Microsoft has put pen to paper in outlining its vision for Windows Update. Even though version 4 is still in use by beta testers, Microsoft has drawn up its roadmap for the service's next generation, which includes SP2 for Windows XP and an updated release of Internet Explorer.
Windows Update 5.0 is set to enter into testing before the end of this year and extends patching capabilities to the full monty of Microsoft products including Office, SQL Server, Exchange, as well as Windows.
The update will be completed in time to coincide with the launch of Windows XP Service Pack 2, arguably the first major revision to Microsoft's flagship desktop operating system. Beta testers on the Windows Update roster were notified this week that they will test the new service pack.
Service Pack 2 is slated to modify numerous security settings in Windows XP, such as enabling Internet Connection Firewall by default and disabling the Messenger service that has plagued users with unwanted spam. The automatic download of critical patches will be enabled to ensure users systems' are protected from the latest malicious code to spawn from the depths of the Internet.
Windows will also receive a new version of Internet Explorer, expected to number 6.05. "SP2 will include an update to IE that adds pop-up blocking," a Microsoft spokesperson confirmed to BetaNews. "The current plan is to include this in SP2, and we are taking customer feedback that will be considered for the final decision."
Beyond IE, Microsoft said it was too soon to speculate on changes that Windows Update 5.0 would bring in the future.
"Microsoft is continuously seeking feedback on how to make the tool even more valuable to its customers. Until we begin to get a clear sense of the feedback from testers and the testing process is further along, it is too early to say exactly what changes might be in store or when V5 might be ready for public release," said a spokesperson.
However, the way Microsoft products will be serviced is set to drastically change. As previously reported by BetaNews, Microsoft is endeavoring to improve the patching process in Windows from start to finish. The Windows Installer Program 3.0 and Software Update Services 2.0 are also currently undergoing development and testing.