SP2: Bad for your blood pressure?

That's what some IT managers say, a survey finds. Even more believe it'll be the toughest Windows update ever.

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By Dawn Kawamoto

Most IT managers believe that upgrading systems to Microsoft's latest security patch for Windows XP could generate problems, according to a recent survey.

The InsightExpress study, which polled IT managers in the United States, found that 63 percent of respondents believed SP2 would prove the most difficult Windows update installation ever, with 3 percent noting their "blood pressure rises just thinking about it."

In addition, 66 percent said they expected calls for help from workers to increase with the update. And 30 percent did not know how the SP2 upgrade would affect their company's support desk.


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These concerns come as Microsoft tries to iron out some of the glitches in SP2, its security-focused update for XP. For example, the service pack allows locally run programs to circumvent its firewall and can make it difficult for other applications to work with the XP operating system, researchers have found.

These concerns are leading to a world of "have and have nots" when it comes to installation of SP2 in business systems, according to recent survey of IT executives by U.K.-based security company Mi2g.

Only half of IT departments worldwide are choosing to use the automatic update feature in Windows to download the patch to company computers, Mi2G found in its July Security Intelligence Products and Systems report.

The other half—which includes IT managers at many large corporations, government organizations and academic institutions—plan to conduct a manual installation only after rigorous testing.

"Many CIOs view the SP2 update as a threat to their operations—a forced security upgrade—which can undermine reliability and availability of many critical business services as old software applications may randomly malfunction," D.K. Matai, Mi2g's executive chairman, said in a statement.

Mi2g cautions that the latter, cautious, approach may expose businesses to digital risks such as viruses.

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