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Microsoft XP Fix Will Be Painful...

by Blake Cook / July 19, 2004 3:27 AM PDT

(AP) As a vice president at security software leader Symantec Corp., Matthew Moynahan applauds Microsoft Corp.'s effort to make its Windows operating system safer from attack.

But Moynahan is not so excited about the flood of help-desk calls almost certain to come when Microsoft releases a comprehensive security overhaul of Windows XP next month. His company's Norton antivirus software runs on about 100 million desktop computers.

To make the new Microsoft system work smoothly with Norton, customers will need to download a Norton update. The company is already bracing for the change, working with its customer support staff and making plans to increase phone support.

"We don't want consumers to panic," Moynahan said.

He's not alone. As Microsoft prepares to launch its biggest security upgrade ever to Windows, dubbed Service Pack 2, the company is trying to strike a difficult balance between making things safe and making things work.

It's a tough job that is eliciting grumbling from companies whose applications could require major changes -- and glee from security experts who say any software product that doesn't work wasn't secure enough in the first place and needs to be fixed.

"I hope it breaks more things than it's already broken," said Russ Cooper, senior scientist at TruSecure Corp.

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