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In an effort to head off support calls, Microsoft has published a list of about 50 programs from both the Redmond software giant and third-party software vendors that require tweaking in order to work properly with Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2).

Among the applications that are encountering problems are Web servers, remote desktops, file-sharing applications, FTP clients, multimedia streaming software and e-mail notifications. A number of systems-management applications and games also require manual modifications in order to work properly with SP2, according to Microsoft.

“After you install Windows XP SP2, client applications may not successfully receive data from a server,” acknowledges Microsoft in one of its Knowledge Base articles published to its Web site.

At the same time, some “server applications that are running on a Windows XP SP2-based computer may not respond to client requests,” the Knowledge Base article added.

In the months leading up to the recent launch of its SP2 collection of security updates and other fixes, Microsoft had warned its customers that a number of its own applications would require modification in order to work correctly with SP2. Microsoft officials have warned that SQL Server 2000, Microsoft CRM 1.2 and Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer 1.2 all would require tweaks.

In the recently published Knowledge Base article, Microsoft also admitted that its Visual Studio .Net development tools and Systems Management Server 2003 products may require users to open network ports manually before they work properly with SP2.

“To work correctly, some programs and games must receive information over the network. The information enters your computer through an inbound port. For [the new SP2] Windows Firewall to permit this information to enter, the correct inbound port must be open on your computer,” Microsoft notes in its Knowledge Base article.

Other third-party programs that may require users to open ports manually in order to work with SP2 include:

  • Autodesk’s AutoCAD 2000, 2002 and 2004 releases;
  • BMC Software’s BMC Patrol for Windows 2000;
  • Computer Associates’ ARCserve and eTrust 7.0 releases;
  • Macromedia’s ColdFusion MX Server Edition 6;
  • Symantec’s AntiVirus Corporate Edition 8.0 and Ghost Server Corporate Edition 7.5; and
  • Veritas’ Backup Exec version 9 and Volume Manager 3.1 products.

    Among the third-party games that may require SP2 tweaks are several products from Atari, Electronic Arts’ “Need for Speed Hot Pursuit 2,” and Activision’s Star Trek StarFleet Command III version 1.0.

    There are other third-party applications that are encountering difficulties with SP2 that are not included on Microsoft’s Knowledge Base list. While Microsoft is characterizing SP2 as a “critical” upgrade and encouraging all XP users to upgrade to it as soon as possible, many IT managers are holding off from pushing SP2 to users’ desktops until they are able to thoroughly test its effect on custom and third-party applications.

    Last week, Microsoft published a toolkit allowing IT managers to temporarily block SP2 from installing before they are ready for it.

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