Botched Update Puts Windows XP Fixes On Hold

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Engineers are working to fix a glitch in a Microsoft Web server that has prevented Windows XP users from downloading software updates, including a patch for a new security hole, a spokeswoman said Monday.

The problem, discovered last Thursday, was created when engineers attempted to update software on a server, she said, adding that it is expected to be corrected before Tuesday.

The spokeswoman said she could not confirm the number of people affected by the problem, but said about eight million people download Windows XP software updates each week.

The news does not bode well for Windows XP users who are at risk from two serious security holes announced by the Redmond, Washington-based company last month.

The vulnerabilities could leave computers open to malicious hackers and at risk of being temporarily shut down from a denial-of-service attack or used in such an attack on other computers.

Under a denial-of-service attack, a server is flooded with so much Internet traffic that it is rendered inaccessible to legitimate traffic.

The holes were serious enough to prompt the FBI's National Infrastructure Protection Center to urge Windows XP users to disable the Universal Plug and Play feature that contains the holes.

The new operating system, released Oct. 25, has been touted by Microsoft as its most secure operating system ever.

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