One hundred million to get Microsoft fix

Microsoft released a long-awaited security update for its Windows XP program on Friday, a response to the growing number of security shortcomings in the market-dominant computer operating system.

The free upgrade won’t be available to everyone right away, however. Microsoft said the timing will depend on several factors, including customers’ internet usage, location and language as well as the overall demand for the package, dubbed Service Pack 2.

Customers who receive automatic updates from Microsoft will begin getting Service Pack 2 within a few days, company spokesperson Matt Pilla said on Friday.

About 100-million customers are expected to receive the automatic updates over the next two months.

Customising the fixes in 25 languages will take two months, the company said.
The update is currently available only in English, and English-language users will get the update as Microsoft distributes it to computer manufacturers, companies and home users through downloads, free CDs and other means.

The upgrade, which chairperson Bill Gates said modifies less than five percent of the nearly three-year-old operating system, is designed to make users safer from cyberattacks by sealing entries to viruses, better protecting personal data and fending off spyware.

“Service Pack 2 is a significant step in delivering on our goal to help customers make their PCs better isolated and more resilient in the face of increasingly sophisticated attacks,” Gates said.

For regular users, the most noticeable change will be a series of new prompts. Users will be asked to give permission for programs to interact with their computers, so there is less chance they will be hit by a virus or inadvertently allow malicious software that can monitor computer activities.

Service Pack 2 should be available on compact disk and at windowsupdate.microsoft.com by end of the month, Pilla said.

New computers will start shipping with it in September or October.

The amount of time it takes to for the automatic updates to download will depend on the speed of the user’s connection, the amount of time the user spends online, the amount of bandwidth available and whether the user has downloaded previous updates.

“It’s a smart download. We only download to your computer the bits your PC needs,” Pilla said.

On average, it should take about 60 to 90 minutes for users with a broadband connection to download the upgrade. It could take users with a dialup connection a few days, depending on how much time they spend online. - Sapa-AP

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