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Microsoft Confirms Windows XP SP3

An e-mail scant of details from a Microsoft spokesperson reveals that Windows XP SP3 will see release in the first half of 2008.

The second service pack (SP 2) for Windows XP was a watershed release. Dropped in August 2004, it addressed a number of issues on the security side: turning Windows Firewall on, rather than off, by default, and including a pop-up blocker in Internet Explorer were two of the major changes. Those upgrades made a big difference in the public perception of XP, and sales, which had been steady, took off.

As analyst Matt Rosoff of independent research company Directions on Microsoft said for a recent story, "People came on board with XP SP2. It's efficient; all the drivers are there; it works as it's supposed to work. It's been out five years now."

Indeed, it works so well that it's cutting into Windows Vista business. Given XP's continued strength, it makes sense that Microsoft continues to support it, and it appears it will do so with SP3, which is scheduled to make an appearance in the first half of next year.

Unfortunately, Microsoft is releasing few details about the service pack. According to an e-mail from a Microsoft spokesperson, "We're currently planning to deliver SP3 for Windows XP in the first half of CY2008. This date is preliminary, and we don't have any more details to share at this time."

Several questions to Microsoft were left unanswered, including any timeline for beta releases, either public or private; new features, fixes or upgrades; and whether SP3 is a response to XP's continued market strength.

However, in a May 21 press release about security protocols, Microsoft anticipated SP3 availability in 2007: "Microsoft is announcing that Windows Vista supports this protocol today and Windows Server 2008 and Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3) will support it as well later this year."

Redmond magazine columnist Mary Jo Foley reported recently that Microsoft called that statement a "typo," giving new meaning to the word.

XP SP1 was released in September 2002, less than a year from the product's launch, and slightly less than two years between SP1 and SP2. If SP3 meets the current launch window, it will be approximately four years between the latest service packs.

There has been talk off and on over the past several years about Microsoft killing SP3. But given the latest pronouncements, and XP's surprising staying power, it seems clear that SP3 will become a reality. The only question now is when.

About the Author

Keith Ward is the editor in chief of Visual Studio Magazine.

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Reader Comments:

Fri, Jan 23, 2009 Amit patel rewa [m.p.]

prise list of windwos vista bisenes adition 1user/2user/10user/20user
pless give arjent

Sun, Dec 9, 2007 Anonymous Anonymous

It's out now downloaded today and no problems

Sat, Aug 18, 2007 Mark England

Lets hope is has the power saving group policy’s that are available with vista

Wed, Aug 8, 2007 Kornniwat Thailand

good information

Sun, Aug 5, 2007 Anonymous Anonymous

why do they keep releasing stuff that isnt proven... frankly Im tired of the changing over and over to just add to the confusion Microsoft keeps making for us.

Sun, Aug 5, 2007 Ann F. North Carolina

MS sees people suspicious of VISTA (like me) and plans to sneak "control" features onto our PCs with SP3. No thank you. I don't use my PC for music, or copies, or use MP3 or IPOD etc., but I still highly resent DRM because it is invasive, controlling, and paranoid, penalizing paying customers because of greed and paranoia that some poor soul that can't afford a CD might listen to their music. I have a purchased copy of XP SP2 Home retail, and I highly resent having to be concerned about complications re-installing my OS if I so choose. I use a straight SP2 install - only one patch for the ntfs problem that MS FAILED TO FIX between SP1 and SP2. (It is put out as a hotfix that you have to CALL MS for and get a password to download!!?? why??) I have excellent protection for my machines and for the files I want kept private and have had no problems without all the patches. Of course, part of my protection is that I have MANY ports and XP "services" that I don't need, disabled via system management. I don't patch because I never know what MS will SNEAK onto my PC. Or disable without telling me, such as somewhere along the line, IE stopped putting certain embedded images into the clipboard. Suddenly, an action I used to regularly perform no longer worked. My machine is stable and safe and I intend to keep it that way by NOT installing any crapware from Microsoft. I no longer trust Microsoft.

