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Microsoft XP SP2 Update : Coming, Coming, Coming... - 8/5/2004 6:50:39 AM   
WinThusiast


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Microsoft Corp. is close to releasing the biggest update ever for the Windows operating system, aiming to plug holes that have led to massive security problems for computer users the world over.

Microsoft senior product manager Matt Pilla said late Wednesday that it is expected to release the update for Windows XP, called Service Pack 2, "in the coming days."

He would not be more specific. Microsoft has previously said it expected to release Service Pack 2 this month, after delaying the release to improve compatibility between the new security functions and other applications.

Microsoft's Australian arm inadvertently put out a news release early Wednesday saying the system had been completed, but the company later said that was a mistake and that it is still in the final stages of development.

The update comes in response to a series of Internet viruses and other attacks that have slowed businesses and hurt consumers.

Service Pack 2 bolsters security on a number of fronts. Among the changes, it automatically turns on a firewall to better guard against attempts to infiltrate personal computers.

The update also fortifies protections on the Internet Explorer browser and offers tougher policing against e-mail-borne attacks. And it provides a user with much more information about what programs are trying to contact the computer, and gives the user more chances to accept or decline.

It creates a "Windows Security Center" to help monitor an array of security programs - including those from outside companies that offer other safeguards, such as antivirus protection.

Because the update is so big, Microsoft is urging users to turn on an automatic Windows update feature that can slowly download it onto computers without interrupting normal computer use.

Users also can choose to download the security functions all at once, and eventually will be able to request CD copies of it as well.

Microsoft is bulking up phone support and will offer Web-based support to help users adopt the new system.

Analysts say the system is a great improvement, but they warn it won't solve the problem of Internet-based attacks.

"There's always a question of what else will come along," said analyst Joe Wilcox of Jupiter Research. "Microsoft's problem is there's only so much you can do to retrofit."


Source : The Associated Press
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