The third service pack of Windows XP, which is expected to be available for download next month, will include some of the features now available in Windows Vista, but users will be unable to run Internet Explorer 7.0 unless they upgrade to Windows Vista.
Microsoft said the service pack will include Network Access Protection (NAP), which works with Windows Server 2008 to improve network security.
The service pack will also include functionality previously released as updates, such as the Microsoft Management Console (MMC) 3.0, which is designed to simplify PC administration, and the Microsoft Core XML Services 6.0 (MSXML6), along with an update of Windows Product Activation.
Microsoft is also expected to include an update to its IPsec Simple Policy which aims to simplify the creation and maintenance of IPsec filters, reducing the number of filters that are required for a server and domain isolation deployment. The Simple Policy Update removes the requirement for explicit network infrastructure permit filters and introduces enhanced fallback to clear behaviour, Microsoft said.
Although the update offers new functionality Microsoft said Windows XP SP3 would not include Windows Internet Explorer 7, the latest version.