Fortunately, by the time you read this, in mid-October, those updating single PCs running Windows XP Home, Professional, Media Center Edition, or the Tablet PC version will instead be able to download a much smaller and specific consumer update file of around 120MB from the Windows Update pages (https://windowsupdate.microsoft.com).
You may also find a few other applications that behave differently or stop working correctly after installing SP2 — Microsoft even provide Knowledge Base articles 884142, each containing a list of known applications with such problems.
If you're thinking of taking the plunge, do check through these lists first.
Nero Burning ROM and Nero 6 Ultra are both affected, as is AOL 9.0, Pinnacle's Studio 9 and Instant CD/DVD 7, plenty of games, various firewalls and virus checkers, and even a selection of Microsoft's own applications, including Office and Word XP.
Some users have reported greatly increased use of RAM with SP2, compared to SP1, presumably to run the extra security features, with the result that a PC with 512MB of RAM ran more slowly, although I didn't notice any increase in RAM use on my 1GB PC.
Back in PC Notes March 2004, I mentioned that Microsoft had released a Beta version of the Windows XP SP2 (Service Pack 2) to their registered Beta testers.
As I write this, the final version is available in its full-blown IT Professional and Developers version — although, at 266MB, it won't be a popular download for those with 56k modems.
More remarkable is that Microsoft themselves are apparently going to offer a totally free CD-ROM version to anyone who requests it.
So, remembering some of the problems that musicians have had in the past after installing Direct X updates, what does the Windows XP SP2 update contain that's actually of interest to musicians, and is it worth your while installing it?
Well, SP2 includes a host of tweaks and bug fixes (if you would like to, you can read the full list at https://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?