It does have Windows Installer 3.1 though, and my other personal machines are all Vista, so that’s OK.

    My work PCs are all SP2, as are the other 100K+ PCs within the organisation. Dunno when (if) they’ll be upgraded.

    I’m not protesting against a raised technical barrier to entry, mind, I’m just saying…

  16. Jan-Erik Finnberg says:

    I have (chronically) less than a gig free on my C partition. I’m planning on enlargening the partition with GPartEd, but haven’t done it yet.

  17. JK-FlexShot says:

    Currently, I’m on my own computer using Windows Vista Premium x64, and Paint.Net works like a charm here.

    Though, on the family pc at home, we’ve got XP Sp2 installed, as Sp3 simply screws up the pc.
    Don’t remember the exact problem, but I remember it was a hassle to fix it.

    But the other people in my family rarely uses Paint.Net though. Gotten bro & sis somewhat interested in it :O

    Not sure if any other XP Sp2 users have experienced the same problem as we have.

  18. Tom Kidd says:

    When XP SP3 RC2 (or whatever the last one was before the thing went RTM) came out, I upgraded my laptop at work to it. It threw the laptop into an endless boot-BSOD-reboot cycle. It was so unfixable I had to send it to the corporate overlords to get reimaged.

    Granted, it was a work laptop and had hard drive encryption on it but when XP SP3 came out I heard of many people with the same problem.

    Now I run Vista at home and I’ve successfully upgraded a different machine (my MAME PC) without issue but I personally have been hesitant to put XP SP3 on anyone else’s machine. Last thing I want to do is spend hours and hours reimaging someone’s machine because I thought to get all “upgrady” on them.

  19. Martin Peck says:

    I suspect most people aren’t that bothered about download size. A 2MB saving isn’t that much. The people who complain about the 2MB bloat are the same people who will complain about having to download all 580 MB of SP3.

    I totally understand that from your point of view you want to spend more time on writing cool new features that people will love, but ease of install is a very important feature.

    I love that I can say to my friends and family “download PDN, install it, it’s great and just works”. The last thing I want to do is add “oh, but you may have to download 580MB of XP SP3 first, and you’d better check the KB articles on what SP3 does…”

    I suspect the sort of person who reads this blog is the sort of person who could be pursuaded to install SP3. It’s people like my Dad, the teacher at my son’s school and the PA in my department who you’ll alienate. They’re casual PC users and they’ll just turn to some other app instead of PDN.

    BTW, I avoided SP3 for one good reason. SP3 removed the ability to have an Address bar in the Taskbar in XP. XP SP2 and Vista both have this feature, but it was pulled from XP for legal reasons in SP3. It’s something I use a lot, and I don’t think I’d give it away just to get a new PDN.

  20. Andy says:

    Some old vpn clients (cisco) don’t work with sp3. My wife’s pc blue screens when I installed sp3 – removed it -blue screens went away. Admittedly i’ve not got around to debugging the issue but I shouldn’t really have to!

  21. starguy says:

    Absolutley not, and read my long and detailed post in the forum about it. In short, there is a huge base of computers out there that have been brought into the shop and ‘fixed’ with a cracked version of XP, which is plateued at SP2.

    As far as I know, there is no other software out there that requires SP3 be installed. Upgrading to SP3 would break these installs of XP, so it is impossible to upgrade these computers to SP3 without an entire Windows reinstall.

    Read my post in the forum as to why computers which have valid Windows licences are fixed by default with cracked versions of XP with SP2, and not with a legitimate keycode install.

    This is just not me, but other computer techs as well. One tech tells another the tricks of the trade, to save going down a lot of dead in roads and wasting huge amounts of time, and this is one of them. By default, when fixing computers that previously had Windows XP on them, you reinstall cracked XP with SP2. Do you want to? No. Is it the way to go to save you a week of work and waiting PER MACHINE? Yes. If you’ve really got your stuff together, you don’t even do a reinstall, but ghost the drive with an image of XP with SP2 and all the apps you install by default from an image you sat down and took the time to make.

