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IBM Tells Employees To Hold Off WinXP SP2 325

robpoe writes "As reported by ZDNet, IBM's technology department has warned internal users to not install Windows XP SP2 until IBM can fix some known issues with the way IE6 is updated, and Big Blue can make a customized version of the patch - 'The company's technology department said the delay is 'due to known application problems and incompatibility with IBM workstation applications.''" However, the article also mentions that: "One IBM employee in the company's internal technology department characterized the decision as routine."
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IBM Tells Employees To Hold Off WinXP SP2

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  • by disc-chord ( 232893 ) on Monday August 09, 2004 @06:37PM (#9924675)
    Scary headline to read while I'm in the middle of installing it right now!
    • by Stevyn ( 691306 ) on Monday August 09, 2004 @06:44PM (#9924747)
      Didn't you read the instructions to close all your applications before installing??? Sheesh! What a windows noob! Just remember to restart when your finished :)
    • by Donoho ( 788900 ) on Monday August 09, 2004 @06:46PM (#9924768) Homepage
      Scary headline to read while I'm in the middle of installing it right now!

      It should only really be scary if you're installing it and you work for IBM...
      • Yea, but if its common at IBM to not install patches until they are made to work with Microsoft's updates, you have to start asking:

        Is Microsoft intentionally making the patches not play nicely with IBM software? It wouldn't be the first time, would it? No, I don't have a tinfoil hat on, but IF IBM gets cozier with Novell (or buys it) it will be positioned to be Microsoft's competition with SuSE, which is argueably the best distro for home users and the business desktop.
    • Re:Scary headline (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Monday August 09, 2004 @06:46PM (#9924772) Homepage
      Why scary? in my company I know it will not be approved for at LEAST another 3 months. They announced 2 days ago in an internal Email that SP2 is not to be applied to any of the XP machines for any reason.

      This is typical of every large company, I'm betting over 90$ of large american corperations have a hold off SP2 order in their IT departments right now.
      • by nacturation ( 646836 ) <> on Monday August 09, 2004 @06:55PM (#9924858) Journal
        This is typical of every large company, I'm betting over 90$ of large american corperations have a hold off SP2

        So if not *every* large company does this, does that mean you'll pay me $90?
      • Why won't it be approved - it's been in beta for *ages*. That's a clue for sysadmins to stop reading other peoples email and start integration testing in their organization.

        I've tested the RC's with our product (I'm a tester), so the final release of XP SP2 isn't a shocker - we know the implications of running our product on it....
        • Re:Scary headline (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Moofie ( 22272 )
          Because Microsoft never releases broken software from beta, right?


          What color bridge would you like, sir?
        • Re:Scary headline (Score:3, Insightful)

          by cmacb ( 547347 )
          Who can blame them?

          My methodology has always been to watch the history of updates from a given source. After a couple of years of updates that do more good than harm you trust them enough to apply them almost immediately. I say almost because you at least try it on a few test machines first, but this can be done within hours of the updates availability.

          What you do after not one, but several bad updates, those that break key components and fix problems that you don't even have, or claim to fix problems but
      • by swb ( 14022 ) on Monday August 09, 2004 @07:44PM (#9925172)
        Every large company has a hold off on SP2 order so their IT staff can hit reload on Slashdot for a week or so to see if any "SP2 sux0rs!!11" stories get posted. If we go 2 weeks without one, expect it to get rolled out.

        Another site to check are some of the gaming forums. If it doesn't trash Doom3 and the Slashbots pretending to work don't report problems, it must be OK.

    • That's great ... I already installed it, how do you think I feel. Atleast you can (or could have) stop it.
  • by rdunnell ( 313839 ) * on Monday August 09, 2004 @06:39PM (#9924690)
    Hey, lots of companies install policies on their IT assets that flat out prevent installing unauthorized patches on corporate systems.

    This is a pretty big patch, and people have known for a while that it's going to change the way some things work. It makes sense to show caution before allowing a mass deployment. There's not much news here.
    • Our company has issued notices not to install the patch until, well, it can be patched. Also, we will house it locally. Imagine 3000 people all trying to download this 250mb patch (hell, it will proably be around 300mb when it is released) at once... Networking will give a snail a run for it's money.
      • It's 266MB for a complete network install package, to handle all 32bit releases of Windows XP. The actual percentage of that total needed to install on a single XP Pro system will be considerably less.

        On a side note, the service pack is actually released, and totals 266MB (272,391KB).
    • i'm sure the IT crew has more than a few things to do already!

