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Windows XP Service Pack 2: Install With Care
CRN ^ | Jul. 23, 2004 | Frank J. Ohlhorst and Vincent A. Randazzese

Posted on 08/12/2004 9:46:18 PM PDT by LTCJ

Windows XP Service Pack 2: Install With Care

By Frank J. Ohlhorst and Vincent A. Randazzese, CRN
9:00 AM EDT Fri. Jul. 23, 2004

The real surprise with Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 2 isn't potential compatibility issues, but the mayhem that can occur when SP2 is downloaded onto a system.

CRN Test Center engineers evaluated a release candidate two (RC2) version of SP2, and upon completion of the install on three out of five systems, the machines blue-screened. A message stated that "winserv" was missing. The blue screen occurred on both Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) and Intel platforms, and all systems were running Windows XP Pro with Service Pack 1 installed. Every possible avenue to get back into Windows failed.

To remedy the problem, CRN Test Center engineers reached out to Microsoft. The company provided instructions on how to work around the blue screen and uninstall SP2, but it didn't answer questions on what causes the blue screen or the specific systems that may be affected. Microsoft recommended using the Windows XP recovery console to boot the system and then accessing the "%windir%\$NtServicePackUninstall$\spuninst" folder.

Once in the folder, engineers had to rename "spuninst.txt" to "spuninst.bat" and execute the batch command "batch spuninst.bat." When that process was completed, a rollback of the Service Pack file should have occurred. That didn't happen. So the batch file had to be executed a second time, and then access to Windows XP was restored--but with some caveats. Once back in the Windows operating system, Test Center engineers had to open the registry and set "HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\RpcSs\ObjectName" to "LocalSystem." Next, engineers executed the "windir%\$NtServicePackUninstall$\spuninst\spuninst.exe," which prompted additional rollback changes to the registry.

After that process finished, some interesting events occurred. The rollback process uninstalled every device that existed in the PC. Network cards, video cards and all system resources were uninstalled. The PC was able to recover all of the uninstalled items, except one, upon a reboot. The graphics card, the Matrox Millennium P650, couldn't be recovered. Engineers tried to reinstall the drivers but, oddly enough, the Matrox folder was erased from the system and unable to be recovered. The only way to correct the problem was to go to Matrox's Web site and download the drivers from the support page.

The rollback also removed SP1; absolutely no remnants of SP1 existed anywhere in the system. To verify that problem, CRN Test Center engineers went to the Windows update page, and SP1 existed as a critical update, which needed to be installed again.

Before applying Service Pack 2, make sure a full backup of the PC is implemented. Imaging software, such as Symantec Ghost or Acronis True Image Backup, probably offers the best defense against problems caused by ill-behaved patches.

Microsoft's objective with Windows XP SP2 is to make it easier for end users to configure and manage security resources via new functionality and stronger security settings. Microsoft hopes the new settings will translate into safer Web browsing and improved security infrastructure for both businesses and individuals.

The smoke around the campfire, though, is that SP2 will wreak havoc on many security and firewall software utilities, forcing a redesign of antivirus suites, e-mail clients and firewalls. Test Center engineers installed SP2 on systems with utilities including Panda Software, Trend Micro, Symantec and Avast antivirus software, and all worked seamlessly. Symantec recently claimed that folks who download SP2 will need a Norton patch to co-exist with SP2. Yet Test Center engineers found that not be the case.

The functionality that SP2 brings to the table may make many third-party security utilities--such as popup blockers and software firewalls--obsolete. That functionality may push many security ISVs to rethink their marketing strategies.


TOPICS: Miscellaneous; News/Current Events; Technical
KEYWORDS: bluescreenofdeath; dell; lowqualitycrap; microsoft; servicepack2; sp2; windows; xp; xphomeedition
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This article is almost two and a half weeks old. While the situation described isn't exactly what I experienced, it was close enough to be the final nail in the coffin. I wish I had seen it before trying to update my daughter's Dell desktop before she heads back to college tomorrow morning.

In trying to get my daughter's system somewhat inocculated against what is sure to be an onslot of malware through her dorm's intranet hookup, I attempted to install the newly released XP SP2 tonight. I felt farely confident after having applied the service pack to my own XP Pro installation first. That system at least booted up after the upgrade. Not so for her hapless system.

