XP SP2 Deadline Extended

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Microsoft has pushed back the deadline for the complete delivery of its Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2) to April 2005.

The software giant had originally planned to automatically install the service pack to all Windows XP and Windows XP Service Pack 1 systems by mid-December, but this schedule has been modified to give businesses more time to prepare.

A note posted on the Microsoft TechNet site said the mechanism to temporarily disable the delivery of SP2 will now be available for 240 days (8 months) from August 16.

"At the end of this period, Windows XP SP2 will be delivered to all Windows XP and Windows XP Service Pack 1 systems," the company said.

Microsoft is allowing businesses to use a new registry key for the sole purpose of disabling and re-enabling the delivery of SP2. "Windows Update and Automatic Update will search for the presence of this registry entry to determine whether or not to download Windows XP SP2. At the end of the 240-day time period, WU and AU will ignore the presence of this registry entry and download Windows XP SP2," the company noted.

Enterprise customers with a large base of PCs also have access to a range of resources from Microsoft to help manage SP2 delivery.