Microsoft, I admit defeat. I'm giving up on trying to install Service Pack 3. You guys won. I will NOT however recommend to management that we need to go to Vista. You can take that to the bank.
Worker droid status in the Zombie armies of the Internet is the ultimate fate of all of the 500 to 600 desktop Windows XP computers we use in the oilfield rental fleet. Be prepared to be spam and Trojan targeted all of you other Internet travelers. My overload refuses to buy seats of Anti-virus or any other Anti-malware software for use on the rental systems due to cost.
It should not require all of the effort I and others in the company have had to expend to make a volume license image of XP Pro work with SP3. The latest defeat is on the system that surprised me by installing SP3 without any hiccups or complaints and started running. I left this Sick Puppy running and connected to the Internet indirectly through 3 layers of routers, an external corporate firewall and one internal one. So yes it was running Windows Update, set to download, notify but not auto-install the updates.
I came into work. Checked on Sick Puppy and he had a security update for Net 1.1 set for install and another one seemingly generic to XP. Yes I should have noted the KB numbers to report here but really, why bother? I have had more trouble with Sick Puppy than I like to admit and I know its only a matter of time before another broken piece of software labeled as a "security patch" will be downloaded and not install properly.
So I've given up. To build the image we will deploy into the rental fleet, we'll take our XP SP1 volume license image with the slip-streamed SP2 files on it and update that with the required 99+ "security patches". That image will get Ghosted and will become the basis for image renewals when the desktop systems come in for maintenance. The system I've designed and have been writing the software for will do the entire process automated to the extent that we can hire monkeys to do the work of re-imaging computers, a requirement not only in our industry but hundreds, maybe thousands of others.
Computers used in the oilfield, particularly rental machines, are NOT treated nice. So when they've been out hopefully making money for our company on a daily rental basis, they get treated about as well as a Guantanamo Bay inmate. Some of them (the special purpose drill-floor computers) even get "waterboarded", power washed with a pressurized firehose even though we tell them it will cost them 20 to 30,000 dollars to pay for a damaged machine.
When these poor, unfortunate digital drones come back to the field offices to be refreshed for their next work stint, they get their hard drive wiped and re-imaged with a hopefully functional OS image with our company's proprietary application software. Hence the need for a volume licensed image that basically replaces the OEM image on the systems we bought from our neighbors in Round Rock. We run some tests on the system to verify it still works and then it gets installed on the next job site.
I considered SP3 as a way to save time in the image creation stage but whatever time savings is long gone and lost. It didn't used to be that way. Installing a Service Pack was a safe and tested way to bring a basic imaged system up to a known specification on security patches. I can't trust Service Packs from Microsoft any more and that's really sad.
Our new application software was written in Java and it runs just fine on Linux. All I needed was an excuse and now I have it. We probably won't wait for Windows 7. We weren't going to use Vista for damn sure.