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SP6 Hits Premier Customer Site

Microsoft Corp. has posted Windows NT 4.0 Service Pack 6 for premier customers, meaning the OS patch is likely to be available for the rest of the world shortly. SP6 has been in beta testing for several months.

The service pack, the second since Microsoft changed its strategy on Windows NT service packs to include only fixes rather than new features, focuses on demonstrated problems, Year 2000 fixes, Euro issues, and security updates.

SP6 is not a requirement for Y2K compliance. It contains four Y2K fixes addressing a delay in updating the BIOS date value, incorrect conversion of two digit dates in NNTP Service, wrong dates in the system command line, and a problem with the “Net User/Times” command in 2000.

There are 10 security updates identified in Microsoft’s documentation for SP6, including a pair of denial of service vulnerabilities and the screen saver vulnerability that allowed user privileges to be elevated.

About 60 MB of storage are required for SP6.

Four versions are available: standard encryption and high encryption for both Intel and Alpha customers.

Documentation for SP6 had not been finalized late Wednesday at the download site. Several hyperlinks had yet to go live, and included the promise “Coming Soon.”

The service pack was to represent the end of the line for Windows NT on Alpha development. Compaq Computer Corp. decided earlier this year to stop development on Windows NT on Alpha, and Microsoft quickly cut the platform out of its plans for Windows 2000 and 64-bit Windows. Both companies had planned to end Windows NT development work for the Alpha platform after SP6, although support will continue.

The service pack doesn’t update Windows NT Server 4.0, Terminal Server Edition. The latest service pack for Terminal Server is SP4, released in April. According to Microsoft documentation, an SP5 for Terminal Server is coming soon. -- Scott Bekker

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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