Microsoft Corp. has published a list of about 200 applications that “may behave differently” on PCs that have Windows XP Service Pack 2 installed, but it seems many of the applications listed will have minor or temporary problems.
SP2 is security-focused, and follows the norm that when you increase security you limit freedom or, in this case, functionality. For this reason, many users are taking a wait-and-see approach to SP2 deployment.
Microsoft is also taking a cautious approach to the rollout, delaying its delivery via Windows Update a few more days to give enterprises more time to deploy a new tool that blocks SP2 being installed accidentally via Auto Update.
The majority of users of the Internet Storm Center web site are reporting problems with the upgrade. At press time yesterday, of over 650 surveyed people, 52% were reporting some problems, although 30% were saying the troubles were minor.
Microsoft’s list of problem apps includes many third-party multiplayer games, security software, online services, office applications, as well as dozens of Microsoft’s own products. Vendors named include Symantec, Adobe, AOL, Corel and Yahoo.
But many of the most popular applications with reported compatibility issues have either been fixed, or workarounds exist, or apparently never had problems in the first place.
Adobe Systems Inc. reported that Internet Explorer under SP2 will try to block the launch of the Help feature in Adobe software, due to SP2’s handling of HTML frames. Adobe said the issue is easily worked around each time Help is accessed.
A spokesperson for AOL, which has AOL 9.0 listed on Microsoft’s may behave differently page, said he was not aware of any problems running the software on SP2. AOL has tested the upgrade and encourages users to install it.
Symantec’s Norton antivirus and firewall software was at first not compatible with SP2’s Security Center console, which reads state information from security software and alerts users if they’re out-of-date, but the company has since patched the problem.
DivX Networks Inc, which develops the DivX video codec and related software, is currently working on a patch for the DivX Player, to get around a problem with SP2’s Data Execution Prevention feature. DEP can be disabled in the meantime.
While SP2 has been available for over a week, no metrics gauging its adoption rate have been released yet. The update is set to be made available for installation via Automatic Update and Windows Update services on August 25.