  22. Rick Brewster says:

    To finish that comment.

    starguy — You should not be installing cracked Windows onto customers’ boxes just to save some time because you haven’t been able to find a way to properly fix their computer. That’s unethical, and illegal.

  23. Ted Brewster says:

    I waited to install SP3 because I always wait a while after a big update comes out, so I can evaluate the experience of others. I support a lot of machines on campus, and don’t like nasty surprises. (I have it on 2 home machines, however.)

    In this case, I updated because (a) it was time, and (b) the latest Paint.NET gave me an excuse.

    Many freeware packages try for the lowest common denominator: try for compatibility with the earliest possible compatibility level, rather than with the newest.

    Do you know any Brewsters in Pennsylvania?

    // Ted

  24. Skippan says:

    well, Im still with SP2 and i want to upgrade to SP3, but I cant : it triggers a blue screen at start.

  25. Tom Stack says:

    I think this is fine. All my machines already have sp3, all the apps at my work are tested and new xp images have sp 3 installed. I work at a college so we see student machines, we recommend sp 3 and come next semester will actually use Cisco Clean Access to force SP 3 for all student machines accessing our network. The only issue is dial up users.

  26. SCdF says:

    “You should not be installing cracked Windows onto customers’ boxes just to save some time because you haven’t been able to find a way to properly fix their computer. That’s unethical, and illegal.”

    Surely whether it’s legal or ethical is irrelevant?

    He’s just stating that it’s the done thing, so your users may have illegal copies of Windows unintentionally and that you don’t want to remove their ability to use the app.

  27. Kristof Verbiest says:

    In corporate environments many users cannot choose to install a service pack. And most companies are pretty slow to move to the lastest versions of the software. So I guess you would lose some users there…
    In my company we are still using XP SP2

  28. Mike L says:

    I regularly run Paint.NET on my office computers, but they’re at XP SP2 due to corporate IT policy. It would be a shame if I was stuck with the current version of Paint.NET.

  29. Johannes Rössel says:

    In corporate environments users shouldn’t even have permission to install arbitrary software (unless the IT department is really bored) so if they can’t install SP 3 they certainly won’t be able to install PDN 🙂

  30. matthew says:

    IMO, if you could make PDN break cracked XP that would be great 😉 I get so tired of people stealing software, and there is no “good” reason for it! Thanks Rick for sharing this opinion. And thanks for PDN … keep up the good work!

  31. matthew says:

    Oh, also, will the SP3 requirement skip Server 2003 (Windows 5.2), because it doesn’t have a SP3. Otherwise, no problems here. I’m usually on my Vista Ultimate SP1, but XP boxes I use are usually SP3 already. Every XP box should be, BTW 😉

  32. Michael Ragsdale says:

    I have one laptop running XP Home (‘sigh’) SP 3 (it’s slow as crap since one of the sticks of RAM went bad, bumping me down to 256 mb). I have another laptop that’s quad-booting XP SP3 (Pro:)), Vista SP1, Server 2003 R2 SP2, and Server 2008. These machines are fine. However…

    The problem is the main desktop: SP3 install is ‘demanding’ Admin privileges when I’m using an account that *has* Admin privileges. It then triggers a rollback, so that system refuses to have SP3. It has Installer 3.1. All other systems have Installer 4.5. All systems have .NET Framework v3.5 SP1

  33. Rick Brewster says:

    matthew — You can’t compare Service Pack levels across different Windows releases like that. XP SP1 doesn’t line up with Vista SP1, which doesn’t line up with Server 2003 SP1. However, Vista and Server 2008 do have a “lined up” SP-schedule. Like the guy who said “SP3 isn’t available for XP x64” … well, that’s because XP x64 isn’t lined up with regular XP x86. In fact, XP x64 is really just the Workstation version of Server 2003.

    So, the SP requirements are different for each release of Windows. That’s why the system requirements are “Windows XP (SP2 or later), *or* Server 2003 (SP1 or later),” etc.

