XP SP3 breaks WHS RDP

XP SP3 breaks WHS RDP

Just when you thought it was safe to install Service Pack 3, another compatibility issue raises its ugly head.

Another issue has been uncovered that can cause problems for users of Microsoft's troubled Service Pack 3 for Windows XP.

According to a post on the Windows Home Server Forums provided by Microsoft, users with Service Pack 3 installed on their Windows XP desktop may well find themselves unable to connect to their Windows Home Server box via the Remote Desktop Protocol interface in Internet Explorer.

In a reply to a request for help regarding RDP no longer working since SP3 was installed, forum user ColinWH states that the issue revolves around changes made in SP3 to the security model for Internet Explorer. The Terminal Services ActiveX control – used to create RDP sessions within Internet Explorer for remote control of headless boxes like Windows Home Servers – has been “disabled by default.” The fix involves editing the registry to delete a pair of killswitches that prevents the ActiveX control from showing in the Add-Ons dialogue and thus from being re-enabled.

Although the problem can be solved with a workaround, many users are hesitant to start wandering around the Windows registry deleting keys with names like {7390f3d8-0439-4c05-91e3-cf5cb290c3d0}, and still others are simply ignorant as to the very existence of such a file. With no official word from Microsoft on why the ActiveX control was disabled, it's also impossible to know whether re-enabling it would re-introduce a security hole that SP3 was supposed to fix.

Although the installation of the long-awaited final service pack for the popular operating system has gone smoothly for most customers, it is interesting that many of the issues – including the compatibility problem that resulted in the download being removed mere minutes after its official launch – seem to occur with other Microsoft products. Perhaps Microsoft should have delayed the launch even further to ensure these problems were found and fixed prior to release?

Have you had any problems since installing Service Pack 3 for Windows XP, or has it all been plain sailing? Share your experiences over in the forums.


Discuss in the forums Reply
_DTM2000_ 21st May 2008, 14:13 Quote
It completely broke my media center too. Refused to use the tuner cards and caused loads of error messages. I'm glad I took a disk image before I installed it. It works fine on my PC at work though.
xalek 21st May 2008, 14:33 Quote
Broke my XP Media Center too! TV tuners just stoped working and didn't want to be re-setup. Works fine with my XP Pro mind you.
alastor 21st May 2008, 14:52 Quote
Installed it on my laptop, only lasted 3 days as it broke S3 standby. Haven't tried it on the desktop yet.
Panos 21st May 2008, 14:56 Quote
I don't have any issue with my Media Center. Oops I forgot. I use Mythbuntu there :)

Seriously I installed the SP3 on all the computers at work (65) and not any issue so far.
Firehed 21st May 2008, 15:00 Quote
Interesting... this is probably going to screw up some people at work if/when we upgrade - we use browser-based VMWare Server frequently. Though it probably has its own custom VMWare ActiveX/FF extension so maybe it would be fine.
moshpit 21st May 2008, 15:18 Quote
SP3 has caused our custom security video monitoring application to perform extremely poorly when using Enhanced MPEG4 mode. EMPEG4 mode is basicly a Divx-like codec we use for compression of the video streams. We're currently attempting to isolate exactly what changed between SP2 and SP3 to cause this since all of our SP2/SP2C machines are fine, but the machines with SP3 have choppy live and recorded video, and tons of lost frames according to videoscope. SP3 is looking to be a loss for us at this point :( :'(
mrb_no1 21st May 2008, 15:48 Quote
sp3 screwed over my home machine, stopped all miscorsoft programs from accessing the net, like ie and msn despite the fact that firefox was fine with it so the network was caused firefox to crash 4 times in 15 mins, which preeviously is more than the last 12 months put together and sp3 just made explorer as a whole totally unstable, accessing my computer or any folder took an age, and thats if it didnt crash windows explorer in the process, sticking with sp2 until go vista now i think.


Ninja_182 21st May 2008, 15:53 Quote
Its a conspiracy to make us see vista as a reasonable upgrade :p
supermonkey 21st May 2008, 16:04 Quote
I reformatted my wife's computer the other day, installed Windows and then did the SP3 update. For some reason, SP3 changed one of the .dll files associated with Windows Update, and caused the file to become unregistered. I only noticed it because Windows wouldn't install any more updates. They all downloaded just fine, but they all failed to install. Also, the update history didn't show any of the failed updates.

After some searching around, I finally found the solution, re-registered the .dll file, and now the rest of the updates install just fine.

I guess it might have been a fluke, but it seems strange to me that a Windows update would break the Windows Update service.