After the automatic system backup for uninstall purposes (all is right with the world - what? me worry?) and the obligatory "you must reboot" message, the system came up with the nostalgic Blue Screen of Death:

STOP: c000021a {Fatal System Error}
The Windows Logon Process system process terminated with a status of 0xc0000005 {0x00000000 0x00000000}.
The system has been shut down.

After a few hours of searching, monkeying around with the recovery console, and genrally uncharitable thoughts about Washington state in general, I came across the above article.

Bless her heart, my daughter takes the whole thing philosophically and doesn't seem to mind a total nuk'ing & reinstalltion of her system/files. I'd much prefer nuking Microsoft but, in the interest of time, we'll have to go her way. This time.

So, gentle reader, I wish you better fortune than I had - but forewarned is forearmed. SP2 doesn't appear to be completely ready for Prime Time, unless you're a project manager for M$.

A pox on their house.

1 posted on 08/12/2004 9:46:24 PM PDT by LTCJ
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To: LTCJ

Did you load the entire thing, or allow MS to do it through the upgrade site that only loads selected portions of the patch after reading the system?


2 posted on 08/12/2004 9:50:31 PM PDT by Cold Heat (http://ice.he.net/~freepnet/kerry/staticpages/index.php?page=20040531140357545)
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To: LTCJ

I am not upgrading, ever!!


3 posted on 08/12/2004 9:51:00 PM PDT by GeronL (KERRY: "I went to Cambodia with the CIA and all I got was a hat")
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To: LTCJ
Installed SP2 RTM on four computers since it was released and all the installations went perfectly. And I'm not "a project manager for M$."

Installing beta releases, as the authors of this article did, is always risky, but to tag the final release of SP2 with anecdotal FUD isn't appropriate.

4 posted on 08/12/2004 9:52:30 PM PDT by Leroy S. Mort
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To: LTCJ

I've been around long enough to know to never to apply a Service Pack on day 1. Experience earned the hard way. Anybody remember the exciting "Doublespace" fun with DOS 5.


5 posted on 08/12/2004 9:52:44 PM PDT by Arkinsaw
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To: LTCJ

Never install beta software unless you want to be a guinea pig for Microsoft. The final release of Service Pack 2 should be free of the aforementioned problems.


6 posted on 08/12/2004 9:55:16 PM PDT by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives On In My Heart Forever)
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To: LTCJ; Cold Heat

How did you get the update, since I just went to windows update and XP sp2 was not offered to me?

This crap from MS is bad, because it makes people reluctant to update their systems, meanwhile the internet is overrun with messages from home pcs that have been highjacked.

Looking over the stuff that sp2 "fixed" though, I think that as long as you are a sensible person, and have a firewall like zonealarm (that shows outgoing requests, as well as protects from incoming), use a browser that is not MS, and don't download crap from websites that you don't know, then you should be allset.

Just my opinon anyway.

Yeah the antivirus stuff is iffy in my opinion, as long as you don't open e-mail attachments and have a good firewall/secure browser, there isn't really anway to get a virus.


7 posted on 08/12/2004 9:57:25 PM PDT by NotQuiteCricket (XP SP2 a.k.a. "Hi-Tech Scythe of Death")
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To: NotQuiteCricket
Well, if all you use a PC for is web browsing and email, then it would be better to build a Linux machine.

Unfortunately, most games require the MS operating system.

8 posted on 08/12/2004 9:59:34 PM PDT by xrp
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To: LTCJ

Two SP2 installations on Dell machines with nary a hitch. Perhaps I am lucky.

I used the early release version designed for network deployment.

Backing up files before any upgrade, and as a matter or routine regardless is a good idea.

o conflicts with Norton CE 7.61, but the MS security center feature lists the AV functioning status as "unknown". Big deal, it is there and working.


9 posted on 08/12/2004 10:03:59 PM PDT by M1911A1
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To: NotQuiteCricket
SP2 will be available through automatic updates next week and through windows update in two weeks. You can download it now here
10 posted on 08/12/2004 10:04:21 PM PDT by dangermouse
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To: PAR35; martin_fierro; ShadowAce; chainsaw; Chewbacca; goodnesswins; edchambers; Quix; BadAndy; ...

SP2 casulty Ping.


11 posted on 08/12/2004 10:05:30 PM PDT by LTCJ (God Save the Constitution.)
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To: LTCJ

bump


12 posted on 08/12/2004 10:05:31 PM PDT by dalebert
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To: LTCJ

Bookmarking for later....

