I vowed that I'd never install it having heard too many horror stories - and some from people with far greater technical knowledge than myself, i.e. computer experts. However, to be fair I had also heard lots of people say that they hadn't had any problems, nor did they personally know anyone who had problems. So, as I also knew that there would come a time, indeed that time may have already passed, when I would have to install it, otherwise I wouldn't get any more Windows updates, I decided to bite the bullet and do it.
At first I was pleasantly surprised, not to say shocked, as everything appeared to work! The network (my biggest worry and the cause of so many problems) was fine, the computers could still see/talk to one another. Norton was fine, I had no problems turning off XP's firewall in favour of Norton, Laplink did it's usual synchronisation, all utterly painlessly. One small program didn't work, but I solved that by downloading an updated free version (which miffed me slightly as I had paid for the no longer working program), and installing that.
Then I hit the major problem: I opened up Outlook Express. I'm sure that my fellow Brits at least have heard the saying 'too slow to catch a cold', well this is what OE had become. I opened up a folder and sat and twiddled my thumbs, or tapped on the desk, until it decided to show me the messages. I moved from one message to another, the same problem. Even composing a message was painfully slow. All the settings were back to how they should have been (i.e. how I wanted them, not how SP2 thought I wanted them), but even when I let SP2 have its own way, the slowness still remained. The computer was new less than a year ago, and is more than generally endowed with memory, size, etc. etc. etc. all the things you might think could have caused a problem.
So after the proverbial 'when in doubt reboot' had failed to work, I turned it off and left it alone overnight - it has been known to solve problems. This morning I was informed that there were already updates, so I downloaded them and .................. nothing. They wouldn't install, the 'intialising installation' window just sat there and sat there and .......... So I tried OE again, the same problem - tortoise time.
Thus, I gave in and off it came.
Result: OE is now back to full speed :-) So what do I do now? Do I try again? Has anyone else had and solved this OE slowness problem?
On the progress side, I finally managed to get Real Player working. For some reason it wouldn't play anything, not even when I downloaded the new version and installed that. Plus, it wouldn't let me uninstall it because the uninstall program was missing. I finally solved it by copying across the setup.exe from my laptop (which was working) to my desktop computer installing that, rather than installing the downloaded program, and viola! It works. So I'm happy about that at least.
But as for XP SP2.........