Will Microsoft Offer XP SP2 Security to Older Windows?
Microsoft has plans to port some of its Service Pack 2 updates and fixes to other Microsoft products. Redmond won't elaborate yet, but some of its testers will.The world must wait until late July at the earliest until Microsoft Corp. delivers the final release of Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2). But that isnt stopping testers and customers from asking what Microsofts intentions are, in terms of back-porting the SP2 updates and fixes to other Microsoft operating systems and related products. Despite an official silence on the topic, Microsoft is cooking up a plan, sources said. However, Windows customers running older versions of the operating system or specific programs should expect a piecemeal approach to SP2s security-minded features. SP2, code-named "Springboard," is primarily a collection of security fixes. With SP2, Microsoft is turning on its built-in Windows Firewall by default; including new browser and e-mail safeguards and enhancing XPs memory protection features, company officials have said.
Microsoft late Monday offered Windows XP Service Pack 2 Release Candidate 2 (RC2) to a narrow group of developers and testers. Insiders expected the company to provide the RC2 package widely on Tuesday.
Microsoft officials have said that the SP2 updates will be applied to the Windows XP Tablet PC Edition 2005 and Media Center Edition 2005 products due out this year. It also plans to make the applicable SP2 updates available for the Internet Explorer 6 code that is part of Windows Server 2003. (These updates will be part of Service Pack 1 for Windows Server 2003, due out later this year.) But Microsoft has other back-porting plans for the Springboard technologies, too, said testers who requested anonymity. Microsoft is "highly likely" to make the Springboard updates available for IE 6 for Windows 2000 Service Pack 5. And it has told some of its partners that it is considering strongly making the IE-specific Springboard updates available for Windows NT, Windows 98, Windows 98 Second Edition and Windows Millennium Edition, the testing sources said. However, Microsoft is dead-set against porting Springboard to "standalone" versions of IE: IE 6 Service Pack 2 and IE 5.5, the testing sources added.