In an effort to push adoption of IE 6.0, Microsoft quietly yanked Internet Explorer 5.5 Service Pack 2 from its download site.
Ironically, IE 5.01 SP2 is still available as it is primarily used by businesses running Windows 2000. Because business customers are less prone to upgrade, Microsoft tends to offer such fixes longer than it does for consumer customers.
As Microsoft say on their website...
When a version of Internet Explorer enters the Extended Support phase (like what has happened to Internet Explorer 5.5 SP2), this means the browser version will no longer be available to download, but will continue to receive no-charge security updates until the end of the Extended Support period.According to reports, upgrading directly to Internet Explorer 6 from IE 4 has a tendency to cause errors on older operating systems such as Windows 98. By first upgrading to IE 5.5, most problems are eliminated. (I just did this this morning, went from IE4 > IE 5.5sp2 >IE 6 sp1 on a friends PC, no sweat! Ed.)
For Internet Explorer 5.5 SP2, the end of the no-charge support period is December 31, 2003. Security updates will continue to be available to current Internet Explorer 5.5 SP2 users until the end of this no-charge support period.
Sources told BetaNews that Microsoft support representatives were left out of the loop and received no advanced warning that version 5.5 would be pulled. Support technicians have resorted to having customers download a CNET-branded version of IE 5.5 that is still available.
News source: BetaNews