Microsoft extends life of XP SP2 download blocker

Customers will now have more time to test the upgrade for Windows XP before it is automatically downloaded.

Microsoft is giving customers a little more time to test Windows XP Service Pack 2 by extending the time that a download-blocking mechanism will be in effect.

The software company offers a blocking tool that prevents the download of XP SP2 from Windows Update or Automatic Update. The tool originally was scheduled to prevent the download of XP SP2 for 120 days from Aug. 16. The company said on Monday that it will extend the tool's ability to block downloads until April 12, 2005.

Microsoft said the change of timing was based on customer feedback, and gives them more time to plan for a deployment of XP SP2. As of April 12, 2005, Automatic Update and Windows Update will deliver SP2 "regardless of the presence of the blocking mechanism."

The date coincides with Microsoft's Patch Tuesday, and it's likely that other security updates might be available on that day.

From a systems management standpoint, at least one analyst praised Microsoft's willingness to give IT managers more time to work out the kinks, assuming there are any. The download is large, and for IT departments that have to install it, it's fair to say that it's not just something that people casually install on their machines, said Fred Broussard, an analyst at International Data Corp., a Framingham, Mass., market research firm.

"Microsoft is challenged on both sides," Broussard said "It needs to make sure its products stay updated. But you don't want to shove something this large down someone's throat without giving them some benefit of the doubt."

This article originally appeared on SearchWin2000.com.

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