So how about some facts guys to help you make a decision and some of these facts are directly related to my situation, some are from techtalk @ pcpitstop.
I was having serious weirdness from SP3, and this is not to bash anybodys, anything, this is to share information that may help others to avoid serious pitfalls!
First of all, Can you run without SP3?, Absolutely Yes!
Is Sp3 going to increase my performance over Sp2, definitely No!
3Dmark05 run with the exact same settings on the same machine with SP2 and SP3.
SP2 = 16,536
SP3 = 16,345
If you think this doesn't make any difference and you have your own tested scores between SP2 & SP3 that indicate something different than what I'm saying here then put in your 2 cents, or backup my claims all is welcome.
That may or may not seem to be a big difference in performance, but SP3 is a performance cut and most of us want our machines running as top notch as we can get them
so many say My machine is running just fine with SP3 but have you actually tested it? or is it just a visual impression?
Warning! If you decide to uninstall SP3 use Safe mode to do it, or you'll be stuck with left over crap, found that out the hard way!!!
Best thing is don't install it in the first place, but if you did use the Windows Uninstaller to uninstall it, the best fix is to do a Repair Re-Installation and not accept it through the Windows Update website, you can still get all the SP2 updates without installing SP3.
Heres a list of the problems I encountered leading me to a decision to go back to Sp2.
Internet Explorer 7 plagued with problems
2D video corruption
AV & Firewall serious lag
Lower Benchmark Scores
Overall machine sluggishness
Alcohol 120% problems
The article below discusses some of the issues others are having, even with clean installs.
After my WinXP Repair Re-Installation of the OP/SYS I have my machine back and everything is working like its supposed to, a Repair Installation only repairs the operating system and takes the state of the machine back to the SP level of the installation CD.
A repair installation does not remove or delete any of your existing files programs, pictures, music etc. outside of Windows Itself, for any of you that do not know how to do a WinXP Repair Installation.
Heres How: [Note; As with anything this drastic, backup all your important data before this Repair Reinstall just to be on the safe side!]
First set CMOS boot
First boot = CDROM
Second Boot = HDD
Most cases entering CMOS setup require pressing either Delete or F1 while booting, or whatever key the boot screen tells you to use.
If you're not CMOS experienced don't play around in there just set the boot sequence and exit normally by pressing F10, or accessing the Exit Menu, and pressing Enter to save the settings.
This is a good time while in the CMOS setup to go ahead and put your WinXP Installation CD in the CDROM drive, because once you save the boot settings it will go on to boot up.
While booting watch the bottom of the screen for the Boot from CD indicator, and when the initiator displays: "Press any key to boot from CD" Press any Key you have 5 seconds to do it.
The WinXP install process begins and this is very important Press Enter for every screen you come to when the installation stops for a confirmation from you, until you get to the F8 agreement screen, here you press F8, the next screen after the F8 agreement you press R and the Repair begins, it will look like its installing from scratch, you'll even have to re-enter the product key code, but when it completes everything will be there.
Down loaded SP3 and installed on this machine. No noticable performance increase (Same scores for 3dMark06). The only problem I have noticed is that the Line where you enter web site and do a refresh goes transparent (very rare).
Slipstreamed it on to XP Pro SP2 plus the F6 AHCI driver and installed on a toshiba Laptop (( 6 month old A205-S5804) No promblems noted) Can not state any performace gain/loses as this was a fresh install on a new HDD.
One of my friends installed SP3 and at first he had seemingly no problems but that didn't last and after numerous different attempts to solve his problems unsuccessfully, he reinstalled his OP/SYS completely from scratch and updated up to SP2, drastic measures for sure but he solved his problems.