March 30, 2005 7:40 PM PST

Microsoft releases Windows Server update

Microsoft has wrapped up development on the first major update to its Windows Server 2003 operating system and released it for download, the company said Wednesday.

The software giant said that Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1 is currently available for download via Microsoft's Web site and will soon start showing up on new servers. Among the primary benefits of the free update is the inclusion of security enhancements similar to those added to Windows XP with last year's Service Pack 2. Two of the most notable enhancements are a built-in firewall and the security configuration wizard, a tool businesses can use to automate the process of locking down their machines.

"That alone can save thousands and thousands of hours," said Jeff Price, senior director of Windows Server marketing. Another feature helps protect a newly installed server by closing most of its ports until it has been fully patched.

Price encouraged all customers to download and install the service pack. "It's really going to make their lives dramatically easier from a security perspective," he said. "This is really the most comprehensive set of security enhancements we've delivered in a Windows Server service pack."

The release to manufacturing of Service Pack 1 is also a milestone for Microsoft because it is the basis for variations of Windows Server 2003 and Windows XP that support 64-bit chips from Intel and AMD. Those operating systems will go on sale next month.

Microsoft is also using the Windows Server 2003 SP1 code base as the starting point for the next desktop version of Windows, code-named Longhorn, which is slated to arrive next year.

Next up on the Microsoft Server road map is an interim update of Windows Server 2003 known as R2. The company also plans to have a beta version of Longhorn Server later this year.

"That's our expectation," Price said.


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Who's first?
Okay, who wants to be the first to install this update? Be sure to let us know how it goes, after you've fixed all the resulting problems.
Posted by poster48150 (167 comments )
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Very nice..
I applaud MS for finally coming out with SP1 for Win2003 and for finally including necessary options like a firewall and security lockdown wizard (needed for all those windows admins that dont understand what the os actually does), but my favorite part of this article is....

"This alone should save thousands and thousands of hours"... HAHAHAHAHAHA

If it takes thousands and thousands of hours to lock down your servers just to make them safe.. you have a bigger problem than needing a wizard!

Dont get me wrong.. im not going to start bashing microsoft.. but heres a simple common sense though.. how about not building your systems to the "lowest common denominator" of admin/user. The UNIX world (Along with Linux/Netware/Mac/Micro/IBM AS/RS Platforms..) have always built thier systems with the total amount of restriction enabled by default.. and then required the admins to open what was needed to acomplish their goals.. this meant a secure, quick setup and functional system. It also meant the "admins" had to actually understand the systems and know why and how they do what they do.. I fear this is the problem with the MS way of things. As a fully trained MCSE, the basic instruction consists of knowing how to run setup and select its options, with potential risks and outcomes. But base function of the OS and its interaction and core are never fully taught to these admins. I dont fault them, I fault the training programs that turn these admins out without that knowledge.. it only put the admin at a disadvantage.

I am also certified in SunOS, IBM RS/AS Series, Novell CNE and Linux LCP, and although no training can acomplish everything.. these companies provide the "how and why" in addition to the "do this to make it happen."

Just my 2 cents.. sorry to type so long.. please dont take it as a bash to MS.. I believe each OS has their proper place in the IT space.. and I also believe as the people deploying and maintaining these systems, as well as the information stored within them.. its our duty to let these vendors know these things.. in hopes they will listen to the "front line" people and enhance their products.

Posted by (55 comments )
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I find Novell to be the easiest to Manage. Seeing how you have a bigger list than I do, which do you find the easiest to manage?
Posted by System Tyrant (1453 comments )
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Windows has always had a firewall, no?
I'm a little confused...Starting with Windows 2000 (and maybe even NT,) windows has always provided a built-in firewall. It's on the TCP/IP Properties of your network adaptor. Microsoft calls it "TCP/IP Filtering", but it serves as a kind of firewall to completely block whatever TCP/UDP ports you want.

Granted, it's not a full-fledged firewall in the sense you can selectively allow certain IP address access and block everyone else out. But if an administrator wanted to block certain "dangerous" ports, (Like port 445) that functionality has always been there.

Besides, I'm a little more comfortable using hardware-based Switches/Routers to handle my firewall duties.
Posted by Richard G. (137 comments )
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Wheezing to the finish line again
Where else but in the world of care-free Microsoft would you
find server software badged as "2003" with a security update 2005?

Microsoft is the biggest clown show on earth.
Posted by Terry Murphy (82 comments )
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