Appendix D: Differences Between Service Pack 1 and Service Pack 2

(Note: This topic describes not just Windows XP Professional with Service Pack 2, but also Windows XP Professional with Service Pack 3.)

In Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2), Microsoft introduces a set of security technologies that help to improve the ability of Windows XP-based computers to withstand malicious attacks from viruses and worms. The technologies include additional network protection, memory protection, and improved computer maintenance. Also included are technologies for safer e-mail handling and enhanced browsing security. In addition, SP2 includes enhanced Administrative templates for Group Policy settings.

Together, these security technologies will help to make it more difficult to attack Windows XP with SP2, even if the latest updates are not applied. These security technologies together are particularly useful in mitigation against worms and viruses.

This white paper provides information about some of the improvements in SP2 as compared to Windows XP Service Pack 1 (SP1). In particular, Appendix C, “Group Policy Settings Listed Under the Internet Communication Management Key” provides information about some of the Group Policy settings available only in SP2 and later. These settings are designed to provide specific ways to control the way components in Windows XP with SP2 communicate with the Internet.

For additional information about the differences between SP2 and SP1, see the following resources: