Aside from potential application compatibility issues, the real surprise with Microsoft Windows XP SP2 is all the mayhem that can occur when it is downloaded onto a system.
CRN engineers recently evaluated a release candidate version of SP2 (RC2). The pack installs just like any patch, update or service pack. However, upon completion of the install on three out of five systems, the machines blue-screened. A message stated that "winserv" was missing. The blue screen occurred on both an AMD and an Intel platform.
Microsoft provided instructions on how to work around the blue screen and uninstall SP2, but did not respond to questions on what causes the blue screen or which specific systems may be affected. CRN followed Microsoft's instructions to boot into the recovery console and then into the %windir%\$NtServicePackUninstall$\spuninst folder.
Once in the folder, engineers had to rename "spuninst.txt" to "spuninst.bat." Next, the batch command "batch spuninst.bat" had to be executed. After that was done, the command let engineers boot back into Windows.
Once back in the operating system, CRN engineers opened the registry, and set HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\ RpcSs\ObjectName to "LocalSystem." Then, engineers executed the %windir%\$NtServicePackUninstall$\spuninst\spuninst.exe.
The instructions uninstalled every device that existed in the PC, including network cards, video card and all system resources. Upon a reboot, the PC recovered all the uninstalled items, except the Matrox Millennium P650 graphics card. The only way to fix the problem was to go to Matrox's Web site and download drivers from the support page.
The rollback also completely removed SP1.
The smoke around the campfire is that SP2 will force a redesign of antivirus suites, e-mail clients and firewalls. CRN engineers installed SP2 on systems with utilities including Panda Software, Trend Micro, Symantec and Avast! antivirus software; all worked seamlessly with SP2.