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Microsoft Posts WinXP SP2 Download Link

Microsoft has posted a link for developers and professionals to download Windows XP Service Pack 2.

If you decide to download it right away, be prepared for it to take a while. This "network install" version is designed for IT admins to install to multiple PCs over a network. So it's the full-boat version, measuring a whopping 266 MB. Other installation options, such as online installs from Windows Update and Automatic Updates, will be much smaller.

The network install is the first of several phases of availability for SP2. Microsoft's end-user incremental install process for end users is slated to be provided at a later date that has not been publicly disclosed. One source who requested anonymity says that Automatic Updates installations of SP2 will begin for mainstream Windows XP original and Service Pack 1 machines on August 16.

Windows XP Service Pack 2, which Microsoft released on Friday, is the company's attempt to solve the security problems of Windows XP in one blow. The patch cranks optional security settings to their highest
level, and turns on an onboard firewall. Security in Internet Explorer is significantly tightened up, which could have the side-effect of breaking web sites and web-based applications that employ unsigned ActiveX applets,
downloads, pop-up windows, browser helper objects and other code- and scripting-based functions.

Over the course of the next two months, Microsoft plans to distribute the software to 100 million PCs. During that time, Microsoft will also localize the software in 25 languages, and distribute it to computer manufacturers,
enterprise customers and consumers through downloads, retail installations, free CDs and installation on new PCs.