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How to Find Windows XP Service Pack 3

Lois asks:

If I do not have SP3 on my XP machine, where can I get it?

Great question, Lois and yes we can check to see if you have Service Pack 3 on your computer in just a few steps. If you have Automatic Updates turned on, you will have Service Pack 3. Don’t worry if you don’t, because it’s very easy to get and Microsoft has really left us no choice. They quit supporting Service Pack 2 in July of 2010. This means you won’t receive any Windows security updates unless you have Service Pack 3 installed.

First, let’s check to see if you already have Service Pack 3 installed.

Click Start and then click Run. Type “sysdm.cpl” (without the quotes) in the Open field and press Enter.

Or, you can click Start, right-click My Computer and select Properties. Either of these methods will bring up the same window.


Click the General tab. Look under the System section. You should see the version of Windows you have and what Service Pack you have.


The easiest way to get Windows Service Pack 3 is to turn on Automatic Updates. This will automatically download SP3 when it is first available. If you don’t have Automatic Updates turned on you can install Service Pack 3 through the Windows Update on the Microsoft website. Click the Automatic Updates tab.

Turn on Automatic Updates

Select one of the three options. You can choose Automatic (recommended) option then choose the time you want Windows to update under Automatically download recommended updates for my computer and install them. You can choose Download updates for me but let me choose when to install them, or you can choose Notify me but don’t automatically download or install them. If you choose the Automatic (recommended) option Windows will automatically download Service Pack 3 for you.


This is probably the easiest way, at least for now. If you want to see what the update is before you download or install it, then follow the directions below.

Download the latest Windows XP Service Pack from the Microsoft Download Center

If you have problems obtaining the Service Pack from Windows Update, you can download the stand-alone update package from the Microsoft Download Center. This page will say that this installation package is intended for IT professionals and developers. However, you can safely download this file.

Order Windows XP Service Pack 3 on a CD

You can order the XP Service Pack 3 CD here. Once you arrive at the site, just follow the onscreen instructions.

~Rita Wood