Microsoft details XP SP2 conflicts

Microsoft has published a list of nearly 50 applications and games that may not work correctly after installing Service Pack 2 (SP2) for Windows XP.

The list, published in a knowledge base article on Microsoft's Web site, includes developer and backup tools, antivirus software and an FTP (file transfer protocol) client. The applications may not work correctly after installing SP2 because the update installs and enables a new program called Windows Firewall.

"After you install Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2), some programs may seem not to work. By default, Windows Firewall is enabled and blocks unsolicited connections to your computer," Microsoft tells users in the recently published knowledge base article, available at http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?kbid=842242. The firewall in Windows was previously not enabled by default.

Applications on the list include several Microsoft products, as well Ghost Server Corporate Edition 7.5 and AntiVirus Corporate Edition 8.0 from Symantec, ColdFusion MX Server Edition 6 from Macromedia and several eTrust products from Computer Associates International.

Games that may require changes to the firewall to work properly include Need for Speed Hot Pursuit 2, Unreal Tournament 2003 and Scrabble 3.0, according to the knowledge base article.

Users can change Windows Firewall settings to allow the applications to work correctly. The firewall can be tweaked to allow traffic for specific applications to pass through. The knowledge base article details how to make the changes.

In the months leading up to the SP2 release, Microsoft warned that the service pack could break applications. The company issued warnings that its CRM (customer relationship management) product and Baseline Security Analyzer tool need updates to work with SP2.

Other Microsoft applications that may not work correctly with SP2 include Microsoft Operations Manager 2000 and Systems Management Server 2003, according to the knowledge base article.

There have been no reports of IT chaos since Microsoft began the staged rollout of SP2 a little over a week ago, but SP2's effects may be delayed as users wait to install the update.

Microsoft just started the process of delivering SP2. The software maker last week released a network installation package to help IT professionals update multiple computers on a network. This week Microsoft plans to start pushing out SP2 via the Automatic Updates feature to systems running Windows XP Home Edition, and to make it available to users of its Software Update Services deployment tool.

The automatic delivery to Windows XP Professional Edition has been pushed back until next week to give business users more time to prepare, according to an e-mail Microsoft sent to enterprise users. The service pack should be available on Microsoft's Windows Update Web site for self-installation later this month.

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