Several Updates Out Already for Windows XP

Although Microsoft Corp. began shipping Windows XP last week, the software giant has already released several updates for its flagship desktop operating system.

Shortly after XP launched, Microsoft posted a “Critical Update” package to its Windows Update Web site. This update contains fixes for at least two bugs that are associated with Windows XP’s integrated Internet Explorer 6.0 Web browser component. XP users are automatically alerted to the presence of this update and encouraged to download and install it. The software giant hasn’t yet been able to confirm whether any additional vulnerabilities are patched by the first Windows XP critical update package, however.

Microsoft also made several additional Windows XP enhancements available on its Windows Update Web site.

“In addition to the security update, Microsoft last week also made available to users hundreds of additional drivers [that have been] updated over the last two months, as well as enhancements to Windows Messenger and Windows XP Media Player,” comments Frank Kane, a spokesman with Microsoft’s Windows XP team.

Concerning device drivers, especially, Microsoft’s Kane says that hundreds of additional drivers have been certified to meet the software giant’s “Designed for Windows” logo since the XP code was first released to manufacturing (RTM) in late August. Ordinarily, users would have to search for these drivers themselves and download them manually in order to install them. As a result of Windows XP’s integrated “Windows Update” facility, however, most users should be able to transparently download drivers from the Windows Update Web site whenever they’re needed.

“If a user's computer needs new or updated drivers, Windows Update will detect and display a recommended list of drivers for that computer with the user only seeing a list of drivers that match the devices on their system,” Kane confirms.

Microsoft has also made available a new software upgrade that it claims will enhance Windows XP’s support for (so-called) “legacy” 16- and 32-bit applications (designed to run under Windows 9x, Windows Millennium, Windows NT 4.0 or Windows 2000). According to Microsoft’s Kane, users can update their Windows XP operating systems to provide support for more than forty additional “legacy” applications that were reported to Microsoft after XP RTM’ed.

In addition to providing updates for its instant messaging and media player client software, The software giant also made a variety of Windows XP “Power Tools” available for first-time download, as well.

About the Author

Stephen Swoyer is a Nashville, TN-based freelance journalist who writes about technology.

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