Chapter 1. New Features in Service Pack 2
Microsoft releases a new Service Pack for the XP operating system roughly once a year. This annual release represents a significant update to the operating systemin fact it could accurately be described as an entirely new version.
For years, Microsoft has been criticized by some for its lack of security, especially when compared to competitors such as UNIX. (Why Microsoft is perceived as less secure is a matter of debate, however. Personally, I just think it's a matter of numbers: There are a whole lot more desktops with Microsoft than UNIX, and thus many more people are dedicated to finding the weak spots in Microsoft's architecture compared to competing operating systems.) Consequently, most advances in this latest Service PackService Pack 2 (SP2)address matters of security. Microsoft therefore is touting it as one of the most important service packs ever released. It provides better protection against viruses, hackers, and worms. Prior to SP2, this protection has been largely shouldered by third-party applications. SP2 also includes three new tools as standard features: the Windows Firewall, Pop-up Blocker for Internet Explorer, and the new Windows Security Center.
In fact, this entire book assumes that you've installed XP's new service pack. So if you haven't already, or if it didn't come preinstalled, this chapter will walk you through the installation process for SP2. It will also identify some of the service pack's major features. Let's get started by answering a fundamental question.