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Beta 1 of SP2 for Windows Server 2003 Begins

Microsoft announced it has begun shipping Beta 1 of Service Pack 2 for Windows Server 2003 and Windows XP Professional x64 edition. However, the beta is billed as "private."

The service pack focuses on the "fundamentals of improving security, reliability, performance, compatibility, interoperability, management and deployment," the company said in a statement.

SP2 includes all current security updates for Windows Server 2003, as well as all previously released hotfixes aimed at addressing issues uncovered by specific customers after SP1 shipped.

In addition, SP2 adds limited functional changes meant to improve deployment, management and security, or adds new hardware support. These include Scalable Networking Pack (SNP) and Wi-Fi Protected Accdess 2 (WPA2), the company said.

Because the update contains no major changes, Microsoft officials anticipate SP2 will have minimal impact on users and administrators in terms of testing and deployment. Versions are available for x86, x64 and Itanium releases of Windows Server 2003.

Microsoft said the service pack is set for release towards the end of the year, but cautioned that quality will determine timing of the release and not vice versa.

About the Author

Stuart J. Johnston has covered technology, especially Microsoft, since February 1988 for InfoWorld, Computerworld, Information Week, and PC World, as well as for Enterprise Developer, XML & Web Services, and .NET magazines.

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