Be prepared! (Windows Server 2003 SP2 coming)

It's been a long time since we've seen fixes-only service packs to Microsoft Windows. After looking at Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 2 Release Candidate 1 (SP2 RC1) it looks to me that this upcoming service pack will be more like Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1 and Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 2. Not necessarily a bad thing if you'd ask me though…


A "Feature Rich" Service Pack

The two latest service packs Microsoft has released were both loaded with new features. Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 2 and Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1 introduced new features on security, reliability and performance in contrast to earlier Service Packs for Microsoft Windows XP, Microsoft Windows 2000 and Microsoft Windows NT4.

I can even remember a NT4 Option Pack apart from the Service Packs, that introduced new features (Internet Information Server 4.0, Microsoft Transaction Server 2.0, Microsoft Message Queue Server 1.0 and Internet Connection Services for Microsoft Remote Access Service) and of this Option Pack there were two versions for different architectures. (x86 and Alpha)

New features

Besides the inevitable hotfixes Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 2 will introduce:

  • Windows Deployment Services (WDS)
  • Scalable Networking Pack
  • XMLLite

Enhanced features

It will also introduce enhancements to existing features:

  • Enabling ‘Firewall Per Port’ Authentication
  • Microsoft Management Console 3.0 (MMC 3.0)
  • Wireless Protected Access 2 (WPA2)
  • iCACLS tool
  • Expanded Windows Server 2003 Datacenter SKUs
  • Release of MUI Packs to insure greater compatibility between base and MUI language
  • Performance Improvements for SQL Servers
  • Enhanced discoverability options in MSConfig
  • Improved IPsec filter management
  • Performance Improvements under Windows Virtualization
  • Increased default storage for Message Queuing
  • Improvements to DCDIAG Domain Name Service tests
  • New Events for Cluster Service Accounts


A "Version Rich" Service Pack

Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 2 patches all 32 bit Microsoft Windows XP versions and SKUs. Microsoft Windows Server 2003 ServicePack 2 patches all Microsoft Windows Server 2003 versions and SKUs except Microsoft Windows Small Business Server 2003:

  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003 (x86, x64, Itanium)
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003 R2 (x86, x64, Itanium)
  • Microsoft Windows XP Professional x64 Edition



I guess servicepacks have changed in the last nine years…

Further reading

Windows Server 2003 (and XP x64 ) Service Pack 2
Windows Server 2003 SP2 Frequently Asked Questions
Top 10 Reasons to Install Windows Server 2003 SP2
Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 2 Data Sheet
Windows Server 2003 SP2 RC Refresh 1 Released to testers
Windows 2003 SP2 RC – Refresh 1
Release Notes for Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 2 RC
Windows Server 2003 SP2 RC: Come and get it!
Windows Server 2003 SP2 RC Released to Testers
Windows Service Pack Road Map

leave your comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.