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    Windows SP2 Is Going to Make You Very Popular.
    Author: Xpublicdefender
    Date Posted: August 5th, 2004
    Discuss This Article

    Get ready, your technophobe family and neighbours are going to be calling you for help with the release of SP2 later this month. The release will require a flurry of settings decisions about various changes, like whether to include automatic updates. Think about that nice soccer mom next door and the first time she gets an alert from the new update. Will she know what to do? After being put on hold at Microsoft support along with hundreds of other users, who is she going to turn to for help in a hurry. Microsoft says that it is ready for the onslaught of anticipated service calls. Microsoft has called this major update a service pack, but it is really more like a major Windows upgrade. It has been described as an interim Windows release until the release of Longhorn, Windows next version. The company says that it is ready for the increased support requests, acknowledging that SP2's security focus will have a major impact on people's systems. Companies like Dell, Hewlett-Packard and Gateway are gearing up as well for the release which will be included on their systems.

    Microsoft is including several security technologies in SP2 that are meant to protect customers against malware and other risks to their computer, including network-based attacks. We will see a number of innovations, including memory protection, improved e-mail security, enhanced browser security and an improved and enhanced Windows Firewall. These changes include turning on Windows Firewall in default installations of Service Pack 2, closing ports except when they are in use, improving the user interface for configuration, and improving application compatibility when Windows Firewall is on. This massive patch would result in difficulties viewing web sites, like pornographic pages or result in glitches with some online gaming sites. It could disrupt network settings with its new network setup wizard. The new security warning pop up warnings could prompt non-technical people to make decisions that are beyond their understanding.

    When a beta release was tested by CRN test centre engineers, 3 out of 5 machines blue screened (on both AMD and Intel machines). A message stated that winserv was missing. Although Microsoft support assisted the test centre in uninstalling SP2, it was not clear what caused the bluescreen. The same CRN test centre engineers installed SP2 on systems with various anti-virus utilities, including Panda software and Symantec and all worked with no problems despite Symantec claiming that a Norton Patch will be needed. Security experts have expressed some concerns that SP2 will become the target of phishers who will spam unsuspecting users with tampered versions of the update. Microsoft has also urged web site owners and developers to examine the changes to XP and to make whatever code tweaks needed to minimize disruptions.

    Users will be able to download the update through the Microsoft Windows Update Service.In Great Britain alone, Microsoft will issue over a million copies of the update on CD to make it easier for those without broadband to install the 100MB update. The company will offer to send a copy of SP2, by mail, free of charge and including shipping, as well as distributing the CD through numerous computer magazines and retail computer stores nationwide.

    For those of you that are fussy about this sort of thing, Windows newsgroup users have recommended that you do your annual reformat when SP2 is released to the web. Microsoft has indicated the update will install over SP1, but the newsgroup users are suggesting a fresh install of Windows, then update directly to SP2 instead.

    So now's the time to start dropping hints to those cute girls down the hall in the dorm that you are available to help them configure their computers, but make sure they have your number. The phone will start ringing any day now.

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