Service Pack 2 (SP2) for Windows XP is a recommended upgrade that fixes many issues (mainly security related). It includes all of the Critical Updates that have been issued since Windows XP was released, which should simplify new installations as well as reinstallations.
This thread will help you decide if you should get SP2, how to prepare for it, and some things to expect if you do.
First, make sure you meet the system requirements:
At least a 233MHz processor
At least 64MB of RAM (256MB is more realistic)
At least 1.8GB of free hard disk space (SP2 is about 75MB, but apparently needs 1.8GB to install)
And you must be using one of these Operating Systems:
Windows XP Home
Windows XP Professional
Windows XP Media Center Edition
Windows XP Tablet PC Edition
NOT for Windows XP 64-bit version
Once you are sure you meet these requirements, go to this link for a list of known conflicts with SP2:
If you are using any of the programs with conflicts, you need to decide if you want to go ahead and deal with any problems, remove the conflicting programs, or wait for patches to come out before installing SP2.
Once you have decided to upgrade to SP2, there are two options:
1.) Download, which, due to its 75MB size, will take awhile, even with DSL or cable.
-- Click on Start and look for Windows Update near the top of the list or;
-- Go to www.microsoft.com and search for the SP2 update or;
-- Turn on Automatic Update by going to the Control Panel, double-click System, click on the Automatic Update tab, check the box next to "Keep my computer up to date."
2.) Request a CD from Microsoft at:
Of course, this means waiting for delivery by snail-mail, but installation will be much quicker and you’ll have it if you ever need to reinstall Windows XP. Also, if you have dial-up, you won’t keep your line tied up for hours or have to worry about being disconnected (not that that ever happens, right?).