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Microsoft Turns Off XP SP2 Blocking

Microsoft removes the blocking of Windows XP Service Pack 2 downloads, making good on a promise from last summer when it released the massive security update.
Microsoft removed the blocking of Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2) downloads Tuesday, making good on a promise from last summer when it released the massive security update and gave enterprises a way to postpone the inevitable.

Shortly after the August, 2004, release of Windows XP SP2, Microsoft posted several tools that allowed companies and individuals to block Automatic Update and/or Windows Update from automatically downloading and/or installing SP2. Those tools eventually used a built-in expiration date of April 12, 2005.

While users can still block SP2 from reaching desktops by turning off Automatic Update, that would also stymie other updates, including Tuesday's expected eight security patches.

The deadline may put many IT managers in a tough spot. Asset management vendor AssetMetrix, recently released a survey of 136,000 PCs, and found that companies had upgraded fewer than a quarter of Windows XP machines to SP2. Forty percent of the firms using XP, in fact, said that they'd assiduously avoided upgrading.