Microsoft doubles XP SP2 delay as users clamour for more time

Now it's April or bust

Now it's April or bust

It seems that users are taking almost as long to roll out XP Service Pack 2 as Microsoft once did - the Redmond giant has been forced to allow customers to double the amount of time business users can delay installing it on corporate machines.

Originally, Microsoft had given customers using Windows Update and Automatic Update a tool that allowed them to continue downloading critical patches and the like automatically, but still postpone downloading XP SP2 for 120 days. That's now been extended to 240 days - until 12 April, 2005 - due to customers asking Microsoft to give them more time to work out the compatibility issues.

Microsoft has already published a guide to help administrators test for compatibility issues and published a list of over 40 programs that will appear not to work when SP2 is installed.

However, most IT managers expect XP SP2 will be rolled out on the nation's business PCs before the end of the year.

Analyst house Gartner, however, said in a recent research note that IT staff were better off standardising users onto XP with SP2 than waiting for Longhorn before they upgraded.

In a separate research note, the analysts added that deployment could take companies at a few weeks to a few months. "Companies that tested SP2 during the beta time frame can consider deploying the upgrade it in four to six weeks, if their applications have proved compatible and no major problems were reported. Mainstream enterprises should plan to wait at least two months after SP2 ships before beginning deployment," the note said.