Wednesday, April 6, 2005

A survey of 251 North American companies revealed that less than 10% of their computers have Windows XP Service Pack 2 installed. The results of the study, conducted by AssetMetrix, were released this week after 136,000 PCs running Microsoft’s Windows operating system were examined. Although many of the companies in the poll are still using earlier releases of Windows, such as Windows 2000 and Windows 98, only 24% of businesses using Windows XP had successfully rolled out SP2.

Released in September 2004, SP2 includes security improvements for the Windows XP operating system, including an enhanced firewall and a pop-up ad blocker for Internet Explorer. [1] When it was first made available, businesses could opt to postpone installation of the service pack so that their respective IT departments could prepare for the update. However on April 12, Microsoft will force users to upgrade to SP2 via their automatic Windows Update system, which delivers software over the Internet. AssetMetrix believe this move will catch out unprepared companies.

“Microsoft allowed a significant period of time to accommodate companies’ demand to test and validate Windows XP SP2 within their IT infrastructure,” explained AssetMetrix Research Labs’ managing director Steve O’Halloran.

He added: “Based on our research, a substantial number of companies have yet to decide whether to accept or embargo Windows XP SP2. To date, we have observed that 40 percent of companies using Windows XP have actively avoided upgrading to SP2, and only 7 percent have actively accepted it. The other 52 percent of the companies showed no direction or policy towards SP2, and may find themselves having support issues by allowing multiple editions of Windows XP to exist in their infrastructure.”

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