Users waiting to download Windows XP Service Pack 3 will have to wait until the first half of 2008, when Microsoft will release the Windows XP Service Pack 3 download to the public.
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The Windows XP Service Pack 3 download is expected to be in high demand, as the update to the popular Windows XP operating system adds almost 1,000 alterations and enhancements.
A near-public beta of Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3) was released to all TechNet and Microsoft Developer Network subscribers in mid-September.
Windows XP SP3 marks a significant update to the operating system because the last time Microsoft provided a cumulative update to Windows XP was in 2004, when it released XP Service Pack 2 (SP2). Since then, Microsoft has repeatedly pushed back XP SP3's planned release date from 2006 to 2007, then to 2008.
Windows XP SP2 was an extensive update, which took up a large chunk of Microsoft's resources to publicise, manage and address user problems following its release. Windows XP SP3 also looks to set to be another big update, as reports reveal that the Service Pack contains almost 1000 items.
Many organisations face the decision of whether or not to move to Windows Vista, which is due for its first service pack in the first quarter of 2008. If they stay with Windows XP, installing the third Service Pack could mean delaying a Windows Vista migration.
Microsoft has not made any official statement on what Windows XP SP3 will contain, but it is widely expected to include security and reliability improvements. It is also likely to have additional support for carrying out true "per-user" application installation and improvements in managing the list of "hidden" wireless networks.
There may also be changes to Internet Explorer, Windows Media Player and Windows Live Messenger. The Windows Live Messenger changes have already been delivered in the Windows Live Messenger 8.5 beta.
Microsoft recommends that users evaluate the new Service Pack as soon as it becomes available, and maintain all PCs on current service packs. It adds that it is important to internally test the Service Pack with all mission critical line of business applications.
Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 3 news stories/features
17 September 2007: SP1 to drive uptake of Vista in 2008 >>
27 March 2007: Windows Vista sales outstrip XP launch >>
1 February 2007: Kier upgrades desktops and improves patch management >>
20 October 2006: Windows XP upgrade delayed >>
9 October 2006: Microsoft ends support for XP Service Pack 1 >>
28 September 2006: Top 5 free Windows security downloads >>
12 September 2006: Microsoft fixes Office, Windows flaws >>
18 January 2006: Microsoft delays XP service pack 3 until 2007 >>
10 January 2006: Network Rail's upgrade to XP arrives on time and under budget >>
13 December 2005: Microsoft starts beta of Windows Live Messenger with VoIP >>
26 August 2004: Windows XP SP2 distribution gets underway >>
10 August 2004: Windows XP Service Pack 2 >>
15 June 2004: Windows XP SP2 update >>
11 May 2004: HBOS in multimillion-pound Windows XP roll out >>
21 May 2004: Windows XP SP2 boosts security but compatibility problems loom >>
14 May 2004: Windows XP SP2 poses firewall management test >>
12 March 2004: Office XP update interferes with spam filters >>
5 March 2004: Windows XP SP2 could break existing apps >>
12 January 2004: Microsoft adds web logs to MSDN >>
4 February 2003: Windows XP - the see-through guide >>
1 August 2002: Service Pack 3 released for Windows 2000 >>
12 December 2001: Windows XP to support Bluetooth >>
8 November 2001: Linux suppliers target disgruntled MS users >>
Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 3 on the rest of web
Microsoft: Windows Service Pack Road Map >>
Dodatek Service Pack 3 (SP3) dla pakietu Office XP >>
Windows XP Service Pack 3 leaked details! - Windows XP Service Pack 3 lives >>
Windows XP Service Pack 3: not until 2007 >>
Windows XP Service Pack 3 Preview >>
Description of Microsoft Office XP Service Pack 3 >>
How to obtain the latest Windows XP service pack >>
Windows XP Service Pack 3 Pushed Back to 2008 >>
It Lives! Windows XP Service Pack 3 - reconfirmed by Microsoft >>
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Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 3 blogs
Windows XP Service Pack 3 bushed back to 2008 >>
XP SP3: TechNet and MSDN subscribers to get beta in two weeks >>
Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 3 videos
Rebecca Norlander - Windows XP Service Pack 2 talk - part 1 >>
Rebecca Norlander - Windows XP Service Pack 2 talk - part 2 >>
Rebecca Norlander - Windows XP Service Pack 2 talk - part 3 >>
Windows XP SP3 Beta >>