Thousands of Aussies take up Microsoft's free CD offer

Thousands of Australian Windows users have taken up Microsoft's offer of a free update CD in the two weeks since its launch.

The Windows Security Update CD is a disc with all critical updates released through October 2003 for various Windows versions.

The update CD was released on February 17. Since that time Australian customers had ordered more than 7000 copies nation-wide, said Danny Beck, senior product marketing manager for Windows desktop.

Microsoft first announced it was considering such a CD in December, as a way of providing customers on dial-up Internet fast access to update code.

Normally, Windows users must download security patches and fixes from Microsoft's Windows Update site. Because of the size of these fixes, this was not only a time-consuming process but a costly one, particularly for people with slow Internet speeds.

Initially, Microsoft said the CD would apply onto to XP users, but the CD now covers all flavours of Windows.

"Our research indicates that the majority of Internet users in Australia connect to the Internet via a dial-up connection," Beck said. "Many of these customers are still running Windows 98 and Windows 98SE. Therefore, it makes sense to offer the Windows Security Update CD with Windows 98/98SE updates to address this segment of our customer base as an alternative to downloading the files from our Windows Update site.

"This is also in line with our recent announcement extending the product support lifecycle for Windows 98."

Microsoft has also been questioned over why the patches on the CD date only to October 15, 2003.

Beck said the size of the Windows Update files prior to October was significantly larger than after October.

He said customers with dial-up connections should be able to download the post-October updates without the longer wait times.

"It also enabled us to produce the worldwide quantities required and get these out to our customers without any delays," he said.

The Windows Security Update can be obtained by going to http://www.microsoft.com/australia/security/.

Customers can expect to receive their CDs within four weeks.

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Howard Dahdah

PC World
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