To the guy who said he would reinstall if SP3 squeaked. Be careful - VISTA-ready machines come with an intel "fritz chip" that MAY prevent you from installing a different OS once it is activated. I don't know exactly how it works, just that intel, hp, etc. are part of the "control consortium" with Microsoft that is conspiring to control YOUR PC, instead of you controlling it.

Sat, Aug 4, 2007 Artem S. Tashkinov Russia

SP3 will be a relief for all us, system administrators.

Currently we have no choice but to integrate RyanVM update pack which is a nice solution but Microsoft's SP3 will be official and more thoroughly tested thus it'll be more safe to use Redmond's update.

Also I hope that WMP11 and IE7 to be included into SP3.

Tue, Jul 31, 2007 Anonymous Ohio

The June Updates fully fouled up my computer to the point I will have to do a reformat. If they give us another SP, they had better fix all this mess. Personally, I refuse to update past May until I see that it is not going to foul up or trash it again. As for Vista, no way until it is fixed. I have heard and read too much to waste the money now.

Tue, Jul 31, 2007 power user Long Island NY

My suggestion to all is to wait , MS is getting nervous , many users are sticking with XP and I agree with "inventor" this patch is most likely a "hidden or Easter Egg" trick to bringing the community up to Vista, so my advice is wait at least a few weeks ,once the release is final.

Tue, Jul 31, 2007 Inventor Wisconsin

I still say the best OS, MS ever made for business
was Windows 2000 Pro SP4.
They say 'never say never', but I don't see an install
of Vista on any of my machines for many years, and
as for this new SP3.... I'll wait and see just what
surprises Gates put in there.
My guess is it's going to be a hidden upgrade to a
"Vista-Lite" version, so he can wean you over into the
Full version later on.
I'll wait and see what horror stories come out before
I install SP3.

Tue, Jul 31, 2007 Anonymous Anonymous

I cant wait. There is nothing worse than doing a new install of XPSP2 in a business, then having to download over 100 patches and reboot 12 times to install them all. SP3 will include all the crap that is out now and hopefully add new features.. maybe the powertoys that are currently out.

Tue, Jul 31, 2007 QuantumRift Sierra Vista, AZ

Man, I should have stuck with OS2! As far as I'm concerned, XP is Windows 'done right' (or nearly so). I have seen, read and heard nothing but bad things about Vista, and will wait until the next iteration of Windows ("Vienna"). I will do a backup of my system just prior to SP3 and if it so much as sneezes, it's bare-metal restoration back to SP2. If the Vista SP2 doesn't do much, then I very well may must jump to a MAC or Linux for good. As I read somewhere in the past week: "Vista is just Windows95 12 years".. LoL.

Tue, Jul 31, 2007 Bob Liss, GB

If SP3 includes the Vista security protocols and some of the other extras now available on XP like Windows Desktop Search then it will be adopted. MS could screw it up by including DRM and more validation; if they do, then perhaps there will be more migration to Vista and Linux

Mon, Jul 30, 2007 Lucy Page Oklahoma

I like XP SP2, but probably will not install SP3. I do not trust Miscrosoft anymore. When I pay for Software I want to own it and not put up with all the bull Vista wants you to agree to. I will quit using the darn computer first. The same goes for all software.

Mon, Jul 30, 2007 stan3 Roebuck,SC

I'm paranoid too. I don't want to be forced to "upgrade/downgrade to Vista.

Mon, Jul 30, 2007 Kim Campbell Dallas, TX

Call me paranoid but I wouldn't put it past Microsoft to include features in the XP SP3 update that might break your installation; things like additional DRM technology and/or runtime routines that might disable your SP2 installation if it fails to conform to some arbitrary validation standard. That kind of thing might motivate many consumers look toward making the leap and upgrade to VISTA. That would be a stealth marketing ploy that would be par for the course with Microsoft.

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