Just 2 months after issuing Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2), Microsoft has distributed more than 106 million copies of the service pack to customers worldwide. The company told me that it distributed more than 90 million of those copies electronically via Automatic Updates, an amazing success story for a technology that paranoid users who were worried about Microsoft having remote access to their PCs previously scorned. Emulated in other OSs such as Mac OS X and Linux, Automatic Updates is the engine that Microsoft uses to keep its customers up-to-date.
"One hundred six million SP2 distributions around world certainly indicates an incredible demand for this release and the security benefits it delivers," a Microsoft representative told me yesterday, noting that the company distributed 16 million copies on CD-ROM. "Security and combating the dangers that threaten everyone on the Internet is an ongoing challenge that Microsoft will continue to meet. Customers need to do their part as well. They should download XP SP2 as soon as possible. \[People who aren't\] running XP can protect themselves by following Microsoft's Protect Your PC guidance: Use an Internet firewall, get regular software updates, \[and\] use and keep up-to-date an antivirus software solution."
XP SP2 dramatically improves XP's baseline security and resilience capabilities and includes several obvious changes, including the Windows Firewall, Security Center, and Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) pop-up blocking features. For more information about XP SP2, refer to my exhaustive review on the SuperSite for Windows.