After I revealed Wednesday that Microsoft had cancelled Windows 2000 Service Pack 5 (SP5) and would instead issue a final Update Rollup for Win2K in 2005, Microsoft posted a public confirmation of the news on its Web site. On the Windows 2000 Update Rollup Announcement page (URL below), Microsoft confirms that the Windows 2000 Update Rollup will replace SP5 as the final combined security patch update for Windows 2000.

"To make it as easy as possible for customers to maintain the security and stability of their Windows 2000 systems, Microsoft will produce an Update Rollup for Windows 2000 Service Pack 4 (SP4), with a planned release in mid-2005," the site reads. "The Update Rollup will contain all security-related updates produced for Windows 2000 between the time SP4 was released and the time when Microsoft finalizes the contents of the Update Rollup. The Update Rollup will also contain a small number of important non-security updates."

In its public announcement, Microsoft notes that the Update Rollup should require less testing than a full service pack because it includes fewer updates than would a service pack and most of the contents of the Update Rollup have been previously released (and presumably tested by Win2K-using companies). "Because Microsoft believes the Update Rollup will meet the needs of customers better than a new service pack, there will be no Service Pack 5 (SP5) for Windows 2000," the company notes, confirming my earlier report. "Therefore, SP4 becomes the final service pack for Windows 2000."

In a FAQ about the Update Rollup, Microsoft notes that the release will be issued as a critical update to Windows Update when it's ready sometime in 2005. Installation of the Update Rollup will not change a Windows 2000 system's service pack level; instead, systems with SP4 and the Update Rollup will be considered "up-to-date" and will be end-of-lifed no sooner than January 1, 2010, Microsoft says. This FAQ is almost identical to the internal documentation I viewed earlier this week, incidentally.

Windows 2000 Update Rollup Announcement
http://www.microsoft.com/windows2000/server/evaluation/news/bulletins/rollup.asp

Windows 2000 Update Rollup Announcement FAQ
http://www.microsoft.com/windows2000/server/evaluation/news/bulletins/rollupfaq.asp