Deployment of Windows XP Service Pack 2

by Joe Lee

As publicized in the article "Delayed Deployment of Windows XP Service Pack 2 (WinXP SP2)" (Network Computing, Issue 41 - September 2004), WinXP SP2 is more than just a series of bug fixes but significant changes to the security protection mechanism. These changes can affect both existing applications and applications under development as they may cause incompatibility and render these applications unusable. Therefore, WinXP SP2 upgrade requires in-depth testing before campus-wide deployment and needs close coordination when launched in case unexpected problems arise. Subsequent communication to the Departmental Network Administrators (DNAs) in December 2004 indicated that the deployment of WinXP SP2 would be in phases, starting from mid-January 2005.

In order to smoothen deployment, the Computing Services Centre (CSC) invites departments (through the DNAs) to join the upgrade according to the tentative schedule. After seeking consent from the concerned department, the CSC will schedule to download and then install WinXP SP2 to the PCs of the department accordingly. Depending on hardware configurations, the average installation time of WinXP SP2 is about 2 hours. As the installation process consumes a lot of computer resources and the disruption during installation can cause unrecoverable errors, installation time has been scheduled to be the least busy period, normally during mid-night when nobody works in the office. Users are also advised not to disturb the installation process nor click on the Windows Update indicator on the Desktop to start installation manually. Besides, the Help Desk and the support team have been alerted to support the different scenarios that may arise.

By the end of February 2005, about two-thirds of the departments have been arranged for the upgrade and more than 600 staff LAN PCs have been successfully upgraded. The target completion date of the whole upgrade exercise is mid-April 2005 right before Microsoft revokes the blockage of automatic download of WinXP SP2 through its Windows Update tool. With careful planning, we managed to proceed the installation at a good pace without too many problems.

As a next step to help staff get the most advantages from WinXP SP2, the CSC has arranged the training partner to prepare half-day short courses, covering both the CityU and more generic home computing environments. When the course is ready, staff can find out the training schedules through the e-Portal for online enrollment.

Microsoft has put up many useful resources online. The followings are helpful in general:

For more information, please contact the CSC Help Desk at 2788 7658.