More than 10 per cent of corporate-based Windows XP PCs, many owned by small companies, are being thrown out of whack by Microsoft’s Service Pack 2 requirements, the research arm of AssetMetrix Inc. said recently.

Ottawa-based AssetMetrix Research Labs said Microsoft Corp. confirmed certain

applications and hardware may no longer work properly after Windows XP Service Pack 2 is installed, and listed 60 applications that need to change to be compatible with the new operating system.

According to data from Microsoft’s knowledge base, some products that have become dysfunctional under Windows XP SP2 include: AOL Toolbar version 1.13.2 (the information bar blocks access to the tool’s edit box); BitDefender AntiSpam version 7 (it cannot be installed); and Kaspersky Anti-Virus, the German version 5 program (real-time scanning does not work).

AssetMetrix Research discovered a relationship between the extent to which PCs are affected and the size of the company. Firms with fewer than 100 XP installations had an average adverse impact of about 12 per cent while larger organizations experienced problems with about six per cent of their machines.

Though AssetMetrix Research Labs has no statistical proof, it reasoned smaller companies may be more negatively affected by the issue between software and SP2 because they often run older applications, Steve O’Halloran, managing director of AssetMetrix Research Labs, said.

Programs such as Corel WordPerfect Office have run into problems with Windows XP SP2, O’Halloran said, but Microsoft Office has not.

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