For those who have Windows XP and want to install ArcGIS 10 and extensions, the first thing you are going to need is Service Pack 3. Go to Control Panel – System and see what version of Windows XP you have.
Problem is, most shops we know never updated to SP3, because SP2 was more stable, SP3 introduced new issues, yada yada yada. Many don't have Windows Update auto configured, either.
If you don’t have SP3, and you are on a business or university or other managed network, it’s easy – you call up your network admin or IT and say “I want my XP SP3.” Then, during the subsequent ArcGIS 10 install process they will manage, the addition of any 2008 SQL Server Client, Windows installer and .NET framework updates you need will be relatively transparent.
If you don’t have SP3 and manage your own PC, Microsoft encourages you to use Windows Update to get it. We encourage you to download the admin version from http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/bb794714.aspx. Chances are you will have the Stand Alone Version, but developers will need the Checked Build. If you get the wrong one and try to install, you’ll be prompted so don’t worry. You can also request a disk for a few dollars more.
If you try to install 10 on XP SP2 or earlier, you will encounter a couple of cycles of reboots and installation of installer and .NET updates that will result in the error message that you need SP3 to proceed, anyway -, but you can update then as well.
However. Chances are, if you don’t have a minimum of 2GB and really, 4GB of RAM and/or a fast processor and/or video card and RAM, you are going to ignore all this and get a Windows 7 machine to run 10. More on that next time.