According to the latest information from Microsoft, a public release of Windows XP Service Pack 2 will be available this Monday on the Microsoft TechNet website. The announcements include a detailed release schedule for the much anticipated and delayed update. A customer ready email from MS reads:
I am pleased to inform you that Windows XP Service Pack 2 released to manufacturing on Friday August 6, 2004. Windows XP Service Pack 2 contains major security improvements designed to provide better protection against hackers, viruses, and worms. Windows XP Service Pack 2 also improves the manageability of the security features in Windows XP and provides more and better information to help users make decisions that may potentially affect their security and privacy.
On Monday, August 9, 2004, the full network installation package for Windows XP Server Pack 2 will be posted on the Windows XP Service Pack 2 site on Microsoft TechNet, (link available by following the 'download' tab above). This site is also the best resource for accessing the most up-to-date technical information regarding Windows XP Service Pack 2.
On-line distribution will be the primary distribution vehicle for Windows XP Service Pack 2 and below is a summary of the key milestones of the distribution plan:
8/6 Release to manufacturing
8/9 Release to Microsoft Download Center (network installation package)
8/9 Release to MSDN subscription site (CD ISO image)
8/10 Release to Automatic Updates (for machines running pre-release versions of Windows XP Service Pack 2 only)
8/16 Release to Automatic Updates (for machines NOT running pre-releases versions of Windows XP Service Pack 2)
8/16 Release to Software Update Services
Later in August Release to Windows Update for interactive user installations
Because of the significant security improvements outlined above, Microsoft views Windows XP Service Pack 2 as an essential security update and is therefore distributing it as a 'critical update' via Windows Update (WU) and the Automatic Updates (AU) delivery mechanism in Windows. Microsoft is strongly urging customers with Windows XP and Windows XP Service Pack 1-based systems to upgrade to Windows XP Service Pack 2 as soon as possible.