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Windows Server 2003 SP1 Released to Manufacturing

Microsoft on Wednesday night released to manufacturing the long-awaited Service Pack 1 for Windows Server 2003. The company also released to manufacturing the x64 editions of Windows Server and Windows XP.

"With Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1, our development team took the time to treat the root cause of many security issues, not just the symptoms. This service pack is very significant and should help address certain classes of exploits," Bob Muglia, senior vice president of the Windows Server Division at Microsoft, said in a statement. "Service Pack 1 is a major component of our overall strategy to help keep customers as secure as possible. I encourage all of our Windows Server 2003 customers to deploy Service Pack 1."

In addition to the normal group of bug fixes, the service pack also includes substantial security improvements to Windows Server 2003, including a Security Configuration Wizard, the Windows Firewall and a technology called Post-Setup Security Updates, which blocks inbound connections during setup until Windows Update has delivered the latest updates.

Microsoft originally planned to deliver SP1 in the fourth quarter of 2003, about a half year after originally shipping Windows Server 2003. The company later overhauled its plans as virus and worm concerns forced a reconsideration of service pack plans for both Windows XP and Windows Server 2003. Windows Server 2003 SP1 builds on many of the security measures included in Windows XP SP2, which was released in August.

The 337 MB SP1 download is available immediately from the Microsoft Download Center here.

Simultaneously, the company released to manufacturing four operating system editions designed to accommodate the 64-bit extensions to the x86 architecture that are supported in the AMD Opteron and Athlon64 processors and Intel processors featuring EM64T.

Those operating systems are Windows XP Professional x64 Edition, Windows Server 2003 x64 Standard Edition, Windows Server 2003 x64 Enterprise Edition and Windows Server 2003 x64 Datacenter Edition.

General availability of those x64 operating systems, which are built on top of SP1, will be unveiled at the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference in late April.

About the Author

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