But it's the XP Service Pack, a security update to Windows XP that's slated for release by the end of September, that has been the focus of customers waiting for relief from the seemingly endless parade of patches. Kaplan gave those in attendance at Thursday's presentation a glimpse of the software, showing how it will better protect Web browsers & more-effectively secure network resources and critical applications such as E-mail. On the browser side, Kaplan demonstrated the service pack's ability to block pop-up windows & the installation of ActiveX controls, which not only slow performance but often are used to download malicious software to a PC. "It puts the user back in control," he said. He also showed a new security-center icon in the system tray that will keep users informed on the status of firewall protection, system updates, & antivirus protection.

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