SP2 will include a greatly enhanced version of Microsofts Internet Connection Firewall (renamed "Windows Firewall") that will allow users greater control over the Internet access of their applications, Nash said. Today, "in many cases, ports are open by default," Nash said. "But when you close all ports, some applications are broken."Other new features on tap for XP SP2 include the following:
Pop-up manager: Pop-up manager is a pop-up blocker that will allow Internet Explorer to detect that a pop-up or pop-up under a window is unwanted. But users will need to turn on this feature, as pop-up blocking will be turned off by default.
Buffer overrun protection: By compiling all of the code changed since XP was released using the latest Visual Studio compiler, Microsoft is claiming it will reduce buffer overrun vulnerabilities.
Accidental download/program installation blocking: Internet Explorer will be set in SP2 to block potentially malicious Web site downloads.
Updated versions of code supporting the Bluetooth wireless standard; DirectX 9.0b; Windows Media Player 9 Series; and unified wireless local-area network client.
Enhanced file attachment handling in Outlook Express and Windows Messenger: Outlook Express will no longer download external content (such as graphics) in HTML mail by default.
With the new firewall, users will not have to choose between turning all ports on or off. Now, they will be able to authorize specific applications to make use of certain ports using an application approval list.