Microsoft Releases XP Service Pack 2; Public Will Get Update Over Time "Windows XP SP2 will also be the subject of a massive marketing campaign, with Microsoft attempting to get the update into as many users' hands as possible. This campaign will include free SP2 CDs, both via Web order and at retail stores, and an effort to get electronics retailers to update already stocked XP machines to SP2. PC makers will begin shipping new PCs with XP SP2 in the next 6 to 8 weeks, and Microsoft intends to deliver over 25 localized versions over the next two months.
So what's the big deal? Despite its service pack moniker, Windows XP SP2 is nothing short of a major new version of Windows. The only real difference between this release and a full Windows upgrade is that SP2 focuses almost exclusively on security updates. "Service Pack 2 is a significant step in delivering on our goal to help customers make their PCs better isolated and more resilient in the face of increasingly sophisticated attacks," said Microsoft chairman Bill Gates. "It is the result of sustained investments in innovation and extensive industry collaboration. It also reflects a broad recognition that as the security environment changes, the industry needs to work together to respond."
XP's security updates focus on three key areas. First, the product includes stronger base security settings than the initial version of XP, with a variety of technological changes aimed at protecting users against broad types of electronic attacks. Second, XP SP2 provides new and simpler security management tools, both for end users and administrators. And third, SP2 includes a number of updated components, all of which have been designed to offer better security than their predecessors; these components include a new wireless client, Bluetooth support, and new versions of Windows Media Player and DirectX."