Microsoft\u00a0Thursday released a fix for the Windows XP Service Pack 2 installation package it provided to corporate users of its free patch deployment server to correct a flaw that would not allow IT to stealthily install the service pack without end-user intervention.The problem affected those using Microsoft\u2019s Software Update Services (SUS), a free Windows server add-on that runs behind a corporate firewall. SUS allows companies to create a centralized internal staging area and schedule the distribution of patches after they are tested and approved instead of downloading patches from Microsoft directly to desktops.Microsoft informed users that the deployment of XP SP2 through SUS would be \u201csilent\u201d and not require any end-user intervention, but that turned out not to be the case to the surprise and dismay of users.\u201cClient computers did not silently install the service pack at the scheduled time,\u201d says Brian Dor\u00e9, an administrator in the office of information systems at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. \u201cInstead they wait for a user login and prompt to start the SP2 Wizard and [end user license agreement]. Users can also cancel the install at this point.\u00a0Obviously it was a major problem.\u201dDor\u00e9 says the university typically silently installs service packs in the wee hours of the morning.\u201cUsers that arrived at work the next morning were greeted with the SP2 Wizard when they logged on and were given the choice to cancel or install. Those that canceled were not patched.\u00a0 Those that accepted the install could not use their computers for up to 30 minutes while the patch installed.\u201dSo instead of having his desktops updated, Dor\u00e9 was left with a hodge-podge of patched and unpatched clients and forced to temporarily block his SUS server from distributing SP2.The fix was made available Thursday and SUS users will automatically get a small update file when they synchronize SUS servers with the Microsoft Windows Update service that provides patches, according to Microsoft officials. Users also can execute a manual download to get the file. The synchronization will not download the entire XP SP2 package if it has already been downloaded.Microsoft officials said the problem was with the \u201cinstall parameters\u201d of the XP SP2 package made available to SUS users and not with XP SP2 itself. The fix is contained in a 1M-byte file called aurtf.cab, which contains the metadata to update the XP SP2 install package for SUS.SUS works in conjunction with a client side mechanism called Automatic Updates, which grabs the patches from the SUS server and installs them on the desktop. Last week, Microsoft issued a set of tweaks for Automatic Updates that block it for the next 120 days from automatically downloading XP SP2 directly from Microsoft\u2019s Windows Update service. Users had asked for more time to test the patch before Automatic Updates kicked off on Monday.Microsoft is expected soon to post information on the SUS issue on its\u00a0SUS Web site.