CIOs: No hurry to install SP2 upgrade

Fears about software stability are behind a corporate wait-and-see approach toward the Windows XP update.

Concerns about stability and the impact on existing systems will cause many companies to delay the installation of Microsoft's Windows XP Service Pack 2 update, according to a poll of chief information officers.

Microsoft's long-awaited and much-delayed Windows XP SP2 was finally sent off to PC manufacturers last week and will be made available to users via Internet download and CD over the coming weeks.

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But many IT bosses, surveyed by, a CNET sister site, have said they will refrain from installing SP2 and do testing on the update while watching how other early-adopter companies cope.

Graham Yellowley, director of technology at the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi, is not planning to install SP2 until the fourth quarter.

"We have sufficient security measures in place to stop viruses, etc., reaching the desktop, so additional security there is not required. In addition, there will need to be a lot of testing to evaluate the changes and differences within SP2 before we build it into our standard build," he said.

Pete Smith, director of IT and telecommunications at communications provider Inmarsat, said: "Understanding exactly what's in the service pack and how stable it is will be our first priority. As soon as we have confidence that it does not have any problems, we will implement it to all XP users."

Those comments reflect the concerns of other businesses, such as computer industry giant IBM, which last week told employees to hold off installing SP2 until Big Blue can fully test and customize it.

But some companies are willing to install SP2 now, given the increase in security that it promises. Gavin Whatrup, IT director at advertising agency Delaney Lund Knox Warren & Partners, welcomed the new security features Microsoft has included.

"The additional security features will give rise to a significant amount of customization and testing before rollout. A big release from Microsoft which is well-focused, but with a large administrative overhead," he said.

Check out the full verdict on Windows XP SP2 from a panel of leading IT chiefs on's latest CIO Jury. Through CIO Jury, asks a pool of CIOs, IT directors and other heads of IT about key technology developments. Respondents reply with a "guilty" or "not guilty" verdict and with arguments to back up their vote. uses comments from the first 12 respondents.

Andy McCue of reported from London.

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