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Windows XP Pro Service Pack 2 available via Automatic Update

Microsoft will make Windows XP Pro Service Pack 2 (SP2) available via Automatic Update [AU] on Wednesday, the company confirmed.

The Redmond, Wash. software giant has already issued the Automatic Update for Windows XP Home Edition, but delayed Windows XP Pro SP2 to give customers and partners time to gear up for a significant phase of SP2 corporate deployment. Microsoft has confirmed that more than 50 applications break or clash with the SP2, which was first made available to OEMs on August 6.

Microsoft also released a network installation version for IT pros and developers on August 10. This next release of SP2 is of particular concern to partners, since it allows users to download SP2 at will if their company has not disabled Automatic Update or established a deployment policy, according CRN Daily News.

The free update includes safeguards against spyware and viruses, a beefed up Internet firewall to keep out hackers, and changes to alert users to security risks on their personal computers. But Microsoft concedes SP 2 is not a cure-all.

"The hackers and the virus writers are constantly, always coming up with new and innovative ways in which they can exploit any computer system. It's important to be vigilant," said Andrew Pickup, director of marketing at Microsoft Singapore.

Already, security expert Secunia has found a bug in Internet Explorer, that allows unauthorised files to be planted in a user's start-up folder. And the bug works on systems patched with SP2.

In another instance, a German firm found a way to trick Windows into running files downloaded from the Internet, without warning users about what was happening, reports Channel News Asia.

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