Tool Provided to Block Windows Server 2003 SP1

Microsoft is allowing IT administrators to buy some more time before they must forcibly upgrade Windows Server 2003 to Service Pack 1. A special toolkit is available that will temporarily disable the delivery of the service pack via the automatic update service and Windows Update.

The SP1 upgrade will take place on July 26, 2005 for those without the toolkit installed.

However, Microsoft says that the vast majority of customers will not require the toolkit at all. Microsoft has found that most enterprise and mid-market customers use Windows Server Update Services or third-party tools as their preferred infrastructure to manage and deploy patches.

For those customers that use Automatic Updates (AU), the blocker must be installed on each server that has AU enabled. AU will continue to download and install all other security updates. Microsoft offered a similar tool to provide customers with more time to test and provision installations for Windows XP Service Pack 2.

Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1 shipped in March, delivering similar security enhancements found in Windows XP SP2 to fortify the operating system. SP1 also lays the groundwork to support Microsoft's 64-bit Windows releases.

Specifically, SP1 locks down Internet Explorer, includes the Windows Firewall, a new Security Configuration Wizard and a "Post-setup Security Update Wizard," which patches any outstanding security holes before first boot.

The toolkit will be available until March 30, 2006.

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