Only 24% of North American companies running Windows XP have downloaded Service Pack 2 since it was launched last year to fight critical security attacks.
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AssetMetrix Research Labs studied the IT environments of 251 companies operating 136,000 PCs and found that less than a quarter running XP had installed SP2.
From 12 April, all companies globally using Microsoft’s Automatic Update service for Windows patches will be offered SP2 automatically.
Microsoft said the SP2 penetration rate in North America is in line with its own estimates, as many large companies said they would delay the download until they had completed their own testing.