      Side note: just went cruising dell's site for any word on putting sp2 on the gf's new Dimension xps and didn't see much mention of it by way of "don't do this yet" or "my god people hurry and install", so i'm going to call tech support (i heard that chuckle) and see what they have to say on the matter. Prolly have it down by rote at this point after getting more than a few calls about it. If it were my pc, i'd do it just to see all the stuff an
    • I work for a large financial institution and we have taken the same stance. Working closely with IBM, as most large companies do, I have noticed they all use WindowsXP on their notebooks. We however, have not even made the jump to XP; Windows 2000 is still the standard.
  • It is routine! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 09, 2004 @06:40PM (#9924696)
    This is very much standard practice here at IBM. We aren't even supposed to use windowsupdate and instead use an internal tool that installs patches.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 09, 2004 @06:40PM (#9924698)
  • Isn't this sort of decision standard in any large organisation? As with any upgrade, IBM will want to ensure that the upgrade isn't going to break any internal applications. No large organisation is going to want employees installing significant OS upgrades without central verification.
  • We have asked all of our XP users to hold off until we can verify it. So this should be a good practice at any company
  • by Supp0rtLinux ( 594509 ) <> on Monday August 09, 2004 @06:43PM (#9924730)
    I just installed it and now my I'm getting the BSOD. Dang it! I went to Linux to get rid of the !@#$ BSOD!

    Oh, nevermind... my bad. That was just my screensaver and someone unplugged my mouse.

    The only thing necessary for Micro$oft to triumph is for a few good programmers to do nothing". North County Computers []
  • It's not a big deal (Score:5, Interesting)

    by futuresheep ( 531366 ) on Monday August 09, 2004 @06:43PM (#9924737) Journal
    We've just sent out the exact same message to our users, and we're only a company of 350 people. Now that the final release is out, we'll test it, and create an install that fits our enviroment.

    Helpful Deployment Tools Here []

  • Yeah, just like every company they wants to test all of the intranet sites that may take advantage of an IE security flaw.
  • PR (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rosco P. Coltrane ( 209368 ) on Monday August 09, 2004 @06:45PM (#9924765)
    IBM's technology department has warned internal users to not install Windows XP SP2 until IBM can fix some known issues

    And of course, the first thing that happens is, this internal memo somehow finds its way to ZDNet. Looks like PR FUD to me.

    It's good though, at least Microsoft gets a little of its own medicine once in a while...
  • Indeed. (Score:4, Informative)

    by James_G ( 71902 ) <james.globalmegacorp@org> on Monday August 09, 2004 @06:46PM (#9924780)
    This is routine for any organization. Even the normal hotfixes put out through Windows update can cause problems and incompatibilities for other software used through the organization. Here where I work, our IT department tests every patch with all the software we use before authorizing it for use on the desktops.

    This is especially important for XP SP2, because it does break a lot of stuff. In particular, it breaks the (enterprise class) products we produce in several places (I personally am working on our own hotfixes to be sent out ASAP). This is the sort of problem companies like IBM want to avoid. So, all things considered, this is a total non story.

  • by BillsPetMonkey ( 654200 ) on Monday August 09, 2004 @06:46PM (#9924784)
    "One IBM employee in the company's internal technology department characterized the decision as routine."

    One Microsoft employee in the company's unspecified division of vaguery was alleged to have characterized a response which resembled "We OWNZ you biatch!".

    No really, they did.
  • by MarkTina ( 611072 ) on Monday August 09, 2004 @06:48PM (#9924796)
    The reason we're being told to hold off is that the new IE might not be compatible with some internal applications on the intranet (stuff like, payroll, expenses claims etc). There's no wording that SP2 breaks stuff in general, just that some critical IBM apps are effected. So stop scare mongering!
    • by Anonymous Coward
      WTF has the world come to, that your web browser can have an effect on whether or not your payroll program still works?

      If that isn't a damning testimony to the abuse of ActiveX, I don't know what is.

      People, if an IE update might break something important, then you have seriously fucked up your whole approach to computers.

  • by Yaos ( 804128 ) on Monday August 09, 2004 @06:52PM (#9924840)
    A company testing new software before installing it on every system they have? Why I never! Next thing you know they'll be telling us that we should not run every attachment we get in our email.
  • I bet they're just sucking up to the Linux crowd. First the public display of affection for open source, then the We-won't-sue-Linux french kiss. Now they drop the big one: "we don't trust MS either." Maybe they finally got a real marketing department. :)
  • any idas on how one would stop users, in a large corporation, from d/l this server pack? apart from blocking the and ??? asking the user to NOT d/l doesn't help much.
  • Understanble (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rf0 ( 159958 ) <> on Monday August 09, 2004 @07:12PM (#9924972) Homepage
    Its better to have a system with known quirks than an system with unknown quirks

  • by jamesdood ( 468240 ) on Monday August 09, 2004 @07:12PM (#9924979)
    It could be the "updated" IBM version of SP2 is a nice clean Linux install...

