Microsoft To Release Windows XP Service Pack 2 In August

NEW YORK -(Dow Jones)- Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) said Monday it plans to release a key update for its Windows XP operating system in August.

The update, known as Service Pack 2, contains a bundle of new features and security enhancements for Windows XP. It was originally slated to be released to manufacturing in June, but Microsoft pushed back the release and issued a second test version.

Most Windows XP customers will receive Service Pack 2 via a new version of Microsoft’s online update service, Windows Update, said Will Poole, a senior vice president for the Windows business. The company will also provide a free CD to those who don’t have high-speed Internet connections, Poole said in a press release Monday.

Service Pack 2 is part of a broader effort by the Redmond, Wash., company to address concerns about the security of its products and protect Windows users from viruses and hackers. The update will block unsolicited downloads from Web sites and pop-up ads and turn on the Windows personal firewall, among other things.

Windows XP first went on sale in October 2001. Hackers and virus writers have exploited numerous flaws in the ubiquitous operating system and its accompanying Web browser, Internet Explorer. The next Windows version, code named Longhorn, won’t be available until 2006 or later.

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