Windows Installer 3.0
"Windows Installer 3.0 provides the underlying infrastructure for software distribution systems to target and install updates to Windows Installer-based applications. Enhanced inventory functions make it possible for administrators to detect products, features, components and patches across user and installation contexts. Three new functions are provided to determine if a patch is necessary prior to downloading the complete patch payload to the target computer."
Basically MS is setting things up for automatic updating of all the applications on your system. Not only that, but it'll only grab the updates that YOU need. MS also thinks this will deliver smaller and more reliable patches.
Setup authors can use Windows Installer 3.0 to create patch packages (which have the .msp file name extension) that use Microsoft's delta compression technology. Delta compression uses binary file differences instead of using the full file, which significantly reduces the patch payload.
You will also now be able to remove a patch. In the past I've seen patches make a game quit working properly for me and I couldn't just uninstall the patch. I had to uninstall the entire game! With WI3 you're supposed to be able to uninstall the patches.
Under add/remove programs I see a check box at the top that says show updates. Currently the only thing that does is show me the various SP2 updates I've installed. As more programs use WI3 we'll see what all this does.
It is also supposed to create non interactive installers so all people will do is open the installer and it installs! No more clicking next, OK etc several times. I'm interested in seeing this in action.
With the firewall you will have to have administrator access to be able to tell the firewall to allow something to access the internet. Now your kids will have to ASK before they can start using some crappy chat application.
Alerter and Messenger Services Disabled
In previous versions of Windows, the Messenger service is set to start automatically and the Alerter service is set to manual start. In Service Pack 2 for Windows XP, both of these services are set to Disabled. If you want to use these services go in and turn them on.
If you run into problems with this here's how to fix;
At the command prompt, type netsh firewall set portopening TCP 445 ENABLE and then press ENTER.
Here are some other blocked ports 445 is the only one that you might want to open. These are used in file and printer sharing.
UDP port 137
UDP port 138
TCP port 139