July 2, 2004 6:15 AM PDT

Microsoft putting final touches on Windows update

AMSTERDAM--Microsoft junkies have been waiting and waiting for Windows XP Service Pack 2, but it seems the end is finally in sight.

"I can guarantee it will ship within the next two months," Tony Goodhew, product manager at Microsoft, said at the company's TechEd 2004 conference here this week.

Microsoft's most recent timetables had set the release for June, and then July, but last month the company pushed that back to "this summer." Two weeks ago, it released a nearly final test version.

Just before the release of SP2, the Windows Update feature will be upgraded to version 5.0. The main improvement with the new release is that if a download is stopped part of the way through, it will restart from the point at which it stopped rather than having to start from the beginning again. This should be particularly practical for downloading SP2, which is 80MB in size.

Microsoft recently acknowledged that the download times for patches over dial-up connections are an issue. The changes to Windows Update are also designed to help resolve the problem and encourage more home users to patch their machines.

A preview of version 5.0 of Windows Update can be found on Microsoft's Web site.

Most of the conference-goers that ZDNet UK interviewed are looking forward to the upcoming Windows release.

"SP2 is a great improvement," said Paul Wildenberg, a consultant at a Dutch IT company.

Barnabas Megyesi, an IT operational manager for the Hungarian government, agreed. "SP2 has some great features. The pop-up killer is a good feature, as many users have a headache with it," he said.

A few delegates commented on hassles in deploying SP2 because of integration issues. "SP2 is a major pain for people like me. It is a lot of work to deploy it--doing all the research and testing to make sure it fits into the infrastructure," said Aidan Finn, network team leader at Hypo Real Estate Bank in Ireland.

Goodhew responded: "We are doing as much work as possible to make deployment as painless as possible."

Ingrid Marson of ZDNet UK reported from Amsterdam.

3 comments

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SP2 is a HUGE PAIN!
I've beta tested the new SP2 on multiply machines, and I must say it's a HUGE PAIN! The update hinders every thing from downloads and installs to web-browsing and simple online applications. I know it was ment to combat some critial errors in XP, but it really is just an OS virus protection software. It installs firewalls and script blockers. That's right, script blockers, so if you want to download something or run an online script, you always have this little box that drops down from your browers that you have to "allow" the operation to process. This is a major pain to any with web experience above a year. I thought this update would be great, I've found it only to be a hinderance. Unless you having to do more clicking when you want to do something online, I wouldn't recommend this update. The Internet experience is really hurt by this install.
Posted by Getitbuilt (39 comments )
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Have you tried configuring XP SP2
I have found XP SP2 easy to configure and use. Key things are that when a site is blocked - if I trust it, I add it to the trusted sites list.

If I have a site wanting to use cross-site scripting I don't trust that site - cross site scripting is evil!! (INHO) Especially given the number of attacks on users at the moment where people are phishing for credit info.

Acitve-X controls, pop-ups - I use the little yellow bar at the top of the screen and either allow or disallow.

An example of where this is all goodness is the recent patch MS released for a problem in IE - it is not needed if you are running XP SP2.

I love it - it keeps mine & my wife's PCs very safe.
Posted by doverton12 (2 comments )
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