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Windows XP Service Pack 2

On Monday, Microsoft announced plans to delay the push distribution of Windows XP SP2, thereby giving corporate customers more time to temporarily block automatic downloading of SP2 by their employees. BigFix's SP2-related support is included free as part of the BigFix Enterprise Suite, which is compatible with all versions of Windows; Red Hat and SuSE Linux; and Hewlett-Packard HP-UX, IBM AIX, and Sun Solaris. Pricing for BigFix Enterprise Suite starts at $13.50 per seat per year. A downloadable trial version is available, informs ZDNet. Accordong to iTnews, Microsoft's ever-evolving rollout of Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2) continues as the company releases the update to XP Home Edition users who have enabled Automatic Updates. XP Professional Edition users will have to wait until next week to get the long-awaited update through Automatic Updates. The company completed XP SP2 on 6 August and a version for corporate networks shipped publicly last week. On 27 September, the company will ship new retail boxed copies of XP Home and XP Pro that include SP2 and feature a graphic that notes the product's "advanced security technologies," Microsoft sources said. According to Microsoft, more than one million people installed a beta or release candidate (RC) version of the update, and the company is updating those users first. Then Microsoft will slowly ease open the virtual spigots to all XP users. The company is staging the XP SP2 release to keep support calls to its partners to a minimum. Microsoft says that, so far, XP SP2 support calls have been relatively rare. According to Microsoft, about 300 million people currently use XP, and by the end of September the company hopes to deliver copies of XP SP2 to more than 100 million of them. A recent survey by Russ Cooper, a senior scientist with security specialist TruSecure and editor of the NTBugtraq mailing list, indicates that IT wants to deploy SP2 quickly. Of the 578 NTBugtraq members who responded to his SP2 survey, says Cooper, 30 percent plan to deploy SP2 within the next 30 days. Another 25 percent say they’ll deploy SP2 over the next three months, and a surprising number – 13 percent – plan to roll-out the service pack in the next seven days. After taking into account the six months and above time frame, only 17 percent of NTBugtraq respondents don’t plan to deploy SP2. Cooper's response pool is biased toward organizations of 100 or fewer users, which can move more quickly and with less complicated testing scenarios than larger organizations, publishes ENTNews. Whatever the organization's size, testing is the major hang up. While the security improvements are generally welcome, those features, especially the new firewall, are known to break almost 50 Microsoft and major third-party applications. Many more internal applications will stop dead when the firewall's shields go up. Microsoft released Windows XP Service Pack to manufacturing on Aug. 6. Last week, the company released a tool for network administrators to allow them to turn off the Automatic Update feature of Windows XP, preventing the automated download and installation of the service pack for 120 days. At the same time, Microsoft disclosed that Automatic Update-enabled systems would begin pulling down XP SP2 on Aug. 16. Negative user reaction to the short window for applying the tool helped convince Microsoft to push back the Automatic Update delivery schedule. As of now, Automatic Update for Windows XP Home Edition will begin Wednesday, while Professional Edition will begin sometime later in the month. Users will be able to put the added time to good use.

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