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Windows XP SP2 Installs Grinding Along

Microsoft is ratcheting up its Windows XP Service Pack 2 distributions as the company seeks to meet an internal goal of getting the critical security update out to about 40 percent of its Windows XP installed base within two months of SP2's release.

On releasing SP2 to manufacturing on Aug. 6, Microsoft said in a statement, "Microsoft expects to distribute Service Pack 2 to approximately 100 million PCs through Automatic Updates over the next two months."

A charitable interpretation gives Microsoft until Oct. 18, two months from the date the company started distributing SP2 to Windows XP Home Edition customers over Automatic Update. That appears to be the date range that Microsoft is using internally.

When asked about progress toward the goal, Microsoft provided numbers that run up until Sept. 17, the halfway point on the Microsoft upgrade effort.

"As of Sept. 17, customers had installed more than 20 million copies of SP2 on computers worldwide," a Microsoft spokesperson said. "That number mainly encompasses consumers and small business customers -- many of Microsoft's large enterprise customers are also busy implementing the update, and they're also reporting good results."

Microsoft officials positioned the low number of downloads (relative to the ambitious goal) as less than half of what it expected to see by mid-October. "Please keep in mind that Microsoft is aggressively monitoring and managing SP2 downloads and is increasing the number of downloads per day over time," the spokesperson said.

According to market researchers at IDC, the worldwide installed base of Windows XP systems is 255 million. That number represents about half of all Windows-based PCs, analysts say.

About the Author

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

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