Feeds

200 apps clash with XP SP2

Users brace for bumpy ride

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

Consumers will be offered a major upgrade of Windows XP after Microsoft releases Service Pack 2 through Windows Update later this week.

The 272MB enterprise version of SP2 was released earlier this month and a smaller consumer version - weighing in at around 80MB - was due to be released via Windows Update yesterday (16 August), the BBC reports. This automatic delivery has now been put back until tomorrow (18 August). SP2 was due to debut last year, so a couple of extra days wait will hardly make much difference.

The release, which made its debut as a beta back in March, bundles major security revisions and a new Windows update procedure. Principal additions with Windows XP SP2 include: Windows Security Centre; automatically turning on Windows Firewall; and browsing enhancements to Internet Explorer (providing far more control of ActiveX controls, for example). Less mentioned so far, but arguably more important, is revamped memory protection to prevent buffer overruns, the perennial source of so many security problems.

Consumers should note that some programs will 'stop working' after they install Windows XP Service Pack 2. With SP2, Windows Firewall is enabled by default and will block unsolicited connections to your computer. So users will have to make exceptions in the case on AV software, network games and a variety of other popular packages (including some published by Microsoft). Microsoft has published a list here.

This factor is there by design so it's of greater concern that a number of different applications "behave differently" after users install Win XP SP2. Games, third party firewall products and several popular business programs clash with Win XP SP2. The extensive list includes games like Unreal Tournament, McAfee VirusScan 7, Adobe PageMaker 7, backup programs, Zone Alarm personal firewall and even some flavours of Microsoft's own Office applications. More than 200 applications with compatibility problems with Win XP SP2 are listed.

These glitches are far wider in scope than the occasional problems that surface when users install personal firewalls. And it's not just shrink-wrapped applications that are affected.

eBay has posted a notice saying that some of the features of its eBay Toolbar program will cease to function after users install SP2. Meanwhile XP SP2 users are completely locked out of eBay's Enhanced Picture Services. eBay is working with Microsoft on addressing the problems it has unearthed.

Little wonder then that companies like IBM are holding off from deploying SP2 despite the considerable security improvements it offers. Consumers might well be inclined to follow suit. Those who push ahead with XP SP2 are advised to buckle in for what promises to be a bumpy ride. ®

Related stories

WinXP SP2: stop moaning and get downloading
Corporates can delay XP SP2 auto-update
How to order WinXP SP2 now
Should XP pirates get SP2?
MS bigs up Windows XP SP2

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
This time it's 'Personal': new Office 365 sub covers just two devices
Redmond also brings Office into Google's back yard
Inside the Hekaton: SQL Server 2014's database engine deconstructed
Nadella's database sqares the circle of cheap memory vs speed
Microsoft lobs pre-release Windows Phone 8.1 at devs who dare
App makers can load it before anyone else, but if they do they're stuck with it
Oh no, Joe: WinPhone users already griping over 8.1 mega-update
Hang on. Which bit of Developer Preview don't you understand?
Half of Twitter's 'active users' are SILENT STALKERS
Nearly 50% have NEVER tweeted a word
Internet-of-stuff startup dumps NoSQL for ... SQL?
NoSQL taste great at first but lacks proper nutrients, says startup cloud whiz
Batten down the hatches, Ubuntu 14.04 LTS due in TWO DAYS
Admins dab straining server brows in advance of Trusty Tahr's long-term support landing
IRS boss on XP migration: 'Classic fix the airplane while you're flying it attempt'
Plus: Condoleezza Rice at Dropbox 'maybe she can find ... weapons of mass destruction'
Ditch the sync, paddle in the Streem: Upstart offers syncless sharing
Upload, delete and carry on sharing afterwards?
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.