I’ve been testing XP, and I’m impressed, despite some bugs. But system administrators and IT folks beware: There are some gotcha’s here that might jump up and bite you.
On the up side, the new firewall is much easier to configure than the old one. It’s easier to add exceptions and poke holes through it for specific applications, and I especially like the way it’s easy to apply it on a connection-by-connection basis, for example automatically turning it on for WiFi HotSpots, and off if you’re behind a corporate firewall.
The new WiFi client is far superior to the old one – amazingly enough, it actually makes WiFi configuration and use simple, compared to the brainteaser-like interface of the old client. And the pop-up killer works like a charm.
SP-2 is still buggy – for example, it still won’t recognize that I run Norton Anti-Virus and keep it up to date. Presumably, though, that’ll be fixed by the final release.
But if I were a system administrator or in IT support, I’d be prepared for the worst. The new firewall will be turned on by default, and that means a whole lot of tech support calls and nightmares. Users will be bombarded with firewall messages, and many of their programs will no longer work.
Also, SP2 automatically blocks file downloads in many instances. Sure, you’d like it if no user ever downloaded a file, but face it, that’s not going to happen. And so they’ll want to know what’s broken with Internet Explorer, not realizing that the download blocking is a feature, not a bug.
The bottom line? It’s more secure than existing XP, and adds some nice new touches. But it’ll be tough for some users to get used to, and as usual, system administrators and IT folks will bear the brunt of the problems.
By the way, if you want a fuller report on SP2, check out Wei-Meng Lee’s inside look.
Have you used XP-2 yet? What do you think? If not, what are your worries?