More snags in Windows XP Service Pack 2

The PC World Test Center staff have discovered two bugs involving Windows XP's Service Pack 2. One can reduce the write speed of many dual-layer DVD drives. The other can decrease the battery life on some Acer laptops by an hour.

Staffers were testing dual-layer DVD drives when they found that InCD4 DVD-burning software, by Nero AG (formerly Ahead Software AG), performed up to 40 percent slower than competing applications (such as Roxio Inc.'s Drag-to-Disc) on systems running SP2. InCD4 ships with many drives, including those from Lite-On Technology, Plextor, and Sony.

Nero developers say that the glitch is due to a cache problem in SP2 and affects InCD prior to release 4.3.7.3. To check your version, open the program and select About. If your app is affected, get the InCD Update-Package 3. The fix bypasses SP2's cache management problem.

Microsoft is working on a hotfix that wasn't yet available at press time.

Battery drain

The test center staff ran across another SP2-related problem while testing Acer Travelmate 3200 notebooks. The systems running XP SP1 provided up to nearly 4 hours of battery life, while laptops with SP2 ran about an hour less. (The lab didn't encounter this issue on models from other manufacturers.)

After swapping laptops and batteries, checking Acer Inc.'s power-management settings, and reloading SP2, the only common element our lab analysts could find was that the notebooks with SP2 were those with shorter battery life.

In Acer's own, different tests, the company's results didn't match PC World's findings. Microsoft says it has heard nothing about battery problems under SP2.

Stop Windows firewall data leaks

In December, I told you about a security flaw in SP2 that our sibling publication, PC Welt, had found. The problem involves the scope of what SP2's Windows Firewall considers safe territory when using a dial-up connection. That is, even though you have the firewall turned on by default, it may still be letting everything in as exceptions to the rules because of how the firewall is configured.

Microsoft has now released an update for SP2 that reconfigures the troublesome firewall settings and restores the safety of your files. However, the company has not publicized the update--it simply made the fix available on the Windows Update site without any formal announcement. For a problem that's potentially as important as this one, Microsoft's security team should make a lot of noise when it ships a patch. Many users don't blindly trust automatic updates. So if they don't know about a new one, chances are they won't get it.

SP2 patch for fireWire glitch

Microsoft has recently released a fix for the way Windows XP Service Pack 2 handles FireWire connections. The SP2 glitch could radically reduce the download speed of devices (such as digital video cameras) connected to a PC via FireWire. You can get the patch at http://support.microsoft.com/kb/885222.

Security fix for Opera browser

Bug hunter Andreas Sandblad recently found a security hole in the Opera browser that could let a malicious cracker disguise an attack program (say, an .exe file) under a fake, safe-sounding file name (using a .pdf extension for a purported Acrobat file, say) in the download dialog box, thus tricking victims into downloading it. Versions 7.54 and earlier are vulnerable. For more information and to download the updated Opera 7.54u1, go to http://www.opera.com/support/search/supsearch.dml?index=782.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Show Comments

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?