Windows Server 2003 SP1 Released

The first and long-awaited service pack for Windows Server 2003 has gone gold and is now available for download. SP1 includes many of the same enhancements found in Windows XP SP2, fortifying the operating system with a bevy of security updates. SP1 also provides the groundwork for Microsoft's 64-bit Windows releases.

"I am happy to announce that Windows Server 2003 SP1 has been shipped for English and German. Just a short time ago, at 5:20 PM Pacific Standard Time, the final call was made," Microsoft beta coordinator Sam White announced in an e-mail to testers.

Service Pack 1 for Windows Server 2003 tightens Internet Explorer security, adds the Windows Firewall and new Security Configuration Wizard and offers customers a "Post-setup Security Update Wizard," which patches any outstanding security holes before a server boots up for the first time.

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"With Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1, our development team took the time to treat the root cause of many security issues, not just the symptoms. This service pack is very significant and should help address certain classes of exploits," said Bob Muglia, senior vice president Microsoft's Windows Server Division.

SP1 also adds support for "no execute" hardware restrictions in Intel and AMD chips, which prevents malicious code from running in areas of memory not designed to run programs.

It's not clear what affect Service Pack 1 will have on application compatibility, but Microsoft says it worked hard to eliminate any potential problems. "Microsoft worked closely with its hardware and software partners to ensure the highest possible level of application and device compatibility for Service Pack 1."

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