Today, as expected, Microsoft is releasing Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2) to XP Professional Edition users. The company also made the unexpected announcement today that it's now shipping the massive update to all XP users through Windows Update. In addition, XP users can now order the free XP SP2 CD-ROM. These announcements mean that virtually all 300 million XP users now have access to the long-awaited security update.
"As you know, SP2 delivers the latest security updates and innovations from Microsoft, establishes strong default security settings, and adds new proactive protection features that will help better safeguard computers from hackers, viruses, and other security risks," a Microsoft representative told me last night. "Microsoft released SP2 to computer manufacturers on August 6 and made the update available to enterprise customers on August 9. Microsoft also began distributing SP2 to consumers through Automatic Updates on August 18."
The company also revealed that it has shipped various international versions of XP SP2. Microsoft has now released SP2 to manufacturing in German, Japanese, Korean, simplified Chinese, and traditional Chinese and reports that it's on track to localize the software into 25 additional languages by early October.
Users who want to order XP SP on CD-ROM will be able to do so from the Microsoft Web site at some point today. The CD-ROM also will be available through various computer-oriented magazines starting next month, and Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) customers will receive the release on CD-ROM this week. XP users who want to download the SP2 update will be able to do so starting at 9:00 A.M. Pacific time today, Microsoft says.