XP SP3 Warning

Posted by Scott

Hot on the heels of me gushing about the stability of Windows XP, I wanted to give a heads up for those of you XP faithful out there considering the Service Pack 3 Update.  I setup of a new partition on my machine a when SP3 came out to test it out with Photoshop and Sonar (the app I use to record music). For Photoshop at least, the experiment was a total disaster. SP3 somehow managed to cripple PS CS3 to the point that it was crashing every 30 minutes or so. I limped along like that for a couple weeks then tried uninstalling SP3 just to see how well the rollback would go; needless to say, it didn’t work out too well. I’ve since deleted that partition and gone back to my SP2 install. A quick Google search on the topic will turn up some people saying the same thing.

Of course this is not a very scientific study and your mileage will vary, just wanted to note my experience with the update. Besides, from what I’ve read SP3 doesn’t really add much and given the proven stability of SP2, I don’t see much of a reason to gamble with this new service pack. And if you Mac fanatics are thinking "If you just bought a Mac this wouldn’t happen!" just remember: the Leopard 10.5.2 update (the OS X equivalent of a Service Pack) completely screwed a lot of musicians (me included, I have a Mac Pro as well as a PC). Just sayin’, we all got problems!

If you are running SP3 with Photoshop, let us know how it’s going.

21 Comments Leave A Comment


Kenny G. Villacorta says:

August 14, 2008 at 1:53 pm

Did you do a clean install or upgrade? I have a copy of Win XP SP2 and I sliptstreamed SP3 the day it came out. I installed and tested it out on a vitual machine that I stored in a firewire drive for two weeks, and no problems. I then installed it on my main PC, and again no problems.
My opinion on installing service packs or new Windows versions is to back up and clean install. I takes longer, but less likely to have problems.


Dave Krstin says:

August 14, 2008 at 2:07 pm

I have a feeling this is hardware specific. I have a year old installation of XP on a Dell laptop and haven’t had a single problem with any updates from MS.


Scott says:

August 14, 2008 at 2:11 pm

yeah, I would think it was a hardware issue, but again, I’ve seen a lot of people having similar issues. Also, I’ve always had good luck with updates too, but a Service Pack is a whole other animal. yes, SP’s include all of the individual updates, but a Service Pack is a more fundamental change than a simple collection of patches, it’s more like a version change for the OS. Given that fact, you have to approach it with a little more caution than a simple Windows Update check.

good call, I like to do fresh installs for service packs too, but I guess this just turned me off of even messing with it since my current SP2 install is working so well. I guess the question now is: have you noticed any appreciable difference since your install?


Dave Krstin says:

August 14, 2008 at 3:37 pm

Could also be (indirectly) Adobe’s fault. I’ve seen a lot more funky things happen with Adobe products (XP and OS X) than I have with Microsoft products in recent years…


Karl Peterson says:

August 14, 2008 at 7:11 pm

“just remember: the Leopard 10.5.2 update (the OS X equivalent of a Service Pack) completely screwed a lot of musicians”

The only difference being that Leopard is already on the equivalent of SP4 and it’s only been out for a year. XP has been around for almost 7 years!

That being said, I had a pretty bad time with 10.5.2 as well (wifi issues) but I only had to wait a few months for 10.5.3 and 10.5.4 is rock solid.


Scott says:

August 14, 2008 at 7:39 pm

great point, I totally agree with you. I just feel like the mac faithful sometimes try to pretend their OS of choice is completely without fault in every way which is just simply impossible given that it was created by humans, humans in turtle necks.


Erik says:

August 14, 2008 at 8:45 pm

Im running vista 64bit and the photoshop cs4 beta. i love it! deadstable under extremely heavy load. I just couldnt do without all the small tweaks and improvements vista has over xp.


Scott says:

August 14, 2008 at 10:43 pm

great work at your site…. I am surprised about your vista experience. I have an install of vista64 business with the CS4 beta on it (latest build) and it’s a mess.. much slower and very crash prone. I really wish I could get it running stable, what sort of hardware are you using? and of course, what size files are you working with? are we talking web or full size print with lots of layers and all that….?

don’t know much about it other than the random stuff I’ve read on engadget. seems way underpowered for the sort of stuff I am trying to do, more of an internet / email mobility device.


Horacio says:

August 15, 2008 at 10:33 am

I still have SP2 and ps CS3 works great. I knew that it was a SP3, but I thought it was not very useful. No problem with SP2, so why upgrade?

By the way, nice windows 3.1 box ;)


MK says:

August 18, 2008 at 9:20 am

SP3 had some issues with my HP AMD that got fixed a while ago. Photoshop and the entire CS3 suite is working fine on my end.


GhostintheToast says:

August 18, 2008 at 9:47 am

It’s always a crapshoot wether M$ products will work, even together! I’ve been lucky running a trimmed down ‘performance’ edition of SP3 that seems to play well with PS and Lightroom.

I wish I could say the same about the Zune I just bought my wife for her birthday! Looks pretty, it just doesn’t actually WORK! I get an ultra-helpful ‘error #5’ displayed on the screen and the Zune software can’t even see the player. I refuse to truobleshoot an mp3 player by hacking away at my computer’s registry just to get it recognized. It’s headed back to newegg for an iPod!


Chris Hahn says:

August 18, 2008 at 11:03 pm

Yeah, same experience here, on 4 different machines. PS crashing, audio and video stuttering. I’ve done NLite wipes on 2 of them, rolling back to SP2 and so far no problems. It’s funny I didn’t even think of Sp3 being a suspect since it seems to be only affecting media programs. Good call.


vlad says:

August 18, 2008 at 11:14 pm

Oh don’t you just love how much work you have to do just to do an update on Window$? I love it, that’s why I use Mac. =)


Hugo Mendes says:

August 20, 2008 at 2:19 am

Hi Scott.

Just finished a *fresh* install of XP Corporate SP3 (Not from Windows Update).

All CS3 Suite is working fine. No issues.


D says:

September 12, 2008 at 2:34 am

why oh why did they do this! Not everyone is a teccie or has teccie help available. I’d just got cs3 running well and now it’s hanging, it’s taken an hour to do 2 things. If I had the money I’d get a mac!