  34. Edward says:

    The last box I “upgraded” to SP3 is still dead because I haven’t yet made time to reinstall. When the upgrade finished ICMP worked, but nothing that used TCP or UDP.

  35. "Fleet Command" says:

    @Brianary – Windows XP x64 does not have SP3 because it is not a Windows XP at all. In fact, it is a modified version of Windows Server 2003 x64 and is serviced by Windows Server 2003 SP2.

  36. harold says:

    I’ve seen XP SP3 going into an infinite-reboot on the computer of a friend..

    but I use XP x64 anyway.. so it won’t affect me

  37. Stephen Pace says:

    @Michael Ragsdale: It sounds like you have a registry entry that has permissions set such that Admin can’t update it without first changing the permissions (which as Admin, you can do). I had the same problem (it is fairly common). The Microsoft support forum had a script that iterated through the registry and added appropriate Administrator permissions to all the entries. After running that, I was able to apply XP SP3 successfully. I can probably dig out the link if you can’t find it.

  38. Dalton says:

    Rick, please, please, please, please make it compatible with SP3. It’s been out plenty of time and I really don’t want to install GIMP. I can’t use PDN when every time I do something it freezes for a good 5 seconds. :/

  39. Aquaricat says:

    I have to agree with those that say it would be better to make Windows Installer 3.1 the requirement, rather than SP3. My own machine was downgraded back to SP2 after a week of trying to run an install of SP3 that was built completely fresh – I slipstreamed it into an installer and formatted my PC to install it. It was a week of extremely slow computer responsiveness, general issues, and culminated in a pair of BSODs on a six year old machine where I could count on one hand the number of BSODs I’d had. That broke the camel’s back.
    By sticking to a more granular requirement up scaling, you’ll keep more users happy longer. I firmly believe that once Win 7 goes mainstream, a great majority of people still using XP are going to skip Vista and upgrade to that anyway.

  40. harold says:

    I strongly doubt that it would be a great majority.. Sure there will be some people, but once they find out that Win7 is a much of a dog as Vista (and really, how much chance is there that it won’t be?) they will go back – and it will stop the other people with such plans.
    And then there are the companies that have “no compulsive reason to switch to Vista” – they will still have no such reason. Their apps will still not work on it, and there will still be no features that make it worth the pain. Features for sure, but not those that make it worth the pain (or cost).
    But we’ll see. I honestly hope it will be better than XP (or at least better than Vista, but in that case I won’t switch of course) – I also hope they’ll drop the 32bit version but they probably won’t as they’ve announced they won’t..

  41. Andrey says:

    Sorry about that, but I believe that a “normal” user does not deserve anything free. No Linux, no Firefox, no Java, no VLC player, no Paint .NET. It is OK to make Paint .NET require Installer 3.1, or even 4, and .NET 3.5 SP 1. Right people will figure out how to get that.

    It is sufficient to have a note in the download page and a message when an attempt to install Paint.NET is made.

    I am not a radical, I am just tired to see how doomed to fail attempts to please “normal users” ruin MY computing experience.

  42. Rick Brewster says:

    Andrey — Whoa man. How is this ruining *your* computing experience? Understanding a “normal” user goes a very long way towards making software that is palatable even for advanced, technical users. It is never sufficient to put a note on the download page, as almost no one reads that stuff. Paint.NET is not meant for some exclusive, elitist club. Plus, someone who is an “advanced” user in one area is often a very un-advanced user in many others. For example, I couldn’t write JavaScript or PHP to save my life.

  43. phontanka says:

    I use XP SP2 and will use it at least until Windows 7 comes out. I have no intention to install SP3, my computer is very stable and usable with SP2, all my hardware and software work as expected. So downloading SP3 would be for no reason at all, but could cause problems I don’t foresee. If XP SP3 were the minimum requirement for PDN 4 I would have to stay with PDN 3.x.

  44. James says:

    Microsoft haven’t really publicised SP3 and it doesn’t seem like an essential upgrade to me, my SP2 machine is doing just fine. Once SP2 sounds nasty and obsolete (like SP1 does), I’ll upgrade like most people.

