Sunday, September 1, 2002

Outlook and 0ffice XP’s Service Pack 2


By Diane Poremsky

Microsoft released Office XP Service Pack 2 (SP2) a couple of weeks ago. This service pack consolidates all patches and hotfixes released since SP1. You will need to have SP1 installed before you can install SP2 -- and future patches and updates will require SP2 as a prerequisite.

Like most service packs, SP2 doesn't include new features for Outlook (or the other Office programs), only bug fixes. One very annoying Outlook bug reportedly fixed involves Rules Wizard rules that won't fire when Outlook starts. Some custom actions which failed previously will work with SP2, although other custom actions still fail.

Like all previous updates, SP2 tightens Outlook's attachment security settings by adding three Visual FoxPro file types to the list of potentially dangerous attachments that Outlook blocks: .app, .fxp, and .prg. Ken Slovak's Attachment Options com addin (at was updated to include these file types. Among the interim security patches rolled into SP2 is the patch from Security Bulletin MS02-021 (Q321804), which is needed to prevent execution of scripts on reply or forward when Word is used as the email editor. Other security patches included in SP2 include MS02-031, Cumulative Patches for Excel and Word for Windows (Q324458) and MS02-044, Unsafe Functions in Office Web Components (Q328130).

Many administrators will be happy with new registry entries that prevent users from adding POP, IMAP, Exchange, or other types of mail accounts to an existing profile. Other new registry keys prevent users from creating new personal folders, although it won't prevent them from opening existing .PST files.

SP2 is available for download from, the file is about 15.5MB. If you have a dial-up connection or need to install it on several computers, you can order a free CD that contains both SP1 and SP2 by visiting

The Administration version of SP2 is about 46MB and is available for download from the Office Resource Kit online (at or on CD.

For more information on the fixes you'll find in SP2, see OFFXP: Overview of the Office XP Service Pack 2 at;en-us;q325671.

Not to be left out, Office 2000 users can look forward to the release of SP3 in a few weeks. While I don't know what fixes SP3 will contain, one rumored change will be the ability to edit the blocked file extensions in Outlook 2000. More information on this is available in Q318515.

Diane Poremsky is the president of CDOLive LLC and a Microsoft Outlook MVP. She's coauthor of Word 2002: The Complete Reference (Osborne, 2001) and Beginning Visual Basic 6 Application Development (for Wrox Press). For questions or suggestions for future columns, write her at