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Episode 1, the Bug Menace

The Windows 2000 Service Pack 1: patch, problem or placebo? SearchWin2000 had heard the good, the bad, the ugly and the uneventful from various sources out in cyberspace. So, our interest piqued, we wanted to know what kinds of experiences our readers were having with the product. Based on responses from 536 Windows 2000 users participating in our recent poll, "uneventful" leads the pack of feedback.

Six out of every ten voters said they tried SP1 and didn't notice any difference. That's likely a good thing, since bug fixes are probably best seen and not heard. "There isn't much I can say about the Windows 2000 Service Pack 1," said Michael Fox of Fox Technology Consulting in New York. "I've been installing SP1 since it was first released on many different types of workstations and servers and haven't encountered any problems to date."

Fox said most of the systems he's covered with SP1 are pretty basic file servers or test systems. Steve Shireman of Synertech Systems in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania said his company has loaded the patch into a Win2k test environment with no problems thus far. He doesn't have enough faith in the product, however, to take it home.

We had heard that SP1 does not play well with firewalls. Eleven percent of those responding said the patch made their walls come tumblin' down. "I am running Win2k at home on a personal network with a personal firewall," said Shireman. "Due to the negative feedback I have heard, I have chosen not to load SP1 at home." Not all products afford users a choice. At least one application has made SP1 an obligation, not an option: Microsoft's ISA server must have SP1 installed first.

A solid one fifth of voters said Windows 2000 ran like a Swiss Watch right out of the box and didn't need the bug fix. Fox, who installed it anyway and recommended others do the same, said he's been impressed with Windows 2000 from the beginning. "I can't help wondering where Novell would be (or not be) today if Microsoft had released this OS a year or two earlier," he said.

Of course, there's still a lot of Win2k migrating to do and there will likely be more patching for Microsoft to do. Our poll unscientifically represents the first month of SP1's release. There could be more sequels to this first episode coming to a monitor screen near you.

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