Windows XP SP1 News!

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According to a story running at CNET Microsoft plans to begin testing on SP1 within a couple of weeks. The service pack is said to include some major updates including significant security fixes related to the trustworthy computing initiative called to life by Bill Gates himself. CNET reports that Windows XP SP1 will ship to manufacturers this summer and will also be available as a free download from WindowsUpdate.

Among the changes is a new control that will allow PC makers or consumers to replace Microsoft software with third-party applications from Microsoft's competitors, such as AOL Time Warner and RealNetworks. The Justice Department settlement identifies five pieces of so-called middleware that Microsoft must allow consumers or PC makers to hide user access to: Internet Explorer, Outlook Express, Windows Media Player, Windows Messenger and Microsoft's version of the Java Virtual Machine. Once the service pack is installed, a new icon will be visible on Windows XP's Program Menu under "Windows Update" for setting program access and defaults. On new PCs, the icon will also be displayed on the Start Menu. The "Set Programs Access and Defaults" control also will appear as the fourth option under the Windows Control Panel. The control offers four different choices for changing the Windows desktop and Start Menu: "Computer Manufacturer Configuration," "Microsoft Windows," "Non-Microsoft" and "Custom." The first of the four options is designed to restore the middleware configuration back to the default setting chosen by the PC maker. It will have little impact on existing Windows XP users when upgrading. PC makers have the choice of installing Microsoft or third-party middleware, and they also have the option of hiding access to Microsoft middleware. Source: CNET