The Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2) will finally be released in August, Microsoft has confirmed.
This is the first service pack to contain whole new applications rather than patches, and 80 per cent of the 80MB of code is aimed at improving system security.
The launch of SP2 was originally due in May and then rescheduled for July.
"Our goal is to isolate and shield all attack vectors and SP2 is all about this," Will Poole, senior vice president of Microsoft client systems, told the Microsoft Worldwide Partner conference in Toronto.
"We had to fundamentally change the rules of the security problem to make Microsoft more resilient to attack. Consequently [SP2] will be released to manufacture in August and should take no more than 90 days to be on all partner and original equipment manufacturer PCs."
Poole also highlighted some additional features of XP SP2 not previously disclosed.
The enhanced Microsoft firewall has the capability to open and close ports dynamically, so that applications like online games require no in-depth configuration.
The use of ActiveX controls has also been altered to reduce the likelihood of intrusion. To prevent extra code being inserted the amount of text the controls can carry has been limited.
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