The long overdue security update for Microsoft's XP operating system will soon be available.
Microsoft has released the SP2 update to PC manufacturers and it is expected to be widely available in late August.
The update can be downloaded from a Microsoft site, ordered from the company or found on CDs cover-mounted on some consumer technology magazines.
The security update is already available to companies who subscribe to Microsoft's developer network.
Service Pack 2 has been created to close many of the loopholes that many Windows viruses have exploited over the last few years. Malicious hackers have used other loopholes in Windows XP to take over and remotely control PCs.
The SP2 software installs a security centre that lets people see and manage the measures installed on their machine to block viruses and hack attacks.ads and lets users know when spyware is trying to install itself on their machine.
The software also stops graphics in e-mail messages loading automatically. This is because spammers use these graphics as a way to log live e-mail addresses.
The Service Pack 2 security update was originally supposed to appear in 2003 but successive technical hitches have delayed its arrival.
To make sure the update is widely used, Microsoft said it has worked hard to ensure that it conflicts with as few existing applications as possible.