How Will Apps Fare with XP SP2?

By Jacqueline Emigh  |  Posted 2004-08-09 Email Print this article Print

IT pros point to Norton AntiVirus, legacy products and some custom apps as particularly vulnerable to incompatibilities with Windows XP Service Pack 2.

How huge of a headache will Windows XP SP2 implementation actually turn out to be? The answer will hinge largely on what types of application software people try to deploy, according to security and Windows professionals.

For certain customers, the XP beta has been a walk in the park. Take, for example, DRPA, an environmental consulting company in Houston, Texas.

"We've tested SP2 [Service Pack 2] with our standard desktop productivity applications for more than 30 days now, and we really haven't had any incompatibilities. We've done all our due diligence, and there weren't any showstoppers for us," Stan Hoffman, CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional) and a network engineer at DRPA, said in an interview last week.

But on its own Web site, Microsoft Corp. has long warned that XP2 might cause some third-party applications to break. More recently, Microsoft added admonitions about its own Microsoft Business Solutions CRM versions 1.0 and 1.2.

Yet despite—or maybe even because of—Microsoft's protracted SP2 warnings and delays, some pros are optimistic that the finished product will carry fewer implementation issues than the betas.

"The very definition of 'beta' is software that's still too full of bugs to be released yet as a product," said Ron Martell, a Microsoft MVP who runs an SMB (small and midsize business) consultancy called The Computer Doctor in Duncan, British Columbia.

"I don't see any of my Windows XP customers holding off on SP2 deployment," Martell added.

Click here to read about features in the service pack and see screen shots.

Still, though, Martell cited a couple of areas that might emerge as lingering concerns, including Symantec Corp.'s Norton anti-virus software.

"For quite some time now, Norton's had trouble working with just about every OS you can think of, anyway," Martell said.

Indeed, Symantec has posted a notice on its own Web site stating that it's working on an upgrade for SP2, to be released Aug. 10. Symantec also has asked customers to postpone SP2 installation until the Norton patch is complete.

Other anti-virus software companies, such as Finland-based F-Secure and Trend Micro Inc., have already released XP upgrades to their own anti-virus software product suites.

Beta testers report on compatibility problems.


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