Last month's XP SP2 rollout was one of the highest-profile software releases yet. Unlike previous service packs and hotfixes, SP2 (justifiably) received lots of media hype. Rapid deployment on a significant portion of XP systems is also expected. What's more, the changes introduced by SP2 may significantly impact your Web site's usability.

XP SP2 introduces a complete shift in the security philosophy of Microsoft: Rather than pursuing the old "find a bug and fix it" strategy of rolling out hotfix, upon hotfix, the software giant has adopted a "lock it down unless you need it" strategy, bringing Windows into compliance with industry best practices.

XP SP2's functionality may impact the way users view your Web site. Given an expected widespread deployment, there are steps you can take to ensure that XP SP2 will minimally impact your Web site users' experience.

Top issues to consider:
  • Authenticode and ActiveX controls
    Windows IE now blocks the installation of ActiveX controls with invalid signatures by default. While you can override this setting on systems that you administer (for internal applications), you should no longer depend upon Internet users overcoming this issue.

  • ActiveX blacklist
    Users now have the option to permanently reject all ActiveX installation requests from a particular publisher by selecting "Never install software from 'Publisher,'" when prompted to install a control.

  • ActiveX installation

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