Windows XP Service Pack 2 Headaches

By Deane Barker on July 19, 2004

Companies brace for Microsoft security update: An interesting look at the apparently huge Windows XP Service Pack 2 due next month and what it means for software companies. The changes will affect thousands of programs that have depended on how Windows handles certain things.

The new system bolsters security on Windows, its built-in Internet Explorer browser and Outlook Express e-mail. Among the changes, a Windows Firewall will automatically be turned on, helping to guard against attack. The browser has been fortified, and a new attachment manager will offer tougher policing against e-mail-borne attacks.

The changes in the way Windows polices itself — particularly the newly strengthened firewall — could cause troubles for applications that are used to working with Windows’ old ways. Some say that’s particularly true of applications that regularly interact online, such as gaming programs or music services.



  1. Someone at Microsoft explained the logic of this to me with an example.

    When you (imagine you’re a common user) go to a web page and a thing pops up and asks you, “Are you sure you want to install this thing that will lead you down the path of CERTAIN DOOM?” you actually read it as, “Do you want to see this page?” Obviously, the answer to your question is always “Yes”.

    Common users don’t think about the repercussions of blindly assenting to any old security dialog. They don’t care – They just want it to “go”.

    It seems that Microsoft has just gotten sick of the flack. There are holes in their software, no doubt, but a lot of the common user’s problem has to do with his inability to understand the security repercussions of the choices he makes or fails to realize he has. For that reason, they’ve switched everything in SP2 over from an “opt on” to an “opt off” model. The security dialogs will assume you’re an idiot just to protect you from yourself.

    And while we technophiles will scream injustice at having to switch all that Microsoft crap back off, we’re probably protecting ourselves better by enabling my mom’s firewall by default, instead of telling her over the phone how to turn it on after her system spews 40k spams across the continent.

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