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The Application Compatibility Testing and Mitigation Guide for Windows XP Service Pack 2 is designed to provide process and technical guidance to help IT professionals test and mitigate application compatibility issues arising from the more stringent security technologies introduced in Microsoft® Windows® XP Service Pack 2 (SP2). This guidance discusses security technologies, an application testing process, incompatibility symptoms, mitigation techniques, and deployment scenarios.

Windows XP SP2 introduces a set of security technologies that improve the ability of Windows XP systems to withstand malicious attacks, and provides the IT administrator with system wide security configuration capabilities.

Windows XP SP2 is more secure by default, and therefore automatically provides improved protection to Windows XP systems. However, because system security becomes more restrictive upon initial installation, Windows XP SP2 may also expose application compatibility issues. Therefore, prior to full deployment of Windows XP SP2, it is important to investigate the possible application compatibility issues.


The information contained in this guide is targeted at IT professionals and administrators in roles ranging from support to application testing, security configuration and network administration. The guide does not assume a particular size or complexity of network, and covers peer-to-peer, domain, and Active Directory® environments. The security information is relevant even for networks that do not have Internet access.


This guide provides information on how to ensure that applications operate with Windows XP with SP2. It includes process roadmaps and guidance on how to identify and mitigate compatibility issues and how to deploy mitigation fixes. This guide describes the security technologies implemented by Windows XP SP2 and provides guidance on mitigating application compatibility issues, which was identified by performing extensive testing of Microsoft and non-Microsoft applications. This guide also includes details about changes and enhancements to the following features in Windows XP:

  • Internet Explorer

  • Windows Firewall

  • Data Execution Prevention

  • Distributed Component Object Model / Remote Procedure Calls

  • Attachment Management

Descriptions of each of the chapters in this guide:

  • Chapter 1 -Introduction: This chapter discusses the changes in Windows XP with SP2 that significantly enhance the security of computers running Windows XP.

  • Chapter 2 -Application Compatibility Testing: This chapter describes an approach to testing for specific application incompatibilities that these new features may bring.

  • Chapter 3 -Mitigating Application Compatibility Issues: This chapter describes mitigation techniques that use a combination of user interface, scripts, and Active Directory Group Policy.

  • Chapter 4 -Deploying Mitigation Fixes: This chapter discusses deployment methods for Windows XP SP2.

In addition to these chapters, the guide provides an appendix that provides sample scripts and two scenarios of deploying application compatibility mitigation scripts.


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  • How useful was the information provided?

  • Were the step-by-step procedures accurate?

  • Were the chapters readable and interesting?

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Application Compatibility Testing and Mitigation Guide for Windows XP Service Pack 2
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