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Windows 2000 Bug Fixes Posted

Written By: R. Krause
Published On: August 14 2000

Windows 2000 Bug Fixes Posted
R. Krause - August 14, 2000

Event Summary

Microsoft Corporation has released Service Pack 1 (SP1) for its Windows 2000 operating system. The Service Pack is available for download from Microsoft's web site, and is also on CD. SP1 contains fixes for problems in areas such as setup, application compatibility, operating system reliability, and security.

Unsurprisingly, Microsoft recommends Windows 2000 (Win2K) users deploying Service Pack 1.

Market Impact

Windows 2000 (Win2K) has sold very well since its release on February 17th, but there has always been the concern in some quarters that the initial release would be too buggy for "serious" users. The early reports of 63,000 defects (See "Windows 2000: Paragon for Partisans, Skewered by Skeptics"), combined with the "conventional wisdom" of waiting until Service Pack 1 or 2, may have depressed sales slightly.

With its 83 MB "patch", Microsoft is attempting to allay any remaining fears. Whether they succeed is questionable. Among the more interesting ironies is that SP1 is intended to fix some security issues, yet one researcher has found that it disables two firewall software packages.

There is speculation that Microsoft is releasing the patch to help maintain its lead over Linux (which recently moved past Novell into the #2 server OS position). However, we feel that the lack of Win2K-certified applications is a bigger issue for Windows 2000 acceptance as an enterprise OS. After almost six months, having only 37 server applications listed by Microsoft as certified (13 of which are part of the J.D. Edwards "One World" suite) is not a good sign.

A brief inspection of Microsoft's documentation shows a total of more than 250 separate issues being addressed; we estimate around 30% of these relate to problems/bugs of moderate-to-high importance, such as security, administration, base OS, memory leaks, and directory services.

User Recommendations

With the full Service Pack weighing in at 83 MB, this is not for download by the home user with anything less than DSL or a cable modem. Even the basic download (13.8MB) will take over an hour for a 28.8k modem.

IT managers who have extensive Windows 2000 installations should opt for the full Service Pack, either by download (if they have a T1 line), or by getting the CD (if they only have a modem - not likely, but possible). In addition to the bug fixes described above, use of SP1 means users will no longer have to reinstall or "reassert" the Service Pack after future software application installs (according to Microsoft, we have not verified this). This is a valuable function, and overcomes one of the persistent annoyances from earlier Service Packs for Windows NT.

Because of the issues with "ZoneAlarm" and "BlackICE" (the firewall packages mentioned earlier), we recommend that users with those firewalls delay implementation of SP1, until Service Pack "1a" is released, or until Microsoft issues a patch addressing these problems.

Finally: we do not expect Service Pack 1 to be the last for Win2K. As some may remember, Windows NT 4.0 is up to Service Pack 6 - whoops! we meant 6a - and we expect a similar scenario for 2000 (although maybe not as many).

 
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