Boost your XP SP3


5 Aug 2011
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It is a sad time for Microsoft. Vista hasn't been the success it was supposed to be, and with the lifecycle of XP coming to an end, there is an urgency at Redmond to produce something bigger and better, to keep Open Source operating systems like Ubuntu at bay.

Ever since Service Pack 3 for the XP operating system came out, there have been plenty of reported problems associated with it. Moreover, important features like the DirectX 10 graphics interface are exclusive to Vista. Despite these signs pushing you towards the newer OS, don’t think that it is absolutely necessary to discard XP with SP3 and switch over to Vista. If you do not wish to, use our tools and tweaks to extend Vista functions in XP and rectify the existing errors.

Updating with ease

Service Pack 3 comes with a proverbial flashing red button which, if touched, invites danger. Every Windows Update will now sneak in some software on PCs and ensure that users will suffer from headaches. Approximately 38 percent of the participants of an online survey have reported massive problems. They range from ‘XP no longer starts’ (16.86 percent) to ‘Error messages for license problems’ (6.13 percent).

If sporadic errors occur on your computer, visit the following blog for information: Ironically, it is a blog by an ex-Microsoft employee who defected to Amazon a few years ago. Jesper Johannson offers solutions for the most important problems in SP3.

OEMs and AMD Compatibility

Many PC manufacturers, amongst them HP, install their Windows OEM based OS on the perception that this has been manufactured using the Microsoft System Preparation Tool. At the same time, drivers for AMD and Intel systems are copied on the target computer. The IntelPPM driver is automatically activated and crashes AMD PCs. First try to boot the PC in the safe mode. After that start the script ‘removeIntelPPMonAMD.vbs’ from the CHIP DVD with next month’s issue. It's also available on Jesper's blog. It checks whether an AMD CPU exists and then disables the Intel driver. If you cannot boot your computer in the safe mode, boot it using the Windows Setup DVD and call the restore console with [R].

Enter the following command:

disable intelppm

However, if you do not have access to the restore console, which is the case with some OEM versions, then there is only one way to proceed and that is reinstallation.

Log file shows errors

If XP has been damaged to a large extent, take a look at the Update log
file. Use Notepad to open the following file in the Windows folder ‘WindowsUpdate.log’.

You can identify these entries by date and time. Open the new text in Notepad or Word and sift through it using the ‘Edit | Find’ command to find the words ‘Fatal’ and ‘Warning’. Enter the error description like ‘Failed to synchronize, error = 0x8024000b’ in the search line on You will get some support or a patch. For more info and helpful tips for reading the Windows Update.log file, visit


Owners of Asus A8N32-SLI Deluxe motherboards were flabbergasted after installing SP3. Their computers restarted without any reason or displayed errors with messages like ‘STOP: 0x000000A5’. This error is caused due to an obsolete BIOS version. Their Advanced Configuration and Power interface (ACPI) is not compatible with SP3 and causes problems with drive management. Connecting another drive will solve this problem. Simply insert a USB stick and use it as a replaceable drive. If XP runs stable once again, update your BIOS from the motherboard manufacturer's website.

Is SP3 a malware?

Many worms delete Registry entries or write absurd information there. And SP3 does the same. The result is that the device manager no longer shows any devices, network connections fail, and thousands of new keys starting with ‘$%&‘()*+,-‘ are dumped in the Registry. It's no wonder that security programs classify SP3 as hazardous malware. In fact Norton Internet Security 2008 immediately tries to remove SP3. In the CHIP forum, we have also found instructions regarding products by Kaspersky and Trend Micro. A remedy is provided by the patch that you can find on the Microsoft website using the search string ‘KB953979’. Symantec also offers a patch to its customers. Ask the manufacturer for the file ‘SymRegFix.exe’ if you face similar problems.

WGA tests

According to Alex Kochis, Senior Product Manager at Microsoft, erroneous test codes were copied on to the Windows activation server that checks the authenticity of XP Professional online. The server could then no longer differentiate between legal and pirated copies of Windows. Even genuine customers can see only a black desktop and the prompt to buy a licensed Windows copy at the earliest.

In the meantime, the defective codes were removed. Users with a black Windows desktop should visit the website and click on ‘Validate Windows’. The authenticity check will then be re-conducted and Windows will be unlocked. If this does not help even if you have procured a licensed Windows copy, visit Here you can see tips for troubleshooting and get technical support for the Windows Genuine Advantage program. We recommend not using dubious WGA deletion tools available on the Internet, since, without the authenticity check, you cannot download many updates like Windows Media Player 11 for XP from the Microsoft site.

