Microsoft will start delivering the service patch through Automatic Updates starting July 26, 2005, but there is a "blocker tool kit" that lets companies stop that specific download until pre-deployment tests are complete.
The blocking tool was originally released on June 21 and is currently available as a free download from the Microsoft.com Web site.
Microsoft insisted that the Windows Server 2003 Service SP1 provides enhanced security, increased reliability and simplified administration for enterprise customers, but acknowledged that some customers may require additional time to download and deploy the service pack.
However, unless the blocking tool is downloaded and implemented over the next few days, the company will start delivering the service pack automatically through its patch deployment mechanisms.
The blocking tool is effective until March 30, 2006.
After March 30, 2006, all of Microsofts Automatic Update-enabled systems will ignore the presence of the registry setting that changes when the blocking toolkit is installed.
Since the company released Windows Server SP1 to the Web, Microsoft officials said there have been more than two million downloads of the service pack, which also serves as the foundation for the new 64-bit Windows Server 2003 releases that the company shipped this spring.
Microsoft first offered a blocking tool when it shipped Windows XP SP2 (Service Pack 2) last summer, because the changes in the service pack caused incompatibility problems with some third-party applications.