Microsoft released the long-anticipated Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2) to manufacturing mid-day Friday, just two days after unknown delays temporarily stumped its wrap.
Although Microsoft's signed off on SP2 -- a major update to Windows XP that devotes considerable effort toward tightening up the operating system against security threats -- it's not yet offering the upgrade to end users.
SP2 will post for downloading next week, said Microsoft, but it's urging users to not flood the Windows Update servers by retrieving the approximately 80MB file on their own. Instead, the Redmond, Wash.-based developer is trying to convince users to let the patch come to them.
Thursday, Microsoft amended its Windows XP Web site to include instructions on enabling Windows' Automatic Update feature, which will then download the new version when capacity's available.
"The timing for customers to receive the Service Pack 2 download through Automatic Updates depends on a number of factors," said Microsoft in a statement. "[That includes] the customer's Internet usage, location, language, and the level of Internet demand for Service Pack 2."
For those without big bandwidth, Microsoft will also make SP2 available on CD, free of charge. The company will even pick up the shipping tab.