Microsoft has patched a glitch with its Windows XP Service Pack 1 (SP1) update that can cause system slowdowns, but has not yet made its still-developing fix widely available.
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Because of changes made in SP1 to Windows XP's memory management system, programs that affect large blocks of memory may take up to 10 times longer to load on a system running SP1 than on one without, Microsoft said.
The company detailed the problem on its support website in a recently posted Knowledge Base article, "Programs Run Slower After You Install Windows XP SP-1".
The bug affects both the Professional and Home Edition versions of Windows XP. SP1, released in September, and includes fixes for a number of security flaws and bugs discovered since Windows XP's release.
For now, the only official way to obtain Microsoft's fix is to contact the company's Product Support Services department. Unless users are severely affected by the problem, Microsoft recommends waiting for a patch until the next Windows XP service pack is released.