Bauul 21st May 2008, 16:04 Quote
Installed it the day it was released (the day they pulled it as well) and have noticed not one jot of difference, good or bad. Meh.
Mr_Sinister 21st May 2008, 16:11 Quote
i installed it just 2 days ago and so far (fingers crossed) no problems (yet)
g3n3tiX 21st May 2008, 16:58 Quote
No problems here, had it for around a week.
p3n 21st May 2008, 17:07 Quote
My boot times have improved (I think) and i've not had any problems, but then again my servers are all SSH and I use a real web browser.
steveo_mcg 21st May 2008, 17:20 Quote
Originally Posted by Bauul
Installed it the day it was released (the day they pulled it as well) and have noticed not one jot of difference, good or bad. Meh.

I installed it form the link, some one posted on the forum. I had the exact same experience, but then i'm running pro, could that be the difference?
Major 21st May 2008, 17:27 Quote
Someone on a forums I know installed it, he had to format his PC for some reason.
Omnituens 21st May 2008, 17:52 Quote
ive had no issues, im going to be making a new slipstreamed disk soon.
pendragon 21st May 2008, 17:57 Quote
i installed it on my server running xp pro... no problems at all.
C-Sniper 21st May 2008, 19:33 Quote
no problems yet no differences for me
friskies 21st May 2008, 21:49 Quote
If it`s true that the next version of windows will be 45 MB (without drivers of course) and made from scratch (not based on win 3.11), AND doesn`t have issues which could have been easily avoided or caused by outdated backwards compatibility, i might consider paying for it for a change!!11
capnPedro 21st May 2008, 22:32 Quote
It messed up my sister's XP Home PC, and as for putting it on my MCE HTPC? do not want.
Vista SP1's been giving me headaches too :(.
Maximinus 22nd May 2008, 08:09 Quote
I had been deliberately holding off installing SP3 on my work PC until I'm not so busy with urgent work for big clients. However, last night, it was still running its nightly backup when I wanted to go home. A coworker offered to turn the machine off when the backup completed; I accepted the offer and went home. This morning, I found that she had told it to install updates and shut down - thus installing SP3.

I guessed that this was what had happened when I logged in, only to have that annoying little dialog box which you get when you first log on to a machine using an AD account - saying something about setting up personalised preferences for various software. It sat there claiming to be doing so for Internet Explorer - for at least a couple of minutes. I thought this was a little odd, but put it down to perhaps being something to do with the way that I never installed IE7, and so still have IE6. Once it finished that and logged me in properly, I noticed that my IE shortcut was missing from the quick launch bar - and when I went to grab it back from the start menu, I found it missing from there too! A quick win+r -> iexplore popped it up with no problems, so it was still there - SP3 had just decided to eat all shortcuts to it.

The other problem I've found so far is that Windows Live Messenger started two instances of itself - each one attempting to find the installation package (which appears to have been removed from the server, or perhaps renamed). After waiting for these dialog boxes to disappear once I had hit cancel - and killing one of the two instances - things seemed to be fairly normal; it ran just as before. It even exhibited the same issue as before, where clicking on a link in a message would cause the entire thing to hang, requiring its process to be terminated. Upon terminating the process, I went to re-launch it... only to have a single click of the start menu item launch two copies of it again! Not only that, but both copies once again did the Windows Installer thing. I managed to cancel out of them again, and proceeded to uninstall anything related to Live. I then downloaded a fresh installer and reinstalled Live Messenger from scratch, which appears to have fixed both issues - although when I first closed and re-opened it to test, it did require the installation files again. It seems to be fine now, though.

Here's a bit of background: I'm a web developer, meaning that I need IE available for testing; I also have a Virtual PC image which has IE7. As for Messenger, I hate it, but it's the primary method of instant communication within the company. I could install a different client, such as Pidgin, but I don't normally have too many issues with the Microsoft client - once it's been tweaked a bit.

mandy_modded 26th May 2008, 10:42 Quote
after loading i had the windows validation box keep popping up, and try as i would couldn't reactivate xp mce.

after a defrag the other day something screwed up the windows directory, resulting in an earlier re-install than the 20 days i had left for activation.

fortunately i had a spare 40GB hdd, so haven't had to wipe the main hdd and lose all the data i hadn't yet backed up.

On saturday i installed xp pro, after loading sp3 i found i had trouble activating windows still and like supermonkey i had several windows updates that were not installing due to unregistered .dll files, after finding the fix online, the activation/registration and updates are working again.

to quote dr zachary smith "oh the pain the pain"
sigmaxxx 2nd June 2008, 19:11 Quote
Since this moment, the only problems that i have are:
Video and sound.

I have a widescream monitor and the windows show image with 800X600
and dont see my onboard sound.
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