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Colleges Upset with XP SP2 Timing

Microsoft's decision to drop Windows XP Service Pack 2 on the world just a few weeks before the start of classes has some higher education IT departments overworked and agitated.

"The timing is extremely unfortunate," Anne Agee, deputy chief information officer at George Mason University told the Washington Post. The newspaper quoted a number of IT administrators at colleges and universities who are concerned about network bandwidth bottlenecks and broken applications as students return to school and begin downloading the huge SP2 file and installing its Windows Firewall component.

Timetables that Microsoft gave earlier this year for Windows XP SP2's release would have been much more convenient for university schedules. If Microsoft had delivered the security-focused update in June, those departments would have had two months to test the final version and plan deployments.

At the same time, there's no doubt Microsoft would have preferred a June rollout, which would have given PC makers enough time to offer new systems running Windows XP with SP2 to the back-to-school crowd. Microsoft has cited quality control issues in explaining the delays.

Some of the university IT managers said they planned to use the tools Microsoft is providing to allow administrators to prevent systems from automatically downloading Service Pack 2. Microsoft offered those tools after seeing a backlash from corporate IT managers over Windows XP SP2. While generally receptive of the service pack's improvements, many corporate IT customers complained about the short amount of time between the service pack's availability and an originally aggressive schedule to roll it out automatically over Automatic Update.

The full Washington Post article is available here.

About the Author

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

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