Like the Titanic's passengers, Windows XP users often find themselves in choppy, dangerous waters--instead of hypothermia, think Web viruses; instead of circling sharks, quickly crawling worms. Unfortunately, Microsoft's lifeboats have been, until now, just dinky security patches that saved us from only a few attacks at a time. Last Friday, burlier rescue boats arrived in the form of Microsoft's long-delayed Service Pack 2 (SP2), which will help all of us keep our heads above water. SP2 tightens your PC's security with a new Windows Firewall, an improved Automatic Updates feature, and a pop-up ad blocker for Internet Explorer. Plus, the newly minted Security Center gives you one easy-to-use interface for keeping tabs on your PC's security apps. We suggest you pause before jumping ship, however. We downloaded and installed SP2 and weren't surprised to find a handful of conflicts with existing apps and wireless network settings on some of our test machines. Starting Wednesday, August 18, 2004, Microsoft began offering SP2 to people who have Automatic Updates turned on, but it will still take several weeks before everyone will have the chance to update their computers. Our advice: Be patient and wait until SP2 is made available to your PC via Microsoft's Automatic Updates service. By then, Microsoft should have had enough time to work out the kinks. In order to get our hands on Windows XP Service Pack 2's final code, we downloaded the whopping 266MB network installation package for all of our test machines as soon as it was available at Microsoft's Download Center. We suggest you exercise a bit more patience. After installing SP2, we encountered problems with our wireless network, which we suspect were related to an existing driver that the new version of Windows didn't like. (Microsoft says that some driver conflicts are to be expected.) Previously stable systems developed a tendency to disconnect and jump onto other available wireless local-area networks (WLANs), and one of our test systems kept losing its connection to a secure WLAN completely. Only rebooting would reconnect it.
=Microsoft expects to add SP2 to its online Windows Update service later this month. Download sizes will vary because your system will download only the components of the service pack it needs. If you've diligently updated XP, Microsoft estimates the download will be between 80MB and 100MB. That number could balloon to 270MB for less up-to-date systems
- Localization -English
- Manufacturer -Microsoft
- Min Processor Speed -233 MHz
- Min RAM Size -64 MB
- Min Hard Drive Space -1.5 GB
- Additional Requirements -CD-ROM, SVGA monitor, mouse or compatible device
How To Download
- Click Link For Download
- Use username/password as 12345 to start your download.