Microsoft Plans Interim Service Pack 2 Release

Microsoft denies claims that it is going to release a third release candidate of Windows XP Service Pack 2. Instead of a large scale public distribution, a limited number of testers will receive an interim build prior to when the product is released to manufacturing.

A notice posted Windows Update v5 announcements newsgroup told beta testers to expect a post RC2 build. This led to speculation among Windows enthusiast sites who in turn entertained the notion of another public release candidate.

Commenting on the rumor of a third service pack a Microsoft spokesperson told BetaNews, "At present, Microsoft has no plans to issue a third release candidate for Windows XP Service Pack 2. Windows XP SP2 is on track to ship later this summer."

Service Pack 2 fortifies Windows XP with new security features such as: a new version of Internet Explorer that includes a pop-up blocker and a download manager; memory protection against buffer overruns; e-mail safeguards for Outlook Express; Windows Firewall; and new security settings for Windows Media Player 9.

To limit the damage intruders can cause once they compromised a system, privileges assigned to system services including Remote Procedure Call (RPC) have been reduced. Microsoft has also redesigned its Distributed Component Object Model (DCOM) with granular COM permissions.

In addition, a new interface called Windows Security Center scans for the third-party antivirus protection, manages automatic system updates and manages Windows Firewall.

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