Windows 2000 SP4 arrives - but may need patching

The Windows 2000 service pack 4, which allows the ageing operating system to support USB 2.0 and Wi-Fi authentication, comes with a warning - you may need to apply another patch

Microsoft has officially released the final version of Service Pack 4 (SP4), the long-awaited update to its Windows 2000 operating system. But the update comes with a warning -- after installing SP4, some users may need to apply a patch.

SP4 has been in beta testing since October 2002 and contains more than 650 security and compatibility fixes. After installing SP4, Windows 2000 will also be able to use standard IEEE 802.1x authentication, which reduces some of the security vulnerabilities associated with Wi-Fi. In addition, SP4 allows Windows 2000 to support USB 2.0.

But according to Microsoft Knowledge Base article 822384, users who have installed hotfixes supplied by Microsoft Product Support Services will have to apply a patch on top of SP4 because of a "conflict". The article claims that only a "small number of users" are affected and users that need to apply the additional fix will be notified while they are installing SP4.

Microsoft confirmed on Thursday that it has changed the terms of its Windows 2000 licensing agreement to give people the option of turning off certain automated Internet updates that are built into the software.

Service Pack 4 contains all the bug fixes that were included in previous service packs, so if users have not installed any of the older service packs, SP4 will bring their operating systems up to date.

The new software can be used to update a number of different flavours of Windows 2000, including Windows 2000 Professional, Windows 2000 Server, Windows 2000 Advanced Server, and Windows 2000 with the Server Appliance Kit. The update is downloadable from Microsoft's Web site and is also available on CD.

CNET News.com's Ina Fried contributed to this report.


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