August 19, 2004 12:17 PM PDT

Microsoft sends security update to home PCs

Microsoft has started to send out its latest major security patch to home PCs--but some people won't get it for a while.

The first computer owners to get Windows XP Service Pack 2 began receiving it on Wednesday night, Microsoft said. The update is being sent to people who have the automatic update feature turned on in the operating system. But it will take at least a few weeks to deliver the 80-plus megabyte patch to the installed user base, a company representative said on Thursday.

"By October, everyone who wants it will have had the chance to get it," the representative said.

Placing SP2 to the Windows Update service is the final step in Microsoft's introduction of the security patch. The company had delayed distributing the update through the automatic process so that companies could block the patch until after they had fully tested it. Microsoft has already listed some applications that are affected by the new software.

While some security researchers warn that flaws have already been found in the update, the SP2 patch promises to boost security for Windows XP users.

Microsoft says the update adds better security to Windows XP's handling of network data, program memory, browsing activity and e-mail messages, by changing the system's code and configuration. A revamped firewall, for example, attempts to prevent malicious applications on a PC from connecting to the Internet by requiring that the user give specific permission for each attempt.

The SP2 software, which took almost a year to develop, is seen by many as a response to the attack launched by the MSBlast worm on Aug. 11, 2003. Almost 26 days before, Microsoft had issued a patch for the security hole exploited by the worm. However, many people did not install the fix, even though there was widespread expectation that a virus would be created to take advantage of the flaw.

Microsoft plans to cap the number of home PCs updated each day so that demand for the update does not overwhelm its servers, the company representative said.


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I find it ironic that the software that is supposed to make computers less vulnerable to worms, trojans and virii can only be obtained by leaving your computer connected to the internet until the patch is downloaded on Microsoft's schedule.

What, then, is the point of Seems somewhat worthless to me.

I know it's not a good idea to be on the cutting edge with Microsoft patches, but this is one patch I'd like to install sooner versus later.
Posted by TV James (680 comments )
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You can get it now
Go to the Windows page for IT professionals. You can download the whole thing (272mb) from there

<a class="jive-link-external" href=";displaylang=en" target="_newWindow">;displaylang=en</a>

I installed it over the weekend...
Posted by tOxiCwaSTe (5 comments )
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Yep, and there's a small installer here, too:

<a class="jive-link-external" href="" target="_newWindow"></a>

I got the entire 272MB thing last night because the small installer kept having connection problems.
Posted by TV James (680 comments )
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I appreciated the comment , however one question; after reading all surveys and comments about the new Microsoft Patch, I am absolutely skeptical about its usefullness if you are already equpped with firewalls and antivirus ; if some people cannot even access after reboot to last good configuration or safe mode , or have to use full drive backup to come back to a prior working configuation , is it serious to proceed just in order to see if you get trouble!!!!? My opinion is no. I will not install this patch , at least for the moment . OLIVIER GEBUHRER
Posted by GERONIMO (1 comment )
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