|When you re-install XP from scratch these days, when you go to the Microsoft Update web page, after a few things have been installed, the SP3 updates appear as the only update. |
You can't install any other updates until that has been installed.
Problems with installing SP3 updates are almost always because of programs that have already been installed - it isn't because of the SP3 updates themselves, but sometimes it's because of the SP3 updates not handling ceratain installed programs being there properly . When you install the SP3 updates first, or early, after a fresh install of Windows from scratch it's quite rare for you to have any problems - I certainly haven't had any problems regarding that situation.
NOTE that it's NOT a good idea to install some anti-malware software before installing SP3 updates, ESPECIALLY Norton products, because even if you disable the resident module of the software from running (the part that runs all the time) , it may STILL interfere with installing the SP3 updates properly.
AdAware free, Malwarebytes free, has no resident module
AdAware paid, Malwarebytes paid, AVG 8.x free and paid, SpyBot free and paid, Avast! free and paid - has a resident module you should disable. Either disable that, or don't install it until after the SP3 updates have been installed. I haven't had any problems disabling the Resident Shield in AVG and then installing SP3 updates, but I don't know about the others, and apparently there are other anti-malware programs that are better off not being installed before SP3 updates.
At least some Norton products will interfere with the proper SP3 updates installation even if you disable eveything you can in it from running - don't install it before installing SP3 updates. If you have already installed it, the software has Piracy protection - you can un-install it but you can't re-install it successfully until you have contacted Symantec, because they need to delete info that was sent to their web site while installing the software before you can successfully re-install it.
You can easily make a "slipstreamed" CD, for XP Pro or Home, preferably a CD-R for the best drive compatibility, that has the contents of your original CD with the SP3 updates integrated into it. You use your original Product Key. I have had zero problems installing XP from such "slipstreamed" CDs.
NOTE that if your original CD does not have SP3 updates included, after the SP3 updates have been installed, if you run sfc /scannow (System File Checker) it won't accept the original CD as a valid CD to run the program along with (the same applies if your system has only SP2 updates and the CD doesn't have SP2 updates) . If you have a "slipstreamed" CD with SP3 updates integrated into it, that was properly made, sfc will accept that CD as valid no problem.