  45. Asterek says:

    On my company’s Thinkpad I cannot have the SP3 installed as my company does not allow it – there is some patch applied which refuses the installation.

    On my home machine I have tried once to install the SP3 but then I experienced some problems with the network – so I had to remove it not even trying to dig deeper to find the root.

  46. Mark says:

    I (and others, I’m betting) would appreciate it if you at least kept the last version that works with SP2 available for download if you make the move to SP3 being required. At least people who can’t upgrade would have the ability to use the application in its present form.

  47. Marco says:

    I don’t think making SP3 the min is a huge problem, everyone running a legal version of XP has the ability to install it (corp policies non-withstanding).

    I write windows applications myself and have recently enforeced min service pack 3 for XP to save the exact same Windows Installer headaches as you mention here.

    Whilst my application is way less popular than PDN and is commercial rather then free I have had no resistance from customers either commercial, academic or personal users.

    Of course you will always get the FUD end users that will say the world will end if they try to install SP3 the truth is for all the problems upgrading 99.95% can be fixed with a little research via your favorite search engine.

  48. nholling says:

    Personally, I think unsavy user will probably have SP3 installed (if they have Automatic Updates configured with the defaults…most do). These type of users are more like not to have any version of the .NET framework installed.

    In regards to the size of the SP3 download… The 3.5 installer is 200MB+ (if you have no other version of .NET installed… 3.5 installs 2.0, 3.0 and 3.5).

    I doubt very much that it will be that much of an issue to bump the min requirement up to XP3… most software requires XP SP2 (at minimum).

    Not to mention that XP SP3 is more like a traditional service pack. Installing it probably won’t break anything. This is very different than SP2 …which should have been a new version of Windows :-).

    Just my 2 cents,
    -Nate

  49. Demon says:

    I think stuppid idea to update from SP2 to SP3, becouse it requares good computer knowlage, if user hasn’t good expirence then they don’t do that, also if user has old pc they don’t do too, or has laptop without internet or PC, just downloaded from internet caffe or somewhere taked from CD.

    Better I think how developer use not Microsoft Installer, but other free installers that not requare any requared installations or Service Packed or stupid latest Windows Installers.

    For example I prerate to use this tool for make installer or similar open source, more flexible and better then Microsoft Installer: InnoSetup

  50. Cunkalicious says:

    If having SP3 makes it work better and allows the PAINT.NET to develop faster, then feel free to raise the bar. Otherwise users can stay at whatever version they are at now.

    I’m at XP SP2 – I will go to SP3 for PAINT.NET.

    I went through the process of installing PAINTNET on my eeePC and it said I needed to get the WINDOWS INSTALLER and stopped – the only thing I was spewing was I had to look for it on Microsoft’s site.. extra 30 seconds… then download. What a terrible inconvenience for something I never paid for. Boo Hoo !

    Do what you need to do Rick to keep product development moving – the crowd will follow.

    If you are at the stage where you need to raise the bar – then do so.

  51. Dave says:

    I have to agree with Cunkalicious, just raise the bar. Start working towards a nice 4.0 version instead and stop worryin over who has what and let them fend for themselves.

  52. Matthew Connelly says:

    I can’t upgrade to SP3 for one reason; it kills my system. For some reason, service pack 3 doesn’t like computers running AMD Athlons, and as a result I’ve had to reinstall XP three times. So please, don’t raise the limit, I’ve been using PDN for a long time and I don’t see any other freeware editor as good as this.

    @Dave, some people are limited to SP2 for a reason. I can’t upgrade to SP3, and I refuse to upgrade to the mess that is Vista.

  53. Steven says:

    Seriously, this isn’t even that big a deal. SP3 is only an improvement over SP2, and I have NEVER heard of BSoD problems due to having SP3 installed.

    Quote (Demon):
    “I think stuppid idea to update from SP2 to SP3, becouse it requares good computer knowlage”

    What are you talking about? If you consider clicking a button to install automatic updates “good computer knowlage,” then you are right, but if not, then you are completely wrong. An idiot would be able to make the SP2 – SP3 upgrade.

