Despite Microsoft's urgings, research has indicated that over a quarter of corporations using Windows XP are not planning to implement the security-enhancing Service Pack 2 (SP2) this year, with almost one in 10 ignoring it completely.
A survey of 400 UK IT managers found that 28 per cent had no plans to implement the patch until 2005, while a further nine per cent said they would not update at all.
"There seems to be a significant minority who aren't going for SP2 for reasons of application security," Jon Giffard, technical director of survey sponsors LANDesk Software, told vnunet.com.
Those adopting the new service pack gave security as the main reason. Others encouragingly stated that implementing new patches was now standard policy. Of those not using SP2 applications, vulnerability seemed to be the main reason.
"We will have to wait and evaluate the impact," commented one respondent.
"While the security enhancements are welcome, the early information indicates that there are issues, particularly with non-Microsoft applications, which comprise a large proportion of our computing and business environment."
The survey's findings will make grim reading for Microsoft, which has made a particular effort to persuade users to implement the new code.
The company has been working with large partners to isolate any problems and has set up web pages listing fixes for applications affected by SP2.
Giffard added: "Microsoft should be congratulated that they have brought security to the forefront with this patch. It does seem [that], overall, people are paying more attention to security, and that's something that should be encouraged."
Microsoft continues to urge companies to implement SP2. "The software will go on wide release at the end of the month and we would encourage businesses to upgrade as soon as possible," said a spokeswoman.