Microsoft Upgrades XP With Service Pack

SP1 expected to ship this summer, adding bug fixes and support for upcoming Mira, Freestyle, and Tablet PCs.

Beta-testing for the first service pack update to Microsoft Windows XP will begin within weeks, with release expected this summer. The free update will include a selection of bug, security, and compatibility fixes--many of which are already available as separate downloads.

Release of this service pack could prompt a surge in adoption of Windows XP by some companies that traditionally wait for this milestone before upgrading to a new operating system. Desktop PCs running Windows XP will outnumber those running Windows 98 by late 2003, says Dan Kusnetzky, vice president with the market-research firm IDC. The ambitious update had a slow start compared with that of its predecessor.

"The release of SP 1 for Windows XP is likely to cause companies in the pilot-project phase of software adoption to feel comfortable enough to move forward with their adoption plans," Kusnetzky says. However, there's little in this service pack for current Windows XP users to get excited about, especially if they've religiously (or automatically) downloaded updates through Microsoft's Windows Update Web site. Aside from the fixes, the service pack update looks forward; it adds support for several upcoming PC designs--such as the Tablet PC--as well as Microsoft's forthcoming .Net Web services.

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