The Vista bluff

Lack of support, crashes and false positives in the authenticity check are making the lives of XP users difficult. But still, few users see Vista as an upgrade to XP. After mulling over this for some time, Microsoft came up with a plan that will certainly go down in history: the Mojave bluff.

The strategy started with a survey. Microsoft searched for customers who use Windows XP and have never worked with or have strong reservations against Vista. Eligible customers, approximately 70 in number, were then invited to San Francisco, where they were supposed to evaluate a strictly confidential and new Windows version. This operating system, codenamed ‘Mojave’, supposedly considered all wishes of XP users and, at the same time, had none of the disadvantages that are observed in Vista. Test customers thought that the new Mojave was amazing, until Microsoft told them the truth: the super Windows was a boringly normal Vista from which all revealing logos were removed.

Freeware XP

Windows XP's retail sales officially stopped least year, and even support will not be provided through updates after 2014. Of course, Microsoft still needs to sell Vista now, and not after a few years. Plus, under the Microsoft Piracy agreement, at, the company has made it public that they might issue an update that will remove the need to contact an activation server at the same time. Users can then use XP without activation. So does this mean that XP will be freeware? Yes! From April 8, 2014, you might actually be able to use XP without activation. But the sad part about this is that users will not necessarily benefit from this, since the best features will be available exclusively in Vista and not in XP. A prime example of this is DirectX 10.

DirectX 10

The DX10 graphics framework is indeed available only in Vista. Microsoft has persistently refused to offer this feature in XP. If you want to play modern 3D games such as ‘Crysis’ with all the graphical effects enabled, you must buy Vista—or procure a pirated Russian version.

If you Google ‘dx10_xp.exe’, you can access an unofficial version of DirectX that you can download from Win Future ( It is a RAR archive that can be unzipped on your PC. It contains an installation file that executes all the steps automatically. DLL files that are normally included in a Vista installation are copied into the Windows directory. The DxDiag diagnosis tool has actually authenticated an existing DirectX 10 installation.

We procured the demo version of the Crysis first-person shooter for testing. Only DirectX 10 can be used to select the setting ‘Options | System Settings | Advanced | Change all Settings to | Very High’. However, this was possible only with a new graphics card that supports DirectX 10, such as ATI’s Radeon HD2000 onwards or Nvidia's GeForce 8000 series onwards.

Keep in mind that the manipulated version of DirectX that originally stems from Russia is however not yet fully developed. In Windows XP, games therefore run considerably slower than on an equivalent Vista computer.
Warning: Try these at your own risk!

Turn XP into Vista

You can easily and quickly emulate other Vista features in XP. Transformation packs and feature updates can be downloaded from the Internet. The advantage is that you can add some of Vista's neat effects without affecting your underlying XP installation.

For conversion, you will need the following tools from the web: ViOrb for Vista Start button, TrueTransparency for the Aero Glass window effect (, ViStart for the Vista Start menu, Visual Tooltip for a small preview window in the taskbar, WinFlip for the 3D window effect, Aurora XP for the desktop background (, and Desktop Sidebar for the sidebar and widgets. You can adjust the Aero effect through ‘Sidebar| Options | Display | Download more skins’. Enter ‘Aero’ on the manufacturer’s site, download, double-click it and that’s it.

Other applications to convert XP into Vista include XPScene, which adds the Vista Ultimate Extra Dreamscene. You can then use high-resolution animated films that are available on as your desktop background.

TrueCrypt allows another Ultimate Extra Edition to operate in XP: the hard disk encryption BitLocker. AveDesk allocates pictograms to specific functions. This is actually an Apple OS X feature, but impressively shows that not only can XP simulate Vista, but also surpass it by miles.

If you want to transform XP completely into Vista, first ensure that SP2, IE 7 and Media Player 11 are installed. You can download these from the Microsoft website ( If possible, also download Windows Defender, Windows Mail and Windows Live photo gallery.

If everything is ready, install all the Vista transformation programs mentioned in this article. Once the installation processes are completed and you restart your PC, you will need to do some fine-tuning. In ‘Welcome Center’, click on ‘Configure User Account | Apply Current Configuration’. Now you can select the ‘Windows Aero’ style in the ‘Display Properties’ window. After restarting the PC, close ‘Welcome Center’ and install AuroraXP. Use ‘Start | Run’ to open the ‘msconfig’ utility and enable the ‘NOGUIBOOT’ option in the ‘Boot.ini’ tab. Now install Visual Tooltip and, if required, change the size of the preview window. You can replace the ‘Windows Sidebar’ with the ‘Desktop Sidebar’ if you like.

If you want and still have enough computing power, then, install other enhancements like WinFlip for the 3D effect or Windows Search for XP that provides the considerably quicker and more efficient search function of Vista in Windows XP.

Source : Chip Magazine.
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