As of this writing, you can't yet order the Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2) CD-ROM from Microsoft's Web site, but I'm told that it will be available soon and should start shipping to customers in September. The best news about this release, of course, is the price: Not only is the XP SP2 CD free to US and Canadian customers, but Microsoft will be shipping it out free of charge as well.

If you're an MSDN Universal or Professional subscriber, however, you can download an ISO image of the CD (minus the fancy CD artwork, naturally) now from MSDN Subscriber Downloads. But if you don't want to wait that long, and would like to know what comes on the CD, here's a preview.

When you insert the CD, the following install routine auto-runs. This application lets you read a FAQ and install XP SP2.

The Windows XP SP2 CD-ROM (VRMSP_EN) includes the following directories and files in its root:

  • \DOTNETFX - A folder containing the Microsoft .NET Framework 1.1 installation package.
  • \IMAGES - Various graphics required by the Web-based documentation found on the CD-ROM.
  • \SUPPORT - Contains the SYMBOLS and TOOLS folders:
    • \SYMBOLS - Contains the Symbol files for Windows XP SP2. These are used to debug and troubleshoot XP SP2.
    • \TOOLS - Contains the Windows XP SP2 support tools. If you don't have the CD, you can download the tools separately from the Microsoft Web site. Note that a number of these tools have been updated for XP SP2.
  • \VALUEADD - Contains various Microsoft and third-party add-ons in the following folders (both described below):
    • \3RDPARTY - Contains the Citrix ICA 32-bit Client for Windows XP SP2 (in \VALUEADD\3RDPARTY\MGMT\CITRIX)
    • \MSFT - Contains a number of Microsoft tools, described below.
  • AUTORUN.DLL
  • AUTORUN.EXE - The XP SP2 CD-ROM Auto Play application.
  • AUTORUN.INF
  • FAQ.HTM - A short FAQ file about installing Windows XP Service Pack 2. This file is launched in your Web browser when you click on the "What to know before installing Service Pack 2" link in the second stage of the CD's Auto Play application.
  • READMESP.HTM - The Windows XP SP2 README file.
  • SPWIZENG.DLL
  • WINXP_LOGO_HORIZ_SM.GIF
  • XPSP2.CMD - This script file is launched when you click the "Install now" in the second stage of the CD's Auto Play application. It contains the text "start %~dp0\xpsp2.exe" (no quotes).
  • XPSP2.EXE (278,927,592 KB) - The full network install version of Windows XP SP2. If you don't have the CD-ROM, you can download this file here (though it has a different name: WindowsXP-KB835935-SP2-ENU.exe).
Now let's take a quick look at one of the more convoluted subdirectories.

\VALUEADD\MSFT\
This folder contains a number of non-supported Microsoft tools, including the following (sorted by location):

  • \VALUEADD\MSFT\FONTS - The Arial Alternative Regular and Arial Alternative Symbol TrueType fonts.
  • \VALUEADD\MSFT\MGMT\CIMV2R5 - Contains CIMv2r5.mof, a file used to provide a strictly compliant schema to the DMTF's CIM version 2.5.
  • \VALUEADD\MSFT\MGMT\IAS - Contains IASNT4.EXE, the Windows NT 4.0 Internet Authentication Service snap-in.
  • \VALUEADD\MSFT\MGMT\PBA - Contains PBAINST.EXE, the Microsoft Phone Book Administrator tool.
  • \VALUEADD\MSFT\MGMT\WBEMODBC - Contains WBEMODBC.EXE, the WMI ODBC Driver.
  • \VALUEADD\MSFT\NET\NETBEUI - Contains files need to install NetBEUI protocol support for Windows XP SP2.
  • \VALUEADD\MSFT\NET\TOOLS - Contains TTCP.EXE, a command line application that determines TCP and UDP performance between two systems.
  • \VALUEADD\MSFT\USMT - Contains command line files that work with the User State Migration Tool (USMT) to load and set customization settings for the user (similar to the graphical application "Files and Settings Transfer Wizard" that ships in XP, but scriptable.