Microsoft alerted me yesterday that the company has decided to suspend the Automatic Updates rollout of Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2) to give its corporate customers more time to install the download-blocking mechanism that Microsoft provided last week. As a result, XP Home Edition users will start receiving XP SP2 via Automatic Updates on Wednesday, August 18, and XP Professional Edition users will start receiving the update via Automatic Updates on Wednesday, August 25. The original schedule called for both sets of users to start receiving the update yesterday, August 16.
  
"Because some of our customers use Automatic Updates for a collection of PCs, and because \[those\] organizations might not yet be prepared to deploy XP SP2 on those machines, we recently made available a mechanism for temporarily blocking the download of XP SP2 to those machines that use Automatic Updates," a Microsoft representative told me. "Last week, we received feedback from our corporate customers that they would like more time to put this temporary blocking mechanism into place. Based on that feedback, we've altered the XP SP2 delivery schedule. Machines that are running XP Pro and use Automatic Updates won't receive XP SP2 until Wednesday, August 25--at the earliest." 
  
Here's the altered XP SP2 delivery schedule:
   - August 6: Release to manufacturing (RTM)
   - August 9: Release to Microsoft Download Center (full network installation package) and to the Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) subscription site (CD-ROM International Organization for Standardization--ISO--image)
   - August 10: Release to Automatic Updates (for machines running beta or release candidate--RC--versions of XP SP2 only)
   - August 16: Release to Microsoft Software Update Services (SUS)
   - August 18: Release to Automatic Updates for users running XP Home only
   - August 25: Release to Automatic Updates for all XP users, including those running XP Pro, and to Windows Update for interactive user installations

Corporate administrators who want to download the mechanism that temporarily disables Automatic Updates and Windows Update XP SP2 deliveries should visit the Microsoft TechNet Web site. Note that this site currently includes an out-of-date version of the SP2 rollout schedule. Thanks to Stephen Bink at http://bink.nu for alerting me to the schedule change.