Sometimes I think I am a masochist. I just finished installing a volume license of Windows XP Pro with slipstreamed Service Pack 2 on it onto a computer for which I only had to supply a Video driver. All of the relevant drivers are part of the operating system install or the slipstreamed Service Pack 2. The system is similar to a number of computers we are still using for our field equipment. I installed the proper video driver and rebooted. Everything was verified to work properly. Please remember that this is a virgin system that has had NO other application software installed, no virus scanners, graphics editing packages, no compilers etc. etc. It isn't even attached to a Domain. In other words, we're talking a system that has absolutely nothing installed on it except what Microsoft would call the baseline Windows XP Pro SP2 operating system image.
The particular volume license CDROM with SP2 on it I used has been successfully installed dozens of times on various computers in the office. It will likely be the operating system install base for our new remotely managed field computer images. The Service Pack 2 release date was in December 2007. (Yeah I bet ya didn't know that the publish date was important did ya?)
Something I spotted back in Windows NT 4.0 days. Service packs get modified or re-compiled and re-released usually without hardly anybody being the wiser. NT 4.0 SP6a was a notable exception. When I noticed that years ago, I decided back then that "from now on I would only install Service Packs from the complete downloaded package." I would "Never do an on-line install", no, nien nyet etc. Not from an online connection that could be filled with disastrous outcomes if enough of the wrong bits got flipped during transmission from the Redmond mothership to the computer in front of me.
Now for the masochistic part. I have attempted to install SP3, (after downloading the ISO and burning it to CD AND verifying that the image was complete) on 2 previous systems with resounding failures.
One system had a slip-streamed SP2 volume licensed image installed on it. The other had a Microsoft SP2 CD originated image for a DELL cpu. Neither one would work properly once SP3 installed. For try number 3, I did it the way I swore I would never do again, I did a hot-on-line-through Windows Update install.
It downloaded all of the high priority package(s). Attempted to install about 20 plus packages along with SP3. Couldn't install any of them. Couldn't tell me why nothing could be installed. Knowledge Base had NO info about SP3, errors during installation, why individual files could not be installed etc.
So I went and did the digital equivalent of dumpster diving and I dug around looking for SP2 packages. Turns out I have 3. One was dated 12/14/2007. One was dated 1/26/2005. The third one I'm going to need to look at when I get into the office but I'll bet you a dozen donuts it won't match either of the other 2. Wonder which version of SP2 the idiots that did the regression testing (assuming they did some, hard to tell from my standpoint) actually tested SP3 against?
My bet is on the SP2 version BEFORE 2007 simply because all of the 99plus patches you have to install instead of SP3 are dated from January 2007 to April or so 2008. Assuming that what Microsoft says is the truth (hmm) then I've got something on my testbox with SP2+ that's only missing some few new features.
Hey Microsoft! Pull that dog off the rack and send it back to be re-worked! SP3 as far as I'm concerned is trash.
If you can't get a Service Pack to work right for a software product that is supposedly at least 7 years old, how are we to believe that you can do it right with Vista? Why should we trust you?
That is why Open Source will eventually win. If you've got a problem that is causing you issues and you're not big enough (10,000+ license say) to get the Gorilla's attention, then at least you can get the source code and fix it!