Microsoft postpones automatic Service Pack updates
Microsoft has delayed the distribution of its recent Service Packs for Windows XP and Windows Vista by Windows Update. Service Pack 3 for Windows XP was to be made available on April 29 for all users as a download and via auto update, but according to a blog entry published by Microsoft exec Chris Kerouac, Microsoft has a compatibility problem between the recently completed Service Pack 3 for Windows XP and one of its enterprise applications, Dynamics Retail Management System (RMS) and is now working on a hot fix.
Contrary to its original plans, Microsoft will not be offering a free download via its Windows Update website, and Service Pack 3 will also not be distributed via the Auto Update function until the fix has been tested or a block has been created for SP3 systems with RMS installed. As a result, only customers with bulk licence agreements and MSDN subscribers will have access to SP3 until further notice. Those who can't wait can download SP3 from the direct download link that is being widely circulated, but which Microsoft has not yet officially released.
More critically, the bug also affects Service Pack 1 for Windows Vista, which has been freely available for some time now. Microsoft says that the distribution of SP1 that had already begun via Auto Update – for the main language groups – has now been discontinued. Companies that use RMS and have already installed SP1 for Vista should contact Microsoft Support.
This isn't the first time that Microsoft has been forced to admit problems with Service Packs. Just after the announcement that SP1 had been finished, the software vendor had to recall a number of updates that were a prerequisite for the installation of SP1 via Auto Update. These updates were only recently made available again. SP1 for Vista turned out to be incompatible with number of language packs that Microsoft provided for Vista Ultimate – and bulk customers for Business and Enterprise – to convert a German version of the OS to an English Vista. It took Microsoft weeks to provide new language packs.