Microsoft releases Windows update blocker

The software giant has issued a blocking toolkit for users of XP, Vista and Server 2003 who want to avoid automatic service pack updates until they choose to install them

Microsoft has released a toolkit to let businesses block service pack updates for Windows XP, Vista and Server 2003.

Although service packs — particularly in the case of Vista — are keenly awaited by many users, some businesses prefer to test the packs before upgrading to assure compatibility with existing hardware and applications.

The Windows Service Pack Blocker Toolkit will allow this to happen by stopping Windows Update from automatically downloading and installing the service packs.

The toolkit, available from Microsoft's download site, will block service packs for limited periods of time. The length of time depends on the version of Windows.

XP service pack 3 (SP3) will be blocked for 12 months following its release due in the first half of 2008, as will Vista SP1, which is also due early next year. Windows Server 2003 SP2 will be blocked until May 2008.

The Vista service pack is due to be released for public testing later this week, although several features have already trickled out to users.

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