For those of you who haven’t already heard, Microsoft has unleashed the Second Release Candidate version of Service Pack 2 for Windows XP. This means that the final release is probably not too far off in the future. I believe Microsoft is still saying the final will be released at the end of July.
Neil of Neil’s World has already downloaded and installed this new version so he could test it out and see what’s new which, as it turns out, isn’t much.
- The startup screen that is shown while Windows is loading (before the GUI appears) has changed – it now just displays “Microsoft Windows XP”, instead of having “Home Editon” (in my case) suffixed onto it. It also no longer mentions the years that it is copyrighted, probably because it only goes up to 2001 (yes, Windows XP is not far off 3 years old).
- The new Wireless Network Setup Wizard now has its own control panel icon, along with its wired equivalent.
- The popup blocker in IE makes a different sound when a popup is blocked – before it would make the same sound that a system notification would make.
Yep, that’s it, at least from what I can tell. I imagine though that there are many bugfixes for this release though. You also have to remember that these are release candidates so major changes at this stage are unlikely anyway.
Neil did a great write up back in March on the first Release Candidate that I highly recommend you read if you want to find out more about what changes this will bring to Windows XP. I started the install of SP2 RC2 before leaving for work this morning so I’ll probably post some impressions of it a little later on after I’ve had a chance to play with it. One bit of advice for others considering installing it: If you’re a customization freak like me and have edited your system to use a custom logon screen (via StyleXP, RandomLoginUIBoot or other similar tools) you’ll want to set your logon back to the Windows XP standard or SP2 won’t install.
Most folks will probably want to wait until the final release before installing SP2, but you should definitely install it once the time comes if nothing else for the bug fixes it’ll bring with it.