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Update Blocker Expires This Month for Windows Server 2003 SP2

Redmond is discontinuing its update blocker tool function for Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 2 users, Microsoft announced this week. Automatic Updates will commence starting in June.

On its Windows Server Division blog, Microsoft intimated that it's been a year since the release of this particular service pack, so users have had more than enough time to upgrade.

Here's how the blocker tool works. When activated, even if users have opted for Automatic Updates to take place, the program prevents the workstation or server from loading the new service packs. The blocking lasts for up to a year.

This tool was designed to give IT pros and do-it-yourself tech enthusiasts both the elasticity and discretion in enabling Automatic Updates. Deferring such updates is one way to control for any glitches that may accompany the service pack rollouts.

According to Microsoft, the blocker toolkit contains three main elements, which are an executable system management function, a script template and an ADM or administrative template. The ADM allows systems admin professionals to do a one-stop block using group policy settings for the delivery of service packs.

Most of the three components are designed to work with registry keys in Windows to detect and block downloads from Windows Update. However, after a year -- Microsoft's usual grace period -- the blocking stops.

The demise of the blocking tool was highlighted by Ward Ralston, Microsoft's senior technical product manager for server products, on the Windows Server blog.

"Organizations should be aware that over the next month, support for Windows Server 2003 SP2 within the blocker tool will be phased out," Ralston wrote. "Windows Server 2003 SP2 will then be automatically offered, downloaded and/or installed…."

Blocks can be useful to avoid troublesome scenarios, such as the problem that sprung up two weeks ago with PCs using Advanced Micro Devices microprocessors after Windows XP Service Pack 3 upgrades were applied. Those machines faced an endless reboot problem, but the problem has since been remedied.

About the Author

Jabulani Leffall is an award-winning journalist whose work has appeared in the Financial Times of London, Investor's Business Daily, The Economist and CFO Magazine, among others.

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