WinInfo Daily UPDATE--December 18, 2003
1. In the News
- Microsoft Releases Revamped Windows 2003 SP1, Windows XP SP2 Betas
- Microsoft Set to Retire Windows 2000 Server
- 2004 Dates Announced: Connections Conferences
- New--Microsoft Security Strategies Roadshow 2004!
- Receive a Free Identity Management White Paper!
4. Contact Us
- See this section for a list of ways to contact us.
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==== 1. In the News ====
by Paul Thurrott, [email protected]
Microsoft Releases Revamped Windows 2003 SP1, Windows XP SP2 Betas
This week, Microsoft unleashed new security-oriented service pack betas for Windows Server 2003 and Windows XP, products that won't ship until sometime in 2004. Microsoft has redesigned the XP Service Pack 2 (SP2) beta to include pervasive safety technologies, such as an improved firewall, enhanced memory protection, and Web pop-up prevention. The Windows 2003 SP1 includes a new Security Configuration Wizard, an IP version 6 (IPv6)-compatible firewall, and other security-related features. Both are currently available only to beta testers, but Microsoft will release the XP SP2 beta to Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) members later this week.
A Microsoft representative told me, "The Windows XP SP2 beta is intended to provide developers and IT professionals an opportunity to conduct early testing and to allow Microsoft to collect valuable customer feedback. During this beta, Microsoft hopes to garner significant feedback from software developers and IT professionals that will be incorporated into and improve the final product." The company notes that the current XP SP2 beta contains only a subset of the technologies that will ultimately ship in the final SP2 version, and that the final technology set will be based largely on customer feedback generated during the beta process.
XP SP2 includes the following security improvements:
- Network protection: The new, more powerful version of Internet Connection Firewall (ICF) in SP2 is enabled by default.
- Safer Web browsing: Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) 6.0 provides improved protection against harmful Web downloads and pop-up advertisements.
- Enhanced memory protection: By preventing errant applications from copying too much data into areas of a computer's memory, XP can now stave off buffer-overrun attacks.
- Safer email and Instant Messaging (IM): XP SP2 protects against malicious email attachments and IM file transfers.
According to Microsoft, XP SP2 is still on track for delivery in the first half of 2004. Given the wide range of improvements in this release, as well as its lengthy development time, XP SP2 is probably the most important XP update ever. When Microsoft releases the product next year, the company will likely work diligently to move all of its XP customers to SP2 as quickly as possible.
Meanwhile, Windows 2003 SP1 is on a longer development cycle than XP SP2 and won't ship until late 2004. This week, Microsoft issued a new interim build of the service pack: Build 1137 includes versions for Intel x86 and AMD64 systems. Windows 2003 includes the following improvements:
- Security Configuration Wizard (SCW): You can use this rules-based wizard to create, edit, or apply security policies for a computer or group of similarly configured computers.
- Microsoft IIS 6.0 performance enhancements: New kernel-mode Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) functionality improves performance by moving encryption and decryption operations to the Windows kernel.
- ICF for IPv6: The new, two-way ICF is now IPv6-compatible.
- 32-bit application performance on 64-bit platforms: New Intel technologies improve the performance of 32-bit applications running on 64-bit Windows OSs (aka Windows on Windows 64--WOW64).
Unlike the XP SP2 beta, the Windows 2003 SP1 beta won't be widely available at this time. However, a later milestone release will likely be more widely available, the company notes.
Microsoft Set to Retire Windows 2000 Server
A Microsoft representative alerted me this morning that the software giant would soon be retiring the Windows 2000 Server line. The products will be phased out over time beginning March 31, 2004, and ending with full retirement April 1, 2006. Microsoft notes that the product support plans for Win2K Server, announced in October 2002, haven't changed.
"After nearly 4 years in the marketplace, Windows 2000 Server, Windows 2000 Advanced Server, and Windows 2000 Server Client Access Licenses (CALs) will be retired gradually in phases," the representative said. "After March 31, 2004, customers who need a copy of Windows 2000 Server or Windows 2000 Advanced Server can obtain a copy of Windows Server 2003 and exercise their downgrade rights or purchase disk kits." Beginning November 1, 2004, Win2K Server will no longer be available from PC makers and other OEMs, according to the company.
If you're interested in more information about Win2K's life cycle, you can check out various Web pages that Microsoft has set up to describe how it plans to phase out the product line. Please visit one of the following Web pages:
Windows 2000 Server FAQ: http://www.microsoft.com/windows2000/server/evaluation/availability/faq.asp
Windows 2000 Server Product Availability Retirement: http://www.microsoft.com/windows2000/server/evaluation/availability/default.asp
==== 2. Announcements ====
(from Windows & .NET Magazine and its partners)
2004 Dates Announced: Connections Conferences
Save these dates: Windows & .NET Magazine Connections will be held April 4-7, 2004, in Las Vegas, Nevada. Microsoft ASP.NET Connections, Visual Studio Connections, and SQL Server Magazine Connections will run concurrently on April 18-21, 2004, in Orlando, Florida. Early registrants will receive the best discounts, so go online or call 203-268-3204 or 800-505-1201 to register.
New--Microsoft Security Strategies Roadshow 2004!
Join industry-guru Mark Minasi on this exciting 20-city tour and learn more about tips and best practices to secure your Windows Server 2003 and Windows 2000 networks. There is no charge for this event, but space is limited, so register today!
==== 3. Event ====
(brought to you by Windows & .NET Magazine)
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==== 4. Contact Us ====
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Copyright 2003, Penton Media, Inc.