Information Technology Systems and Services (ITSS) has created a Web page that will walk Microsoft Windows XP users on campus through a major update being released worldwide this month to make the operating system less vulnerable to computer hackers and viruses.

Downloading of “Service Pack 2” will change how Internet Explorer handles pop-up windows, consequently affecting users of business applications such as Kronos, PeopleSoft and Oracle Financials. The Web page that ITSS has set up will guide staffers through the installation process and the reconfiguration of Windows XP once it has been updated.

The page at www.stanford.edu/dept/itss/ess/pc/xpsp2/index.hml also contains a tool that will assist with the reconfiguration and that should be downloaded and run after users have completed the update. Microsoft initially made the patch available to Windows XP users in mid-August, through an automatic-update service built into the operating system.

But not everyone uses the automatic update, which will deliver the patch to a limited number of Windows XP users worldwide per day, said Jay Stamps, an ITSS technical support consultant. Service Pack 2 should be available through the Microsoft Windows Update site, http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com, in late August. Stamps said that date is approximate because Microsoft has changed the release date several times.

Even with a fairly fast Internet connection, the installation could take two hours or longer to complete, and the download requires at least 1.8 gigabytes of free disk space, Stamps said. He added that the majority of computers on campus are PCs.

The need to install the patch isn’t as urgent for Windows XP users who downloaded Service Pack 1 and subsequent updates. But as soon as they have time, ITSS recommends they download Service Pack 2 because it “offers real improvements in Windows security.” Those with additional questions are asked to submit a help request at http://helpsu.stanford.edu.

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