But don’t get your hopes up just yet! It’ll still be a little while until it’s released to a wider community.
Partners and OEM manufacturers will get first shot at the Service Pack while end users can easily expect to wait until (Northern Hemisphere) summer time to get their hands on it.
Whilst the expectation and hoopla surrounding the upcoming release is hitting Star Wars: The Phantom Menace proportions, you have to wonder if people are setting themselves up for a big letdown, akin to the aforementioned movie.
To prepare yourself for SP3, why not take a look at what the Service Pack will offer, which is handily available from, this link.
From skimming the document, these salient points stand out:
- "Windows XP SP3 is for x86 editions of Windows XP only"
- "Windows XP SP3 combines all previously released performance, security, and stability updates"
- "it does not significantly change the Windows XP experience or bring most Windows Vista functionality to Windows XP"
Also note that there are significant changes to Windows Product Activation (which may or may not cause problems for users already activated and running XP – we will see). Undoubtedly the inclusion of the Microsoft Kernel Mode Cryptographic Module is tied to the update to Windows Activation.
Probably one of the few user-focused wins are in the inclusion of "Black Hole" Router Detection and Network Access Protection (NAP) features. These are unlikely to be very visible to the end user though, and personally I fear *any* changes to routing or networking, given Vista’s track record (I think that’s a fair call).
Take it for what you will,