XP SP2 Slows You Down

slashdot is covering a story from MobilePC:

News outlets have been getting carried away in the flood of stories about Microsoft’s release of Service Pack 2 (SP2) for Windows XP, but no one has addressed the issue of performance with the new update. Well, we happen to have a few notebooks lying around the office, so we fired it up on a few — 10, to be exact — and then ran our benchmarks on the units. The verdict? SP2 can make your notebook run sloooow.

Slower, anyway. Among the 10 systems, SP2 resulted in a performance hit of 3 to 22 percent on eight of the 10 machines. Granted, two saw small performance increases, but the average decrease in performance was a whopping 9 percent. (All tests are based on Sysmark 2002’s Business Productivity test.) We asked Microsoft if it was aware that there was a performance issue after upgrading to SP2, a spokesperson replied that Microsoft “takes all feedback on the performance of Windows XP SP2 seriously. At this time we are not aware of performance degradation on PCs running Windows XP SP2.” That’s funny, we thought we just told them that there was a performance problem. Watch for a thorough examination of SP2 performance in an upcoming issue of Mobile PC.

I noticed an immediate performance hit on my laptop the second I installed Windows XP Service Pack 2. It was such a vast performance hit that I decided to format the laptop and start with a fresh install. Doing the fresh install and updating to XP SP2 didn’t provide me with the huge performance hit I had before.

My recommendation is to use caution when upgrading to XP SP2 and if you take a performance hit, do what I did.