13 posted on 08/12/2004 10:05:48 PM PDT by Watery Tart (I can't imagine that al-Qaida is going to be impressed by sensitivity." ~~LYNNE Cheney)
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To: LTCJ
"Release Candidate" means having the users debug your product.

I downloaded the 272MB version and I've installed it on 5 computers of varying types with no problems whatsoever.

The firewall is easy to disable if you don't need it and the pop-up blocker in IE means I don't need Google's toolbar anymore.

I had been using Mozilla Firefox but I didn't like some of the bugs. It wouldn't return to the same part of a page when you hit the back button and it wouldn't show followed links by changing their color. VERY annoying for eBay users like me.

I'll just wait for IE7 to get tabbed windows.

14 posted on 08/12/2004 10:07:08 PM PDT by Honcho Bongs
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To: NotQuiteCricket
I like most MS products. I have had the usual amount of problems with XP as I have all the others, but XP has been very stable in comparison.

The SP-1 pack had compatibility issues with things like A/V progs and the like and was improved over time.

I expect the SP-2 to be the same way.

I posed the question about waiting for the download via the automated system, because MS has warned users about downloading the BETA. They know it will have some issues, not with their programs, but with other vendors stuff.

My point is, why blame MS. They cannot possibly foresee all the different hardware and software issues that mat result from any upgrade or patch. It is impossible to know what combination of stuff a user has unless the system is scanned. Laptops and home PCs have many variances, for example.

Best thing to do is to wait for MS to do it through the automated system. I have all of mine turned on and waiting.

15 posted on 08/12/2004 10:09:31 PM PDT by Cold Heat (http://ice.he.net/~freepnet/kerry/staticpages/index.php?page=20040531140357545)
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To: Leroy S. Mort; goldstategop

The article was about a beta release. My experience was with the final full downloaded from their site and burned to CD. I installed it on two computers with 50% casualties.


16 posted on 08/12/2004 10:09:55 PM PDT by LTCJ (God Save the Constitution.)
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To: Cold Heat

See post 16.


17 posted on 08/12/2004 10:13:25 PM PDT by LTCJ (God Save the Constitution.)
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To: xrp

Yeah, one of these days I'm going to take a stab at some Linux distro.

I do more than internet & e-mail. I also use MS Office & other applications on a daily basis (any pda's synching w/ a linux box yet?).

And, I don't think a home user should be installing a service pack, until it is available from the windowsupdate.microsoft.com site...if MS doesn't feel good enough about it to put it there, then I don't think "normal" people should be installing it.


18 posted on 08/12/2004 10:16:49 PM PDT by NotQuiteCricket (XP SP2 a.k.a. "Hi-Tech Scythe of Death")
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Comment #19 Removed by Moderator

To: LTCJ

bookmark bump


20 posted on 08/12/2004 10:17:48 PM PDT by tophat9000
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To: All
I downloaded the full version from the "IT Professionals" part of Microsoft's website. Took forever to install but haven't had a problem with it on my home computer or any PC at work. (Actually amazed about the work PC's as everything seems to cause their Novell software to self destruct.)
21 posted on 08/12/2004 10:18:48 PM PDT by COEXERJ145 (I Annoy Buchananites)
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To: NotQuiteCricket
As my post stated, the article was about a beta release. I had a similar experience with the offical SP2 release.
22 posted on 08/12/2004 10:19:44 PM PDT by LTCJ (God Save the Constitution.)
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To: LTCJ

I have been using Sp2 now for about 3 days or so.. NO problems AT ALL! I slipstreamed it onto my winxp pro disk formated then did a fresh install. 0 problems!


23 posted on 08/12/2004 10:24:02 PM PDT by Remington Rebel
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To: LTCJ

from windowsupdate.microsoft.com?

Or from the download (the huge friggin file that won't fit on my 256Meg Key drive) for network administrators?

Just curious. Because I heard that MS was waiting for a couple of weeks to put it on windowsupdate, and I can't help but feel that they are doing that to catch most of the "features" through installation / testing by corporations using their "final" release version. I heard they had bandwidth concerns too (leading to a staggered release), which seemed kinda' odd.

I'm waiting for the CD version myself. Got family on XP with dialup.


