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Microsoft delays auto delivery of XP SP2 to corporate users

Aug 16, 20043 mins
Enterprise ApplicationsMicrosoftPatch Management Software

Responding to customer complaints, Microsoft Monday said it would delay the automatic rollout of Windows XP Service Pack 2 to corporate users until the end of the month.

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The company sent a memo to its corporate customers saying the delay was in response to feedback from those customers who said they need more time to install a registry key on desktops that will block the automatic delivery of XP SP2. Users want to block the automatic installation of the service pack so they can have adequate time to test their applications against security changes in XP SP2.

We made this decision on Friday based on feedback from corporate customers,” says Barry Goffe, group product manager for Windows product marketing.  “They asked for more time to put into place the temporary blocking mechanism.”

But Goffe said, “we also do not want to slow down deployments via Automatic Updates, so this was the best compromise that we could find.”

Last week, Microsoft released a set of templates and scripts for users of Automatic Updates, an operating system feature for automatically installing new patches and updates, that would block XP SP2 but required configuration changes to the desktop OS.

Microsoft Monday was scheduled to begin automatically pushing the service pack to corporations and others who were using the Automatic Updates feature on their desktops.

“The machines in your organization using Automatic Update will not receive Windows XP SP2 until Wednesday, August 25 – at the earliest – as long as those machines are running Windows XP Professional Edition,” the memo said.

Microsoft on Wednesday will begin automatically pushing out the service pack to users of XP Home Edition.

Corporate users were caught off guard when Microsoft recently decided to deliver XP SP2 via Automatic Updates after saying as late as December that it would not use Automatic Updates to distribute service packs. The change in policy had the potential of robbing companies of time to test the service pack against their applications given warnings that XP SP2 could break some of those applications.

Microsoft, on the other hand, underestimated the number of corporate users who rely on Automatic Updates to keep desktops adequately patched.

Last week, those users inundated Microsoft with complaints about the automatic upgrades decision. Microsoft responded by creating the registry key to block XP SP2 upgrades.

Microsoft also will delay access until Aug. 25 to XP SP2 from the Windows Update Web site, the online patch repository used by Automatic Updates.

Also on Monday, Microsoft posted a list of nearly 230 applications, including versions of BizTalk, Office and Outlook, that “may behave differently after you install Windows XP SP2.”