Why so much hype about SP2 in the newsletter?

Dennis Faas's picture

Infopackets Reader James T. writes:

" Dear Dennis,

I read and enjoy your newsletter everyday that it's published -- yet, I can't understand why (as of late) you've giving so much hype to Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2)?

I agree that SP2 is a critical and necessary update; nonetheless, Microsoft's Service Pack releases almost always coincide with incompatibility issues. As with any Service Pack, I feel, there is no guarantee that it will install successfully -- nor is there a guarantee for anything, when dealing with computers.

... My reason for writing you today, in fact, is with respect to statement you made in a previous newsletter. The statement in question reads: 'I am now enjoying the benefits that SP2 has to offer, and have piece of mind knowing that my system isn't going to require a band-aid hot fix for any newly discovered exploits.'

What exactly did you mean by this? As you know -- and anyone who has dealt with Microsoft long enough -- there will most certainly be hot fixes to come in the future for XP, unless Microsoft drops support for XP (due to product 'End of Life', for example). Care to comment? "

My response:

Normally when a newsletter is sent out, I'll receive anywhere from 25 ~ 30 new questions a day from readers: typically based on recent issues and discussions highlighted in our newsletter.

As you know, SP2 was released by Microsoft in August 2004; since then, I have continued to receive a land-slide of questions pertaining to Service Pack 2 -- reaching upwards of approximately 500 emails to date.

The hype on SP2 is in part of the eBook release, but more importantly, to address the frequently asked questions (FAQs) from our Readers. It is particularly helpful for me to answer FAQs through the newsletter, so that I can direct users to articles when responding to SP2-related questions in email.

RE: What did you mean by 'band-aid hotfix'?

When I made the comment about a 'band-aid hotfix', I was referencing a previous article I wrote, which highlighted the security benefits of Service Pack 2 -- versus not having it installed on your system. To recap:

' Those who have installed SP2 have already been protected against a number of recently discovered exploits (such as the Jpeg of Death); those who choose not to install SP2 will continue to require 'band-aid' hot-fixes to patch their already-out-of-date systems -- and only when they become available. If you have already been hit with myDoom Internet worm or the soBig virus, then you know how important it is to protect your computer from these malicious and potentially catastrophic exploits.

Side note: A new 'myDoom' worm variant has been discovered as early as November 9, 2004. TechRepublic.com reports that "the flaw affects Internet Explorer 6.0 on Windows 2000 and Windows XP Service Pack 1. Users who have installed Windows XP Service Pack 2 are immune to the programs that use the vulnerability, including the two new variants of the MyDoom virus." (Source: techrepublic.com) '

Granted, hot fixes will always be available regardless of what Service Pack you have installed (so long as the operating system is still supported by Microsoft, as you pointed out).

Thanks for your questions!

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