24 posted on 08/12/2004 10:26:39 PM PDT by NotQuiteCricket (XP SP2 a.k.a. "Hi-Tech Scythe of Death")
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To: LTCJ

I'd check that CD. Some CD players are dodgy with burn-it-yourself CDs. Always burn Operating Systems and upgrades on quality discs at the lowest burn speed. I did my upgrades over a network for just this reason.


25 posted on 08/12/2004 10:27:32 PM PDT by Leroy S. Mort
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To: NotQuiteCricket
Play around with Linux as an alternative OS, without installing it on your hard drive, via a free bootable CD-ROM! Download Knoppix (or one of these other Linux distributions), burn the ISO file onto a CD-ROM, and reboot with the CD-ROM in its drive. If you later want to install Knoppix on your hard drive, here are some tips.
26 posted on 08/12/2004 10:28:22 PM PDT by martin_fierro (Let's Droll!)
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To: LTCJ

Just Oy.


27 posted on 08/12/2004 10:28:59 PM PDT by martin_fierro (Let's Droll!)
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To: LTCJ

Windows should be called the install, uninstall, install software.


28 posted on 08/12/2004 10:30:10 PM PDT by The Bandit
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To: LTCJ

Have they put out anything for Windows Server 2003?


29 posted on 08/12/2004 10:34:45 PM PDT by montag813
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To: NotQuiteCricket; Leroy S. Mort
Yep - the massive download. Since my daughter will be away at school, I decided to test the SP install on my system (no problem) and then give her a hardened system if that went OK.

I hope everyone's experience mimics my first shot and not my second.

Both installations were done from the same CD.

30 posted on 08/12/2004 10:36:04 PM PDT by LTCJ (God Save the Constitution.)
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To: Anybody
I have tried many times to restore from a backup on XP and have failed 100%. I have used backup, Norton Ghost, and Drive Image. I am going to try Nero to make an ISO soon. Does anybody have a foolproof way to get a PC back up after a failure with a backup. I have a dial up and the 40 odd updates take 2 days to download after instaling SP1a, not counting the Norton System works downloads, not counting all the serial number entries on the little chicken $h&t programs I have, not counting all the settings I change to get the right wallpapers, fonts and file attributes I like, and setting the 3 monitors settings. Yes, I tried the settings import feature, got about 50% right. I put my e-mail on another drive folder and my MetaStock data folder on another drive and any other thing I don't want to loose like my documents. XP, of course, has its own place it wants to put all these things. From viruses to blown motherboards and just bad luck, I have had to format C: probably 10 times this year, and it's only August. I would love to have one of those restoral disks to pop in and be up in an hour. I am downloading SP2 as I type, so in about a week of downloading, I will be, of course, doing it again. I'm a geek and can't help myself.

If I could only learn Linux!!! If I could only learn anything,......just anything, at my age.

31 posted on 08/12/2004 10:42:32 PM PDT by chuckles
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To: LTCJ
Both installations were done from the same CD.

I've got a Plextor drive that will read almost anything, but I've also got a LiteOn that will occasionally fail to read correctly discs that the Plextor handles just fine. My point was that your daughter's drive may have hiccuped during the install.

32 posted on 08/12/2004 10:42:58 PM PDT by Leroy S. Mort
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To: montag813
Windows Server 2003

Wouldn't know. Sorry.

33 posted on 08/12/2004 10:43:40 PM PDT by LTCJ (God Save the Constitution.)
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To: Leroy S. Mort

Could be; it was burned on a LiteOn under Linux, read on another LiteOn under XP, and then seemed to read OK with no error messages on whatever the Dell uses only to fail on reboot.


34 posted on 08/12/2004 10:48:26 PM PDT by LTCJ (God Save the Constitution.)
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To: montag813
Have they put out anything for Windows Server 2003?

Windows Server 2003 service pack delayed until 2005

35 posted on 08/12/2004 10:57:10 PM PDT by Leroy S. Mort
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To: Honcho Bongs
I'll just wait for IE7 to get tabbed windows.

Go to http://www.avantbrowser.com/ and get tabbed windows in IE6 *now*.

Avant bills itself as a new browser, but it's actually just a fantastic UI modification to IE. It adds tabbed windows, and much, much more. Of all the people I've shown it to, 100% have become converts.

