Launch Date Set for XP Service Pack

Microsoft this weekend released the first Windows XP Service Pack 1 to manufacturing; pack will be generally available Monday, Sept. 9.

Microsoft Corp. this weekend released Windows XP Service Pack 1 to manufacturing, but said the pack will be available for the general public via download or CD on Monday, September 9.

The service pack, which has been in beta since June, will include all the security fixes, application compatibility updates and updated drivers released since the products launch last October.

It also contains all the updates resulting from the Windows code review conducted earlier this year as part of the Trustworthy Computing initiative, as well as support for USB 2.0 and the .NET Framework.

Microsoft also added to the pack a number of elements that comply with the changes required by the consent decree between the software giant, the Department of Justice and the nine settling states.

Those elements include changes that allow both computer manufacturers and users to hide Internet Explorer, Windows Media Player, Windows Messenger, Outlook Express and Microsofts Java virtual machine.

Jim Allchin, Microsofts group vice president for the platforms products group in Redmond, Wash., said SP1 also serves as the core foundation for several soon-to-be-released PC-based entertainment and productivity innovations, including Windows Media Player 9, Windows XP Media Center Edition, Windows XP Tablet PC Edition and Windows-powered Smart Displays.

"Microsoft is always focused on improving the reliability and security of Windows for our customers, and Service Pack 1 is the latest delivery on our commitment to those customers. Windows XP is the fastest-selling Windows license, with retail and OEM sales topping 46 million as of the end of June, just nine months after launch.

"Also in that time, some 30,000 products have been designed for Windows XP by more than 800 development partners," Allchin said.

Microsoft is also urging all Windows XP users to apply Windows XP SP1 to their systems.

The latest update on SP1 follows last weeks release of additional technical information that should let third-party developers create software that works well with Windows. The release of this information is also mandated in its proposed antitrust settlement.

Microsoft also released, in the middle of August, the second service pack for Office XP, which combined previously released and new updates into a single, integrated package.