  • by osho_gg ( 652984 ) on Monday August 09, 2004 @07:32PM (#9925098)
    I have WinXP Home SP1 with all the latest updates applied. I downloaded the SP2 .EXE file from's download and attempted to install it.

    The installation went fine except that somewhere in the middle of the installation I got "Access is denied." error. The installation program then went and de-installed what was partially installed and restored it to SP1 (Thank Goodness!). This was while logged in (as the only user in the system) with administrative privileges. Windows was rebooted and it booted fine in SP1.

    I rebooted SP1 in Safe mode and logged in as the Administrator. I repeated the installation process with exact same error "Access is denied.". Again, reverted to SP1 successfully

    I am thankful that it was possible to change back to SP1 and WinXP booted. But, I just can't seem to be able to install SP2. Now, I am scared than earlier about trying it for the third time.

    • Me too. I got the same error message. I checked the svcpack.log file that it leaves behind in the \windows directory and it indicated that the problem occurred while doing something to the registry, but it provided no clue as what section.

      I posted a query on a MS newsgroup and got a response from an MVP that indicated that it was a rights issue, that I didn't have rights to modify some section of my registry.

      My suspicion is that this problem resulted from my machine having being a member of two differen
  • IBM is just following standard change management/control procedures. Of course, they want to ensure that their own internal application still work after the apply of SP2. Whats wrong with that ? I hope most organisations will test SP2 out in test environments before rolling out to production PC's. This is just common sense. I pity some people who cant understand normal change control procedures. This is a mind set that unfortunately appears to be being lost - these are lessons learned nearly 30 years ago on
  • Prudent of IBM (Score:3, Insightful)

    by pyrrhonist ( 701154 ) on Monday August 09, 2004 @07:41PM (#9925142)
    I've been seeing a couple of complaints here that IBM had plenty of time to evaluate this with the release candidates and beta versions. I'm pretty sure that's exactly what they did, and are still holding off because they did identify some issues (as the article said). I can't imagine that it will take IBM too long to roll this into their next set of XP disk images, and get SP2 out on their corporate update servers.

    IBM is being prudent in this case, because of the issues they identified with well known applications and their internal applications. I wouldn't be surprised if the are also holding off on the update until some of their internal applications are updated. A large portion of the company probably relys on these applications, and updating would cause too much downtime. They probably identifed the issues with these applications during the SP2 beta cycle, have updated them, and are beginning the process of updating images and rolling them out.

    That being said, I'm wondering if we'll start seeing announcements from other companies that are doing the same thing. I'm thinking that HP probably has as many PCs if not more than IBM.

  • Microsoft only published guidelines, whitepapers and training on how SP2 would impact existing apps, what, six maybe eight months ago? Shame nobody in your corporation could be bothered to actually read them and check the apps. What did you think? That if you ignored it, Microsoft wouldn't ship SP2?

    Of course, this IS from the company that brought us Y2K.

  • by porky_pig_jr ( 129948 ) on Monday August 09, 2004 @08:46PM (#9925551)
    I've used to work for IBM. Remember recieving my laptop (T21), don't recall any special notes on 'not downloading any patches'. OTOH, this patch changes so many things, that I understand why IBM is so paranoid about it. They don't want to deal with all the broken apps.

    Personally, I'm going to hold on with this patch as well. Why do I need it anyway? When I ru Windows (and I have a dual boot), I only use Mozilla as a browser, have firewall, Active-X tracker, always up to date virus scanner, and several spybot scanners/detectors. So I would rather hold on till, say, the end of this year -- when dust settles down ... Or may be never.
  • FedEx SP2 Issues (Score:3, Interesting)

    by TerminalEcho ( 521883 ) on Monday August 09, 2004 @09:46PM (#9925846) Homepage
    Here @ FedEx we tested some SP2 installs and it broke a bunch of our apps. We are also holding out on deploying this service pack to our machines so we can make a custom SP2. I think alot of companies are doing the same. TE

%DCL-MEM-BAD, bad memory VMS-F-PDGERS, pudding between the ears