Microsoft Ships XP Service Pack 2 RC1 to Testers "Windows XP SP2 RC1 includes a number of new features, when compared to the initial December 2003 beta release. Chief among these are:
- Security Center. A dashboard for configuring Windows Firewall, Automatic Updates, antivirus protection, the latter of which works with third party products.
- Internet Explorer pop-up window blocker. Now on by default, IE's pop-up window blocker prevents malicious Web sites from opening unwanted windows.
- New Windows Update experience. XP SP2 users will be treated to a much improved version of Windows Update, which more efficiently provides access to critical updates.
- New Windows Firewall. Also on by default now, the Windows Firewall provides users with protection against network- and Internet-based attacks.
- Integrated Windows Media Player 9 Series, DirectX 9.0b, Bluetooth, Windows Update Services client, and other features released since XP first shipped in October 2001.
As previously reported, XP SP2 includes the "Lonestar" updates to Windows XP Tablet PC Edition, so users with Tablet PC devices will upgrade their systems to XP Tablet PC Edition 2004 when they install SP2. New to SP2 RC1 is the inclusion of the Windows XP Media Center Edition (MCE) 2004 for Media Center PC users. XP MCE 2004 provides users with new features like "improved TV picture quality, an enhanced music library, a richer photo experience and access to music and video on demand through Online Spotlight," according to Microsoft."
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