Elizabeth Montalbano, IDG News Service
A Microsoft employee is warning against downloading an unauthorized
version of Windows XP Service Pack 3 that has surfaced on a popular
Web site that provides software patches.
On a recent Microsoft user newsgroup posting, Mike Brannigan, an
enterprise strategy and senior consultant at Microsoft, told users
that downloading an unofficial version of Windows XP SP3 provided on
The http://Hotfix.net would likely harm their computer and put them
"out of support from Microsoft" or other vendors because it is not an
official Microsoft package.
"You would be well advised to stay clear of this fake SP3 package,"
Brannigan wrote in the post, which appears on Google Groups. "It is
not suitable for testing as it is _NOT_ SP3 ... Anyone who installs
this thinking they are getting SP3 (even as a preview) is being
grossly mislead and is posing a significant potentially
non-recoverable risk to their PC and data."
However, Ethan Allen, the creator and administrator of The Hotfix,
asserts that though the version of Windows XP SP3 provided on his site
is not necessarily the official version, it is a reasonable preview of
what will appear when the official service pack is released.
Official Fix Delayed
Microsoft has said that Windows XP SP3 will be available after the
release of Windows Vista, which is expected toward the end of 2006.
"Our pack is indeed a preview to what the official service pack will
be, as these hotfixes will be in Service Pack 3 as proven by
Microsoft's own knowledge base," according to a post by Allen on
TheHotfix.net. "Each of these hotfixes can be obtained for free from
Microsoft by calling their support lines. You should not take a
download from hotfix.com. Get the real thing from Microsoft."
Allen also wrote that while there is a possibility the SP3 on his site
will make a user's machine less stable, it is not the fault of The
Hotfix, because the software came from Microsoft, not the site itself.
Allen put together the preview of SP3 from software updates he
received from an internal Microsoft source. In an interview Wednesday,
Allen said that Microsoft has not contacted him directly about the
hotfixes he has posted, but his Microsoft source told him the company
was conducting an internal investigation to find out who was leaking
the hotfixes to his site.
Though published reports claimed several weeks ago that there would be
a third service pack for Windows XP, Microsoft shrugged off its
existence until last Thursday, when the company abruptly acknowledged
that SP3 would be available after Windows Vista ships next year.
Copyright 2005 PC World Communications, Inc.
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