As I write this on my Linux-based Asus Eee PC netbook, I am installing Windows XP Service Pack 3 on my Dell Inspiron 8600 notebook. I’m doing this as a preliminary step to installing the new Internet Explorer 8, which was released this week.
For now, IE8 is wisely not being pushed out via Windows Updates. Microsoft learned from their experience pushing IE7 too early.
Why am I installing XP SP3 before installing IE8? Several reasons.
First, it’s probably the smartest thing to do. It’s the "current version" of Windows XP. Although Microsoft has not stopped supporting XP SP2 (as they have for XP SP1 and XP without any Service Pack), it probably won’t be long before that happens.
Second, after installing IE8, the XP SP3 upgrade might (in my opinion, probably would) fail because newer versions of certain files would be there &mdash if it worked, it would probably overwrite some of the IE8 files and break IE8.
Unfortunately, my initial install of Internet Explorer 8 was less than a success. So, I decided that now was the time to solve the XP SP3 issue and then install Internet Explorer 8.
If you are unable to install XP SP3 and get either an error message "Access is denied" or "Service Pack installation did not complete," Microsoft’s first suggestion is to download Service Pack 3 instead of trying to install it via Windows Updates. I did that before, but it didn’t solve the problem.
How big a problem is it? XP SP3 takes about 25 minutes to hit the "Access is denied" error on my notebook. Then, it takes another 10-15 minutes to reverse the changes that were made and to reboot.
Microsoft’s second solution is to close or disable any antivirus or antispyware program that may be running. Since I had done this previously, I decided actually to uninstall my antivirus+antispyware program (Sunbelt VIPRE) and also Sunbelt Personal Firewall, just in case, to see it that would enable the installation to work. It didn’t. They weren’t the problem.
By the way, this was relatively safe to do since I’ve got a cable Internet connection and use a router, and since I did not do any other web surfing, email or other activities while the firewall, antivirus and antispyware were uninstalled. If I didn’t have a router, I would want to disconnect from the Internet until the antivirus+antispyware and firewall were reinstalled.
So, I went back to Google to search for the error message. I looked for
Windows XP SP3 "Access denied"
and found the Microsoft KnowledgeBase (KB) article 949377 which gives the recommended steps to solve the problem.
The third suggestion is called "Method 1: Reset the registry and file permissions." This step took 20-30 minutes and changed over 70,000 entries in the Windows Registry. But, it also solved the problem!
The next time I tried to install XP Service Pack 3, it installed successfully. I rebooted and quickly followed that by installing Internet Explorer 8.
My final step was to reinstall Sunbelt VIPRE Antivirus+Antispyware and Sunbelt Personal Firewall.
Read my articles in this week’s online issue to see what I thought of Internet Explorer 8…