Having announced that quarterly Service Pack patches would be the norm from now on with Windows NT and Windows 98, Microsoft is working to ensure that future Service Packs are less of a headache. Service Pack 3, for example, requires an 18MB download. Starting with Service Pack 4, Microsoft will debut new patch technology that drastically reduces the size of the download and installation.

"This \[new\] patch technology will be much smaller in size," Microsoft VP Jim Allchin said. "\[Previously, we had to\] ship the whole new DLL or file. But now it will be able to determine that only these bytes have been changed, and it will only ship the changes."

The Windows NT team stated previously that Service Pack 4 would ship by the end of the year, but Allchin wouldn't confirm that.