Beta of Windows XP SP1 Released

Microsoft took a big step toward delivering the first service pack for Windows XP this week by releasing a beta version of the patch for select test users.

The first service pack for a Microsoft operating system is always a key threshold for many IT administrators who don't consider Microsoft products enterprise-ready until an SP1 is out. First service packs for Windows operating systems normally ship within six months to a year of the initial release. Windows XP has been out for about eight months.

The most interesting element of the new service pack is a feature to make the client operating system compliant with the antitrust consent decree. The service pack also includes some security enhancements that stem from the Trustworthy Computing initiative and the standard collection of security fixes, application compatibility updates and driver updates common to most service packs, according to Microsoft.

The consent decree compliance comes in the form of new interfaces to allow users to hide Microsoft middleware, including Internet Explorer, Outlook Express, Windows Media Player and Windows Messenger. Although the process removes the icons, the middleware applications remain on the system.

"Microsoft is fulfilling its commitment to implement the changes required by the consent decree signed with the Department of Justice and nine settling states," a Microsoft spokesperson said.

Nine other states and the District of Columbia did not sign the consent decree and are pursuing more severe remedies. U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotally has not yet ruled on the non-settling states request or the consent decree.

About the Author

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