Windows XP/Windows SP3


QUESTION: I just bought a new Canon printer and it is refusing to load the program from it's disc because my XP system lacks SP3.  Wonderful Microsoft refuses to download it and keeps trying to sell me Windows 8 which I hate. Is there a reliable place I can download this without entailing a bunch of grief along with it?

ANSWER: Hi Clem,

Yes there is a place where you can still download Service Pack 3 (XP Update Pack) – direct from Microsoft - so you don't have to worry about it being from a more questionable location! It can be downloaded at their Download Centre, here:

Many of the utilities and downloader/updaters built into Windows XP may not be functioning anymore, or refuse to get it 'automatically'; but thankfully, many of the Updates and other utilities that have to do with XP, are still available – you may just have to get everything 'manually'.

I should add (just to be cautious), the suggestion to be sure to use and update a good Anti Virus program and keep it updated (if it is a 'free' version, you may have to update it manually), as even SP3 does not have the latest protections against attempts at gaining unauthorized access to your system.

[If I may add to that, on a personal note:

I have only recently begun to use Windows 8 myself (and was a Tester for Windows 10) and if I may say, as another whom did not like the changes in 8: I am impressed (once I got past the differences) with Windows 10 and even 8 (version 8.1, the update). If a person really wants, they can barely ever use the 'Tiles' (which, personally, I do not prefer to utilize). Microsoft, listening to customers, added a Start Menu into Windows 8 (as well as other updates that 'bring back' many of the older functions and styles) – and the Start Menu in Windows 10 looks even more like the 'typical' Start Menu from Windows 7 and XP (the one in Windows 8 takes up the entire screen and uses Tiles, but the one in Windows 10 is back to a nice smaller column, as XP and 7 had). There are differences in 10 of course, but they did try to keep many things the same, such as the Control Panel (a user does not 'have' to use the newer 'Settings Panel') and other actions can all be performed the same way (logging in, installing and uninstalling programs, etc).

Initially, I did not like either 7 nor 8 when each was released, but after seeing where 10 is heading, I can faithfully suggest to others now, that if they didn't like the changes in 7 (and especially 8) - 10 is a good attempt at 'getting back to roots of Windows of the past' – and I can wholeheartedly encourage others to try it (if they wish).

I add the above as well, out of concern for others and their defenses against ne'er-do-wells, defenses which are decreasing slowly over time as 7 and XP is updated less and less. I do not work for Microsoft, nor do I get any recompense from them in any respect – I do appreciate however, the automated updates and Security Patches they do (if one stays along with the recent versions, unfortunately for the bill-fold). I do state it once in a while though, if I may (that one consider skipping 8 and trying 10 eventually), so I can worry a little less about my unmet friends...]

Regardless of your choice to change Windows versions eventually or not (you definitely don't have to) - I hope that the above helps with your Printer, Clem – good luck with it!

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you that worked.  Don't understand why this is available  by this route from Microsoft when they are refusing to support XP for ordinary users.  Pretty crappy. Curious why some downloads refuse to run from the sit but rather require you to save them and then go to programs on search to get them to run.  There are a bunch of them in there and I am wondering if it would be of any benefit to delete them all after getting them to run?

Hello again Clem,

You're most welcome, I'm glad it worked for you!

I'm sorry, I haven't updated my XP machine in some time, so I am not familiar with the situation you describe (about some programs running automatically and some not); but perhaps some Updates/Patches were created before the 'cut off date' and run in a more automated way, and those that were created more recently/after have to be run manually. This is just a guess, however.

I have a guess for the second part you asked, as well: perhaps these utilities and files may still be available online, to support machines at companies that still have XP systems running (they just removed the 'automation' of it all).

As to your Follow-Up Question:

If you are asking about the .EXE or other packaged files that are downloaded from the Microsoft website - yes, they are fine to delete after installing them - for the most part, they actually 'extract' a bunch of compressed files from within to a temporary location, running the actual installation from there. Usually, they remove these temporary installation files, but sometimes they are left behind, in case the program needs to Repair itself or use the files again. This means that the .EXE ("Executable") 'package' that is downloaded initially can definitely be deleted.

You don't 'have to' delete them of course, in fact, it may save you time in the future, should you need to re-install something (especially if you ever Reinstall Windows entirely, or purchase a new system (in this case, maybe back up the files onto discs or an external drive of some sort); but other than disk space, there really is no huge benefit to deleting them. If you would like to clean up your files a bit, or are in need of the space they are taking up; by all means go ahead, there is no harm to deleting them either.

I hope that helps, Clem. Feel free to ask more Questions, anytime!


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Troy M. MCSE, CNA, MCP, CST, IC3, Aplus


Hi there! Even though I am relatively new around here, I have been having great fun with PCs for over two decades now, becoming familiar with Windows through versions 3.x/9x/Me/2000/XP/2003/7/8/10. I enjoy helping others with what I feel is an exciting industry - computers are always changing, improving and offering new opportunities for learning. I look forward to assisting you with questions concerning Windows, how it interacts with your PC Hardware, configuration/settings or just general tips and ideas. Besides troubleshooting questions, feel free to ask the basics, as well. I will always start there, and I firmly believe that there is no such thing as a dumb question - we are all ‘Beginners’ at one time or another!


I am an A+ Certified, Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer with Computer Service Technician and LAN Administration diplomas and over 15 years direct experience with PCs including assembly, troubleshooting/support and upgrading. I have worked for retail outlets, schools and businesses, and have been an Instructor in the past as well – helping others, just like you, understand and enjoy computers!

MCSE (Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer), CNA (Certified Novell Administrator), MCP (Microsoft Certified Professional), CST (Computer Service Technician (Formerly Computer Engineering Technician)(Hardware/OS servicing Diploma), IC3 (Internet and Core Computing Certification)(Hardware/OperatingSystem/Internet Fundamentals Certification), A+ (Computing Technology Industry Association Hardware/Operating System Certification)

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