Windows XP SP3 Adds 10% Performance Boost, Tests Show - InformationWeek
Software // Operating Systems
09:54 AM

Windows XP SP3 Adds 10% Performance Boost, Tests Show

Researchers said Windows XP Service Pack 3 delivers a measurable performance boost when compared with Windows XP with Service Pack 2.

Windows XP runs some applications up to 10% faster with the latest service pack installed, a research firm has found.

"We were pleasantly surprised to discover that Windows XP Service Pack 3 (v.3244) delivers a measurable performance boost to this aging desktop OS," wrote staff at, in a blog post.

The researchers found that a PC loaded with Microsoft's XP SP3 completed the OfficeBench test suite in less than 50 seconds. A similarly configured system running Windows XP with Service Pack 2 took more than 50 seconds to complete the test suite -- which measures how quickly a computer can perform common tasks in Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Excel.

"Since SP3 was supposed to be mostly a bug-fix/patch consolidation release ... the unexpected speed boost comes as a nice bonus," the researchers wrote.

They added that XP SP3's slick performance may lead some computer users to forgo Windows Vista. found that with the new service pack, XP is now two times faster than the newer Microsoft OS.

The tests were conducted late last year on a prerelease build of XP SP3. So it's possible the final version is even faster.

It's not all four-star reviews for the service pack, however.

Within hours of its general release last week, Windows XP SP3 began drawing hundreds of complaints from users who claim the update is wreaking havoc on their PCs.

The problems with XP SP3, according to posters on Microsoft's Windows XP message board, range from spontaneous reboots to outright system crashes.

"My external disks are having trouble starting up, which results in Windows not starting up," complained user Michael Faklis, in a post Wednesday. "After three attempts [to install XP SP3] with different configurations each time, System Restore was the only way to get me out of deep s**t," said Doug W.

Another user said the service pack prevented him from starting his computer. "I downloaded and installed Windows XP Service Pack 3 Network Installation Package for IT Professionals," wrote Paul. "Now I can't get the computer to boot."

Dozens of other posters reported similar problems.

It's not uncommon for major operating system updates to cause problems. Typically, the glitches are caused by conflicts with software, such as drivers, system files, or applications, already resident on the user's PC. Microsoft has yet to indicate whether it will issue an update to address some of the problems, though it has done so with previous updates.

Microsoft released Windows XP SP3 to broad distribution on Wednesday. It's available from Microsoft's automated Windows Update service or as a file that can be pulled from the Download Center on the company's Web site.

The service pack should offer a number of enhancements over the current version of the OS, which Microsoft is phasing out after June 30. It includes all updates issued since Windows XP Service Pack 2 was released in 2004 and some new elements.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
To learn more about what organizations are doing to tackle attacks and threats we surveyed a group of 300 IT and infosec professionals to find out what their biggest IT security challenges are and what they're doing to defend against today's threats. Download the report to see what they're saying.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
Digital Transformation Myths & Truths
Transformation is on every IT organization's to-do list, but effectively transforming IT means a major shift in technology as well as business models and culture. In this IT Trend Report, we examine some of the misconceptions of digital transformation and look at steps you can take to succeed technically and culturally.
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Flash Poll