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Two weeks till XP SP3 release
OEMs to get it next week
Anyone who has loaded Windows XP as of late or loads it on a regular basis and has to endure the manual Windows Update from hell will be excited to learn that Windows XP Service Pack 3 is only about two weeks away. Service Pack 3 will be the first Service Pack that Microsoft has released for Windows XP in nearly four years, as Service Pack 2 was released in August of 2004.
Targeted for final release now it is said to be due out April 29th and it is currently unknown if this will be the final service pack release for the very popular Windows operating system. While users and companies get prepared for the final release version of Service Pack 3, OEMs will get the final release version next week ahead of the final release. Microsoft will also be opening it up for download by MSDN and Technet subscribers today.
What makes Service Pack 3 unique is really what it does not include, which are new features. Service Pack 3 is more of a roll up of all previous updates, patches, fixes, and tweaks that had been previously found on Windows Updates in the last four-year period.
The most important new features are those that surround the support of Windows Server 2008; beyond that there is not really much to talk about. One surprising news item about Service Pack 3 of note is that it will not include Internet Explorer 7, as previously expected by many with the release version.
Those that do not elect to download Service Pack 3 and apply it manually before June 10th will start receiving it via Windows Updates on or about that time.
We rattled a lot of cages asking questions about whether we should expect a Service Pack 4 for Windows XP at a future date, and no one really knows one way or the other. Several of our sources suggested that it is more likely that we will see a final update “roll up” rather than a full Service Pack release.
Still, with another extension announced in the support of Windows XP, security updates will still be coming for some time and it does seem likely if there were enough of them that it might move from a “roll up” to a full Service Pack release.
With the release of Service Pack 3 at the end of the month, Microsoft finally met its latest target to get Service Pack 3 out the door during the first half of 2008. It should be pointed out that unless Microsoft has a serious change of heart soon, sales of Windows XP will end June.