I installed the Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2) beta in a Windows XP Professional virtual machine environment to see what's new in this interesting release. As a preview, here's a look at some of the new features, most of which are centered around what Microsoft calls "safety technologies." For a more in-depth look at this release, please see my Windows XP Service Pack 2 Beta Preview.

Windows XP SP2 is due by mid-2004, according to Microsoft.

   
First boot screen, System properties, new Automatic Updates settings.
   
New Windows Update.
   
New Windows Update.
   
New Internet Connection Firewall Control Panel applet.
   
New Internet Connection Firewall.
   
New pop-up ad blocking in Internet Explorer 6.05.
   
New pop-up ad blocking and browser add-on management in Internet Explorer 6.05.
   
New email security features in Outlook Express 6.05.
 
Outlook Express 6.05.