"Recent press reports indicating Windows XP Service Pack 2 will install on pirated or illegal copies of Windows XP are not entirely true," said a Microsoft spokesperson. "Instead, prior to installing, SP2 will check the OS product ID [PID] against a list of known pirated PIDs. If a PID is found to be invalid, SP2 will not install." This behavior is essentially similar to that of Windows XP SP1.
Analysts have termed Service Pack 2 a substantial upgrade focusing largely on security enhancements, including a beefed-up firewall with more stringent default settings and a recompilation of large amounts of the operating system with tools designed to defeat common attacks.
Some have suggested that it would be better for all if even pirated copies of Windows had the security enhancements in Windows XP SP2. Microsofts response is that "using genuine software is an important part of keeping systems secure and running smoothly because it means continued access to the latest security enhancements and product updates. Licensed Windows XP, coupled with the upcoming Service Pack 2, will represent Microsofts most secure desktop operating system."
Microsoft has stated it will deliver Release Candidate 2 of Service Pack 2 in May and the final version by midyear.
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