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Microsoft Posts Windows XP SP1

Microsoft posted Windows XP Service Pack 1 to its Web site on Monday as promised for users and administrators to download. The bundle of security and bug fixes can also be ordered for CD shipment.

The service pack arrives a little more than 10 months after Microsoft shipped Windows XP, which was the company's first operating system that combined its business and consumer client operating systems into one code base. Microsoft had announced on Aug. 30 that Windows XP SP1 would be generally available on Monday, Sept. 9.

The moderately large list of fixes for Windows XP SP1 includes issues addressed in more than 300 Microsoft Knowledge Base articles. The sectors with the most fixes are the base operating system with 87 fixes, the shell with 45 fixes, networking with 37 fixes, setup with 33 fixes and management/administration with 31 fixes.

Windows XP shipped before Microsoft chairman and chief software architect Bill Gates' memo about the company's Trustworthy Computing initiative, and SP1 includes security enhancements that resulted from that review.

In all, there are 27 KB articles relating to security issues dealt with in SP1. The Service Pack includes fixes issued in 25 Microsoft Security Bulletins stretching from October 2001 to late August 2002. It even includes a critical fix issued Aug. 28 for a vulnerability that could allow an attacker to delete digital certificates in a users' system.

Fifteen of the included security bulletin patches deal with operating system flaws. The other ten bulletin patches address problems with Internet Explorer 6, which shipped as part of Windows XP.

The highest profile aspects of the first service pack for Windows XP, however, involve the changes made as part of the antitrust settlement agreement. According to Microsoft's interpretation of the agreement, it had to provide users and computer manufacturers with a way to hide Microsoft middleware within the operating system.

After installing the service pack, users and manufacturers can hide Internet Explorer, Windows Media Player, the Microsoft Java Virtual Machine, Windows Messenger and Outlook Express.

Also within Windows XP SP1, Microsoft added support for USB 2.0.

More information and downloads for the service pack are available here:
http://www.microsoft.com/WindowsXP/pro/downloads/servicepacks/sp1/default.asp.

About the Author

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

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