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Microsoft releases Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1
Posted on 31-Mar-2005 14:49. | Tags Filed under: News.

Microsoft Corp. has released to manufacturing the Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1 (SP1). This service pack provides customers with significant security enhancements as well as reliability and performance improvements. Service Pack 1 addresses additional core security issues by providing customers with a reduced attack surface, better protected system services with stronger default settings, and reduced privileges.

Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1 provides new functionality to address known security vulnerabilities and prepares companies to better face future security threats. These new technologies include a Security Configuration Wizard which allows system administrators to reduce attack surface area by gathering information about specific server roles, then automatically blocking all services and ports not needed to perform those roles.

The new software also introduces the Windows Firewall, allowing networkwide control through Group Policy in a similar fashion as the Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2).

New is also the Post-Setup Security Updates (PSSU). This tool prevents the situation where servers are vulnerable during the time between their installation and application of the latest security updates. Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1 blocks all inbound connections to the server after installation until Windows Update has delivered the latest security updates to the new computer.

Other Service Pack 1 features that offer customers a more robust security defense include Internet Information Services (IIS) 6.0 Metabase Auditing, which allows administrators to identify potential malicious users should the store become corrupted, stronger defaults and privilege reduction on services to establish a minimum security threshold for applications, and the addition of Network Access Quarantine Control components to allow administrators to isolate out-of-date virtual private networking (VPN) assets.

Microsoft says that customers can expect to see an increase in overall reliability and performance with the enhancements in Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1. Microsoft internal testing shows customers can expect increased performance and reliability up to 50 percent, depending upon workload, after deploying Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1. The company tested a wide range of server applications including anti-virus, firewall, database, communication, business intelligence, Web development, financial and more.

Microsoft customers can obtain Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1 free via download from the Microsoft Download Center or through Windows Update, OEM preinstallation, CD order, or the Volume Licensing and System Builder programs. As part of the worldwide rollout of Windows Server 2003 SP1 and Windows Small Business Server 2003 SP1, Microsoft will localize the software in 18 languages over the next two months. Also today, Windows Server 2003 x64 Editions and Windows XP Professional x64 Edition were released to manufacturing and will be available through various partners in late April.

Customers will be able to obtain Windows Small Business Server 2003 SP1 within the next 60 days through the Microsoft Web site.

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