106 Million XP SP2 Downloads Tallied
The tally is in: Just two months after Windows XP Service Pack 2 was publicly distributed, users worldwide have downloaded in excess of 106 million copies of the update. According to Microsoft, approximately 90 million copies were downloaded via Automatic update, Windows Update and Microsoft's Download Center; another 16 million copies were distributed on compact discs.
Windows XP SP2 is an operating system update deemed critical by Microsoft because it was designed with a single goal in mind: Security. The second service pack fortifies Windows XP with stronger default security settings; a new version of Internet Explorer that includes a pop-up blocker and a retooled download manager; automatic updating; memory protection against buffer overruns; e-mail safeguards for Outlook Express; Windows Firewall; and new security settings for Windows Media Player 9.
According to Microsoft, the 106 million distributions mainly encompasses consumers and small business customers. A company spokesperson could not quantify the number of enterprises that have deployed the update, but claimed that customers were reporting "good results."
Due to the sweeping changes that it introduces to Windows, many network administrators have forestalled the installation of SP2, which is a truly massive update in comparison to past service packs. That said, Microsoft responded to customer feedback and their fears of disruption, providing network administrators with additional time to validate their installations.
Microsoft support has issued a tool that temporarily blocks the delivery of SP2 through automatic updating. The tool will cease to operate on April 12, 2005. In addition, a list of SP2 incompatibilities was issued to help smooth the transition.