Nick MacKechnie, senior technical account manager at Microsoft New Zealand, said in a company blog post that if IT administrators wanted to prevent the automatic installation then they should download and deploy the Windows Service Pack Blocker Kit from the company's online download center, or deploy update management software that provides full control over updates deployed to computers on a network.
In posting the reminder, Microsoft is apparently trying to prevent problems similar to the ones that followed the release of the software to the general public in May. Within hours of its release, SP3 drew hundreds of complaints from users who claimed the update wreaked havoc on their PCs.
"We would like to remind you that Windows XP Service Pack 3 will be released to Automatic Updates shortly," MacKechnie said. "The third service pack to Windows XP includes the previously released updates and hotfixes to Windows XP, creating a new baseline for servicing."
Problems with the first version of SP3 ranged from spontaneous reboots to outright system crashes. It's not uncommon for major operating system updates to cause problems. Typically, the glitches are due to conflicts with software, such as drivers, system files, or applications already on the user's PC.
The original service pack offered a number of enhancements over the current version of the OS, which Microsoft started phasing out after June 30. It included all updates issued since Windows XP Service Pack 2 was released in 2004, and some new elements.