Server glitch prevents users from updating XP

Microsoft is working on a technical problem with its Web server that has prevented users of Windows XP from downloading software updates -- including a new security hole patch -- since last Thursday, the company confirmed on Tuesday.

"The update system was unavailable for a short while," said Milo Schaap, product manager for Windows at Microsoft in the Netherlands.

The Microsoft domain name server has been experiencing glitches since about Thursday, blocking users from downloading and installing updates, a Microsoft spokeswoman in the U.K. said.

The technical problem would have prevented users from downloading security patches, the spokeswoman said.

Microsoft officials could not immediately explain the specific problem with the servers, nor how many people have been affected. They could not say whether the problem had been eradicated or, if not, when this was likely to happen.

A report published by The Wall Street Journal indicated that the problems occurred as Microsoft was upgrading some of the computer systems that run the site, and that they would not be fixed until later on Tuesday. About 8 million Window XP users update their software each week with downloaded software updates or patches, the report quoted Microsoft Group Program Manager Doug Stamper as saying.

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