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Road To XP SP2 Isn't So Easy

Brace yourself. Windows XP Service Pack 2 may break custom corporate applications and cause other unforeseen headaches, according to VARs and integrators.

The price customers will pay for better security enabled by the new release, now due in August, will be a raft of broken applications, they said.

Some VARs are going so far as to recommend that their clients wait before installing Windows XP SP2. Worse yet, they don't expect to be compensated for the pain of the installs, saying customers expect them to routinely support service pack upgrades, even though SP2 is far from an ordinary service pack.

Lou Giovanetti, co-owner of CPU Sales & Service, Waltham, Mass., expects the service pack to generate a wave of frustrated clients with questions and problems but without a big revenue uptick. CPU Sales & Service is recommending its clients hold off on installing XP SP2. "Whenever a service pack comes out, we see what goes on," he said. "After it has been tested and tried, then we do an install. Let someone else experiment first."

At particular risk with SP2 are older applications written to call "unregistered" or "anonymous" COM objects, VARs said. In the name of higher security, XP SP2 will demand to know a lot more about the distributed applications it calls.

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