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Windows XP SP2 Distributions Pass 200 Million

Microsoft distributed more than 218 million copies of Windows XP Service Pack 2, a senior Microsoft executive told an audience of Microsoft partners on Sunday.

The Windows XP SP2 count serves as one key benchmark of Microsoft's progress on security. SP2, a free upgrade for Windows XP users, enhances security through a much-improved firewall, a security dashboard, additional protections in Internet Explorer and a partial code-base rewrite.

Mike Nash, corporate vice president of Microsoft's Security Business and Technology Unit, provided the number during a keynote on Microsoft's security progress Sunday at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference in Minneapolis.

The 218 million is an increase over a figure of 170 million provided by Bill Gates at the RSA Security Conference in February. Microsoft has more than doubled the amount of SP2 in the field since it distributed 106 million copies in the two months after SP2's August 2004 release.

When it comes to the security of Windows XP systems, Nash said an internal Microsoft analysis shows SP2 makes systems are 13 to 15 times less likely to be infected by some of the most prevalent malicious software than versions of Windows XP with no service pack or with SP1.

On the server side, Nash said Microsoft has distributed two million copies of Windows Server 2003 SP1 since its March 2005 release. Windows Server 2003 SP1 brings several of the improvements in Windows XP SP2 to the server.

Offering other hard evidence of Microsoft's ongoing security push, Nash said that more than 15,000 Microsoft developers, program managers and testers have received training on developing more secure code; and that there have been 21 million downloads of the Windows AntiSpyware beta.

Nash also said Microsoft is working on a tool for Systems Management Server to help customers better manage software updating. The tool is called the SMS Inventory Tool.

About the Author

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

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