  54. Katastrophies says:

    @Matthew Connelly I agree and feel your pain. I just finished doing another wipe today and am still getting the files back on.
    I got this new 160 gig hard drive 3 months ago 🙂 to upgrade from my 30 gig one because it was to crammed to take SP3 (and the time I did install SP3 it ‘killed’ my computer) and we had to get the files off via safe mode.
    I install SP3 on this hard drive, just get settled into my new “home,” wipe the thumb drive and it takes a dump on me again.
    Square one again, manage to pull the files out by some 1 in a million chance that I don’t see a blue screen and I have to install Windows again! I’m still getting moved into the computer now!
    Please don’t raise the bar! Vista is a mess and SP3 is a vampire!
    @Gaspard What is RTM?

  55. Sven says:

    I don’t because I reinstall XP too much. First i had xp for a day, then vista for 4 months, then xp install failed twice, then vista for 15 days, then xp for a day, then reinstall, and here i am.

    Once I can finally reside on XP with stability, I will install XP3. Otherwise it would be a waste of time.

  56. James Snell says:

    If you’re using XP and you’re not on SP3 then PDN3.36 is probably fine too. 🙂

    PS. RTM – pah! Real men use BETA! Puts hairs on your chest I tell you…

    (running Windows 7 64-bit and no major incidents to report yet)

  57. Mr O says:

    Not running SP3 at home on my main PC because I am afraid of breakage, as this system is getting a bit crufty at almost 4 years without a reinstall.

  58. Rich says:

    I allowed WU to put XPSP3 on my home file server but once installed the machine blue screened on startup. I therefore rolled back to the prior savepoint XP2. That machine is a 128MB low end box with an AMD processor. And a 1TB RAID array.

  59. James says:

    I have a 4gb netbook with XP SP2. I have only 120mb disk space left. I cannot afford to use any more with another load of junk from Microsoft.

    Visual Studio uses around 1GB of disk space and it can’t be installed on a removable drive.

  60. Rick Brewster says:

    James, how on earth do you have 4GB of RAM but only 120MB of remaining disk space? Hard drive space and RAM are practically free nowadays. In my opinion if you’re using your computer for professional software development (which you seem to be, based on your website link), you should be able to budget <$100 to buy a new hard drive.

  61. Zagna says:

    Rick, I think James has a Asus eee 701 netbook.
    Only one that matches his description, it’s a netbook with a 7″ screen, 512MB RAM and a 4GB SSD mounted on the motherboard. Impossible to upgrade other than to plug a SD card into the card reader. Maybe he should upgrade to atleast to a eee 900.

  62. DutchGuy says:

    Expecting people to upgrade their hardware in order to run software… on an OS that has no issues with the hardware… is simply not done, guys. It’s like telling someone they have to change their car’s engine in order to be able to use a certain brand of gas.

    The logic of wanting to create an installer that’s 2 MB smaller by omitting the Windows Installer, and instead requiring that people download and install a service pack that’s several dozens of MBs in size also falls flat on its face.

    Many people can’t install SP3 (for example: corporate users that may be allowed to install software on their systems but have to wait for IT approval to make changes to their OS), or aren’t willing to (since the issue date of SP3, there’s been a lot of issues relating to system stability and software that simply stops working – which is why Microsoft has not yet made it an automatic/mandatory download and install)

    At home, I’ve got XP with SP3, and it works, because I installed the whole thing from scratch.

    At work, where I also use PDN, I’m stuck with SP2, because we have a plethora of proprietary programs that have not yet been verified to work with SP3. And those programs affect people’s jobs and paychecks – am I going to have to risk breaking those programs because my graphics software requires a minute portion of the entire service pack… not to *run*, but just to *install*? Don’t think so.

    SP3 works fine on most clean systems (fresh XP installations that is), but if all that’s causing issues with PDN is the Windows Installer (not the rest of the service pack), simply keep including it; the choice between a download that’s 2MB bigger or smaller is easier to make than subjecting your system to a huge download and install that may or may not cripple a working and stable system.

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