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XP SP3 to arrive on April 29th


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Said to be first painless update from Microsoft

We have confirmed that the long awaited Service Pack 3 for Windows XP will FINALLY be available for download to the general public starting April 29th, according to confirmed reports from our sources.

While Service Pack 3 has been described as primarily a collection of patches, bug fixes, as we told you previously it will lack little in the way of new features beyond Network Access Protection, Kernel Mode Cryptographic Module,  and depending on whether you view it as a new feature or not, a revamped version of the Windows product activation system.

According to Microsoft, they claim that it will be a “painless” update in the same vain as the Service Pack 1 update that was recently released for Windows Vista. We can say that our experience with Service Pack 3 during the beta process has been positive overall, but we have had some issues “slip streaming” Service Pack 3 into Windows XP to make a bootable installation CD. These issues appear to have been resolved in the final release version.

The final released version of Service Pack 3 will weigh in at 580MB if you download the package directly, but you will only have to download the initial required 70MB if you apply Service Pack 3 using Windows Update.

Users that are running either Service Pack 1 or 2 for Windows XP can use Service Pack 3 as the only Service Pack they apply, because all updates contained in Service Pack 1 and 2 are contained in Service Pack 3. As one might have guessed Service Pack 3 is compatible with all Windows XP versions, including XP Media Center Edition. Service Pack 3 is only for the 32-bit version of Windows XP and is not compatible with the 64-bit version of Windows XP.

It is difficult to say at what rate Corporate IT shops will roll out Service Pack 3 to existing systems, but discussions with several IT professionals have indicated that they have been testing Service Pack 3 for some time and they expect to be adding it to a baseline image for computers that are rolled out in the future as soon as the time comes to refresh the images.

Of course, new system images that are built for new models going forward will likely get Service Pack 3 right off the bat. As for rolling it out to existing clients, more IT professionals suggested that it will depend more on time that is available to get it done and additional testing with machines in the field before a full push would be on to get Service Pack 3 deployed.

It has been a long wait for Service Pack 3 and while it will streamline the loading of new systems, we expect that the adoption rate for Service Pack 3 will be very high, with enthusiasts leading the charge in the deployment of Service Pack 3. Corporate users, however, will likely have to wait a bit for their IT shops to finish final testing figure out how they will deploy it. We will have to see if it is as “painless” as Microsoft suggests, but it has been a long time coming and we will just have to see if it is, in fact, the last major Service Pack for Windows XP.

Last modified on 22 April 2008
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