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Service Packs for 2003


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I remember reading on these forums quite a while ago about advise to not instal SP1 on 2003 if you're using it as a workstation, however, lately I've been considering it as SP2 is now out. I've done a bit of searching on the forum but I don't find any topic which address this issue.

Is it wise to install SP1 & SP2 on 2003 if I'm using it as a workstation? Is there anything I might need to worry about assuming it is okay to do so?

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As to the question about choosing RTM over SP1/SP2, I can see no compelling reason to stick with RTM. The primary reasons I have seen people cite for sticking with RTM generally has to do with DirectX issues, primarily with applications detecting strange DirectX versions as being installed ( i.e. Nvidia drivers report DirectX3, etc. ). Unfortunately the largest majority of posts I have seen regarding the DirectX issue do not seem to understand why this problem occurs, and provide strange methods for resolving it ( i.e. Mixing versions of DirectX 9.0b and 9.0c installation files together to reinstall ).

Without going into too much detail, the problem results from the fact that while SP1+ updates Windows 2003's DirectX version, it also removes DirectMusic entirely ( likely for security reasons ). This will cause a number of old applications/games to complain, while others that do no use this functionality will work as intended. The fix is rediculously simple, requiring you to copy the 9 missing DLL's, along with adding a few registry entires, all of which can be taken from either the existing DirectX installers, or from a previously running copy of Windows XP x64 Edition.

The only other problems to note with SP1+, is much like Windows XP SP2, the additional features such as DEP, Firewall, etc. can cause some compatibility problems, but there are numerous resources available that describe how to resolve such issues.

As for the ideal of using Windows 2003 as a workstation in general, it really depends on what your needs are, but you should be aware that a number of applications ( Defragmenters, Antivirus, etc. ) will only allow you to install "server" versions of the products, and a number of other software installations will refuse to install based on the Windows version. Unless you have some specific need for functionality in Windows 2003, and a large sum of $$$ to pay for a server license, you are unlikely to see a *huge* difference between it and the workstation counterparts.

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