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Is SP2 good for you?

jhulsey asked
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2010-04-20
Automatic Update notified me that SP2 is available and ready to install on our SBS 2003 Std. server.  So I launch the install and it stops short with the Error: Failed to install catalog files that everyone is talking so much about.  In my quest to find and work out a solution for a successful install of SP2, I notice we don't even have SP1 installed.  On top of that there appears to be some debate as to wether or not SP2 should even be installed... not to mention that some people say it's not even intended for SBS.

I know there's always a risk with installing SPs and HotFixes, but I would like to hear opinions on weather or not the pros outweigh the risks with SP1 or SP2.  Do either of them address any major security issues I should be aware of?  I just don't want to go through all of the trouble and time to get SP2 to install correctly just to have it cause me more problems when everything is running smoothly now.

My typical feeling is that if there's a patch released then it's important enough to hammer out the issues if they arise... but nothing I have read about SP2 jumped out at me and made me say, "that sounds serious I better install this".

Am I looking at this all wrong?
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I've installed Windows 2003 SP2 on several 2003 Standard servers and 2003 SBS servers and everything has worked great.  I also did my research before installing on SBS and found nothing to say that I shouldn't.  It's not necessary to install SP1 first but you can if you want.  I've included a Microsoft link as it pertains to the benefits of SP2.  They really don't mention any security benefits just improved performance of several different items.


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Brian PiercePhotographer
Awarded 2007
Top Expert 2008
yes - it fixes some known secuiity issues and adds some useful tools/functionality see http://www.microsoft.com/technet/windowsserver/sp2/data-sheet.mspx for details.
Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasyPrincipal Consultant
Most Valuable Expert 2016
Top Expert 2014
You need to first understand that by not installing a Service Pack you shorten the support life of your System.  For instance, Microsoft has now ended support for any SBS 2003 without SP1.  The same will happen to systems without SP2 at some point as well.

Additionally there are almost 100 important updates included in SP2.

Don't confuse SP's with Hotfixes regarding "risk". The reason that hotfixes are considered "risky" is because they are not fully tested in all environments.  So you may have some third-party app installed that would barf when the hotfix is applied and Microsoft would say, "we told you so".  

Service Packs, on the other hand, are completely supported by Microsoft.  In fact, if you have any problems whatsoever with installing a SP, you can call Microsoft Support for FREE to resolve the issue.  Of course, you can avoid most issues by reading all the release notes and suplemental KB articles.  

The best place to get valid SP2 info with regards to SBS is the Offical SBS Blog:

Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasyPrincipal Consultant
Most Valuable Expert 2016
Top Expert 2014
There is also a very comprehensive list of SBS/SP2 information here:  http://sbsurl.com/sp2



Thanks all -
Each one of you touched on a different answers I was looking for.  Thanks for helping me understand and feel better about the install.  I decided to increase the point value for the question because I felt that the answers each of you gave deserved 100pts.  I've never tried this before so hopefully it will work out!

Thanks again guys!
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