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XP Service Pack 2

Mark Edwards

Microsoft is currently in the midst of a staged release of Service Pack 2 for Windows XP. This is a major update to the Windows XP operating system designed to address many critical security issues and vulnerabilities. One of the big features of this upgrade is vastly improved firewall protection which will default to being on. As some of you know, firewalls can cause problems and conflicts with some of your software.

Microsoft has published a list of software known to have issues with the new firewall environment. You can view this list at: support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?kbid=884130&product=windowsxpsp2

The reason for writing this article today is that on Wednesday this week (yes, that is correct, in 3 days), all of us who have Automatic Updates running on Windows XP will download and install the full Service Pack 2 automatically. This is a pretty large update at around 200MB!

If you are running close to your monthly bandwidth limit you may wish to delay installation. If you are worried that installing this Service Pack may upset your network systems you may also wish to have a more controlled rollout. It is possible to delay the installation of Service Pack 2 without switching off automatic updates but only for up to 120 days.

The general industry opinion of this Service Pack is that you should install it as soon as possible as it will make your systems significantly more secure than they are now. Microsoft have spent a lot of time liaising with software and hardware vendors to ensure that there are minimal conflicts with existing software. Most vendors have had plenty of time to produce updates that cater for the Service Pack.

Before installing this Service Pack you should ensure that you have the latest versions of any software you use and that all of your software has the latest patches installed. If you do this, it appears you should have no problem with the Service Pack.

If you would like some advice or expert help in dealing with any issues associated with this Service Pack please contact me directly.

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