Office XP SP2 Brings Changes to Outlook

Last week, Microsoft released Office XP Service Pack 2 (SP2). This update consolidates patches previously available for Outlook and the other individual Office programs, plus hotfixes that were obtainable only from Microsoft Product Support Services (PSS). SP2 is the baseline for future Office XP updates; any new patches will require SP2.

In contrast to recent service packs for Windows, SP2 isn't a cumulative update and requires prior installation of Office XP SP1. For end users with a good Internet connection, the best way to get SP2 is to visit the Office XP Product Updates page, which scans your system to determine exactly what you need. If you already have both SP1 and Windows Installer 2.0 installed, the minimum SP2 download size is 6MB. If you don't have Windows Installer 2.0, the size of your SP2 download is 15.5MB. End users with a dial-up Internet connection might want to skip the download and order the CD-ROM, which includes the files for both SP2 and SP1.

Administrators can obtain SP2 either by ordering the CD-ROM or by downloading the administrative update from the Office Resource Kit site. This site also has a complete list of which files SP2 changes and the new version numbers.

After you install SP2, the Help, About Microsoft Outlook screen displays the version number as 10.4219.4219 SP2. SP2 has no tantalizing new Outlook features for end users, but Microsoft says the update fixes perhaps the most frustrating problem for users with POP3 accounts—Rules Wizard rules not firing when Outlook automatically downloads messages on start-up.

Administrators should welcome several new registry entries that prevent Outlook 2002 users from tinkering with their mail profiles. The Microsoft article "OL2002: The Options to Prevent an Exchange, POP3, IMAP, and Other Server Types Accounts Are Not Available" at http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;q317819 describes four new registry values that block users from adding POP3, IMAP4, Exchange, or other types of mail accounts to an existing mail profile. Another Microsoft article, "OL2002: Administrators Cannot Prevent Users from Creating Outlook Data Files" at http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;q323244 , explains a new registry value that prevents users from creating a new Personal Folders (.pst) file. If the user tries to create a new .pst file, the "Types of storage" list in the New Outlook Data File dialog box will be empty. However, this setting doesn't keep users from opening existing .pst files, such as archive files.

SP2 also adds several other new registry values to tackle specific problems relating to Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) address books, connections to third-party mail servers, and custom Outlook forms and views.

As always, the update tightens security. SP2 adds three Microsoft Visual FoxPro file types to the list of potentially dangerous attachments that Outlook blocks by default: .app, .fxp, and .prg. The update also includes the security patch for WordMail (Word as the email editor for Outlook) previously issued with Microsoft Security Bulletin MS02-021 (E-mail Editor Flaw Could Lead to Script Execution on Reply or Forward).

In addition, SP2 fixes several key problems relating to Exchange Server calendars. SP2 prevents a delegate from copying private appointments from your Calendar folder to his or her own mailbox and viewing them there. SP2 also fixes several problems relating to direct booking of appointments in resource calendars. Previously, a user trying to change the date of a meeting could inadvertently delete it from the resource calendar. In addition, under SP2, users can no longer schedule a meeting with a resource outside the published free/busy time for the resource.

Microsoft article "OFFXP: Overview of the Office XP Service Pack 2"

Office XP Product Updates

Office XP SP2 Administrative Updates

Office XP SP2 on CD-ROM

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