Microsoft yesterday released the Windows 2000 Service Pack 2 (SP2) which is the first Windows platform to ship internationally with 128bit encryption.
Previous versions of Windows 2000 only had 56bit encryption. But because the US government relaxed encryption export restrictions last year, the 128bit encryption will be available to all but US-embargoed countries.
The new encryption strengthens encryption-based services in Windows 2000 including Kerberos, Encryption File System, RAS, RPC, SSL/TLS, CryptoAPI, Terminal Services RDP and IPSec/VPN.
According to Microsoft, Windows 2000 SP2 automatically upgrades the user's system to 128bit encryption. It is not possible to disable or uninstall this feature. If you remove Windows 2000 SP2 after installation, the system will continue to use 128bit encryption; it will not revert back to 56bit encryption.
No substantive new features are included in SP2 and Microsoft said that it is a recommended, rather than required, upgrade. The company also recommends that customers review the Windows 2000 SP2 documentation before installing SP2.
Notes posted on Microsoft's website said: "These updates are a collection of fixes in the following areas: application compatibility, operating system reliability, security and setup. Windows 2000 SP2 includes the updates contained in Windows 2000 SP1."
The upgrade is available in two methods. The Express Installation detects a user's system components and installs only the necessary updates, while the Network Installation downloads all the SP2 files onto a user's system for which Microsoft recommends an ISDN or faster connection. The SP2 file can be downloaded from Microsoft's website or customers can order a CD.
Microsoft Windows 2000 desktop operating system revenue growth increased 14 per cent in fiscal 2001 from four per cent in 2000, according to a report by Merrill Lynch analyst Henry Blodget. Microsoft's 2001 fiscal year ends 30 June.
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