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Windows XP SP2 Delayed

The release of Windows XP Service Pack 2, a major update of the two-and-a-half-year-old operating system, is being pushed back into the second half of the year, Microsoft said Thursday.

Windows XP Service Pack 2 is an unusual service pack because Microsoft is using it to add several major security features to the operating system. New security features in SP2 include a more robust, on-by-default firewall called the Windows Firewall; a Windows Security Center that centralizes management of firewall, anti-virus and patching for users; ad-blocking technology; and download blocking technology.

"Service Pack 2 had been scheduled for release in the first half of this year, but we have consistently maintained the exact date would be based on feedback we receive from customers," a Microsoft spokesman said.

"Because Microsoft continues to receive and incorporate that feedback, the release to manufacturing is now expected sometime this summer," the spokesman said. "Ultimately the final release will ship when Service Pack 2 meets the quality standards our customers demand, as we said all along."

Release Candidate 1 of Windows XP Service Pack 2 has been out since mid-March. Microsoft still plans a Release Candidate 2 testing phase, the spokesman said, but he added, "We do not have a specific date for Release Candidate 2."

About the Author

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