Monday, April 21, 2008

Windows XP SP3 Officially Released, Goes Public April 29

Microsoft made the announcement public today on the Technet forums
"Windows XP Service Pack 3 Released to Manufacturing"

“Today we are happy to announce that Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3) has released to manufacturing (RTM). Windows XP SP3 bits are now working their way through our manufacturing channels to be available to OEM and Enterprise customers.

We are also in the final stages of preparing for release to the web (i.e. you!) on April 29th, via Windows Update and the Microsoft Download Center. Online documentation for Windows XP SP3, such as Microsoft Knowledge Base articles and the Microsoft TechNet Windows XP TechCenter, will be updated then. For customers who use Windows XP at home, Windows XP SP3 Automatic Update distribution for users at home will begin in early summer.

Thanks to everyone here who installed the public betas – you not only gave us detailed feedback but also helped each other out with timely troubleshooting. Through the beta program we found several important issues and were able to confirm some essential fixes. We couldn’t have done this without you.

We will still be monitoring this forum during the next few weeks in case you have more feedback about the release of Windows XP SP3.”

SP3 is being shipped out to OEM sources and retailers now and will be available to the public via download on April 29th.

SP3 includes all previously released updates for the operating system. This update also includes a small number of new functionalities, which do not significantly change customers’ experience with the operating system.

I've been using the latest beta release for awhile and have not seen any major improvements, and no noticeable increases in performance. There is also the lack of IE7 as well as media player 11, two features I thought should be added.

The new release is said to feature a few improvements:

  • Improvements to “black hole” router detection.

  • Network Access Protection, which is a network policy enforcement platform previously seen in Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008.

  • Enhanced Control Panel Security Options which better explains the impact of the various settings.

  • Product key-free installation now possible. {unattended installation)

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