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Slow Corporate Rollout for Windows XP SP2

If you haven't installed Windows XP Service Pack 2, and feel Microsoft's April 12 deadline bearing down, you're not alone.

Microsoft released SP2 in August and gave organizations tools to prevent Automatic Updates and Windows Update from automatically downloading the service pack for 240 days. That grace period is up on April 12. Although Windows XP SP2 provides important security improvements to the operating system, some of new settings caused problems in dozens of applications.

According to a new study by an IT asset management firm, only 24 percent of corporate Windows XP desktops have been upgraded to Windows XP SP2.

"Based on our research, a substantial number of companies have yet to decide whether to accept or embargo Windows XP SP2," Steve O'Halloran, managing director of the research lab for AssetMetrix, said. AssetMetrix is a five-year-old, Ottawa, Canada-based company providing what it calls an on-demand asset intelligence service.

AssetMetrix's study looked into the level of SP2 penetration in the IT environments of 251 North American companies with more than 136,000 PCs.

According to O'Halloran, 40 percent of companies using Windows XP have actively avoided upgrading to SP2. Only 7 percent have actively accepted SP2. The remaining 52 percent showed no direction or policy toward SP2. Those firms "may find themselves having support issues by allowing multiple editions of Windows XP to exist in their infrastructure," he said.

The low deployment rate is not entirely inconsistent with Microsoft's own public statements about corporate deployments of SP2. In late February, Microsoft executives said that in a survey of 800 enterprise customers, the company received commitments from 77 percent of respondents to deploy SP2 over the next six months.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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