Updating to windows xp service pack 1
So, for those of you installing Windows XP from scratch, running SP2 straight afterwards will ensure that you've got every fix and the most up-to-date versions of every file, all in one clean hit.
However, anyone who currently has problems with a PC running Windows XP and Service pack 1 shouldn't expect SP2 to be a cure-all — it's far better to attempt to solve any issues you have before you apply the update.
More remarkable is that Microsoft themselves are apparently going to offer a totally free CD-ROM version to anyone who requests it.
So, remembering some of the problems that musicians have had in the past after installing Direct X updates, what does the Windows XP SP2 update contain that's actually of interest to musicians, and is it worth your while installing it?
The most obvious outward sign that you've installed Microsoft's Service Pack 2 for Windows XP is the new Security Center (sic).
Some users have reported greatly increased use of RAM with SP2, compared to SP1, presumably to run the extra security features, with the result that a PC with 512MB of RAM ran more slowly, although I didn't notice any increase in RAM use on my 1GB PC.
However, while anyone with Internet access will, of course, be most interested in these features, SOS readers running music-only Windows XP partitions won't yet find anything of much interest.
Support for Bluetooth and Wi-Fi wireless networking has been improved, and there's a new version 9.0c of the Direct X graphics components, but once again neither of these will specifically benefit musicians.
Unfortunately, some music-specific problems have also surfaced at the same time.
In improving "compatibility, stability and data integrity," Microsoft's updated Firewire drivers now cause problems for many Firewire 800 (IEEE 1394b) devices.
Matthias Carstens of RME was among the first to post about problems with their Fireface 800 audio interface, which was reduced from its normal transfer mode of 800Mbits/second down to the slowest available mode of just 100Mbits/second, but it's apparently a problem that affects all Firewire 800 devices (although Firewire 400/IEEE 1394a devices survive intact at their normal 400Mbits/second).