36 posted on 08/12/2004 10:59:07 PM PDT by Ichneumon ("...she might as well have been a space alien." - Bill Clinton, on Hillary, "My Life", p. 182)
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BUMPMARK for later


37 posted on 08/12/2004 11:39:13 PM PDT by Texas_Jarhead
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To: LTCJ

Thanks; I've turned off automatic update. I seldom if ever have experienced the MS disasters often gleefully reported... and I don't want to start!

Dan


38 posted on 08/13/2004 5:56:25 AM PDT by BibChr ("...behold, they have rejected the word of the LORD, so what wisdom is in them?" [Jer. 8:9])
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To: LTCJ

All computers updated here with full SP2 install and all is fine. Each SP2 upgrade took about 25 minutes to complete, BTW, on fast PCs no more than 6 months old.


39 posted on 08/13/2004 6:00:13 AM PDT by weatherFrEaK (Who, me?)
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To: LTCJ
There is a page of user experiences and some workarounds with SP2 posted at the SANS Internet Storm Center web site.

With the huge variety of hardware in use, and the assortment of software that breaks for some and doesn't break for others, it appears that SP2 never goes on the same way twice.

40 posted on 08/13/2004 6:52:57 AM PDT by TechJunkYard (http://scaryjohnkerry.com/)
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To: Honcho Bongs

~~t wouldn't show followed links by changing their color.~~

It allows you to change the colors to your preference. It gives you about 50 colors to choose from. I use blue for link and burnt orange for read on Firefox.


41 posted on 08/13/2004 7:02:08 AM PDT by mlbford2 (In TX, orange alert means releasing the safety on your shotgun)
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To: mlbford2

Yes, I looked for that and despite the correct settings, it didn't work. I guess not everything can work correctly in a version that has yet to attain 1.0 status.


42 posted on 08/13/2004 8:11:33 AM PDT by Honcho Bongs
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To: Honcho Bongs

Try 'uninstalling' and then 'install' the newest version of Firefox. I think they have 9.3 out now. I just checked mine and it is working fine. I updated my version 2wks ago. good luck.


43 posted on 08/13/2004 8:15:04 AM PDT by mlbford2 (In TX, orange alert means releasing the safety on your shotgun)
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To: mlbford2

It's 0.9.3 and I dont think Firefox is so great that I'm going to reinstall it on the off chance it fixes the bugs in it. The way it brings you back to the top of a page when using the back button is also a major drawback.


44 posted on 08/13/2004 8:21:32 AM PDT by Honcho Bongs
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To: Arkinsaw

DOS 5 was wonderful compared to DOS 4.0.


45 posted on 08/13/2004 8:26:49 AM PDT by js1138 (In a minute there is time, for decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse. J Forbes Kerry)
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To: Honcho Bongs

That is wierd, because mine does not bring me back to the top of the page when I use the back button. It takes me right back to where I was when I changed pages. I think you have gremlins. I hear they are hard to get rid of, but you can claim them as dependants on your taxes :-)


46 posted on 08/13/2004 8:29:35 AM PDT by mlbford2 (In TX, orange alert means releasing the safety on your shotgun)
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To: mlbford2

I probably got the gremlins from lurking at DU.


47 posted on 08/13/2004 8:46:01 AM PDT by Honcho Bongs
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To: GeronL

I have installed it on my dell with zero problems.
Not sure there 3 of 5 claim really makes sense, as we are testing it at my work and not a single machine has had a problem.


48 posted on 08/13/2004 8:49:19 AM PDT by Clorinox
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BTTT!!!!!!! To keep track of of observations and experiences with this issue.

I have Windows XP on my computer which is a Dell Dimension 4500S.

49 posted on 08/13/2004 9:21:35 AM PDT by E.G.C.
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To: Honcho Bongs

Try Mozilla instead of Firefox. I've been using Mozilla for a few years now, and I swear by it. I can't stand firefox or IE. Firefox, as you'll note, isn't even 1.0 yet, which essentially means it's 'beta' quality right now. I have next to no problems at all with Mozilla. I use Multi-zilla to get enhanced tabbed browsing, and a few other plug-ins that make my day go smoother. The built-in mail client is a dream, esspecially the spam filter - which filters roughly 60 - 80 messages a day for me with less than 5% false negatives now. (It requires some time to 'train' it to be accurate) It's also available free at Mozilla.org.


50 posted on 08/13/2004 9:55:14 AM PDT by NJ_gent (Conservatism begins at home. Security begins at the border. Please, someone, secure our borders.)
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