Windows XP Service Pack 3 -FAQ- (April 29th)

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Windows XP Service Pack 3 FAQ

It\'s time to say goodbye to an old friend. Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3), due in the second quarter of 2008, will be the final XP service pack, according to Microsoft. It can\'t come a moment too soon: XP SP2 (see my review) shipped over three years ago at this writing, and the company has since shipped hundreds of hot-fixes for the OS, giving users a painful updating experience, with multiple reboots. XP SP3 will consolidate all of these fixes into a single package and, surprisingly, add a few new features, including some that--go figure--debuted first in XP\'s successor, Windows Vista.

Q: What is Service Pack 3?

A: Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3) is the final Windows XP service pack, a collection of previously-released fixes and product enhancements, as well as a few new features that are unique to this release.

Q: Does SP3 include everything from SP1 and SP2 or do I need to install those first?

A: Though XP SP3 aggregates all of the previously-released XP fixes, Microsoft now says that you will need to install at least SP1 on XP before installing SP3. The company recommends installing SP2 first as well, though that is not required.

Q: What versions of Windows XP will work with SP3?

A: You can apply Service Pack 3 to Windows XP Home Edition, Professional Edition, Tablet PC Edition (any version), or Media Center Edition (any version).

Q: What about Windows XP Professional x64 Edition?

A: SP3 does not apply to the x64 version of Windows XP. Instead, that operating system is updated via service packs aimed at Windows Server 2003. The latest Windows 2003 service pack is SP2.

Q: Windows XP SP2 was released over three years ago. Why the delay on SP3?

A: While Microsoft is an enormous company with over 77,000 employees worldwide and over $50 billion in annual revenues, its organizational structure actually constrains which products are actively developed in some cases. For example, while a large team of developers, product managers, and program managers are involved during the ramp-up to any major OS release, Microsoft then pushes the product into its support organization for follow-up development in the form of hot-fixes, service packs, and so on. Other teams work on out-of-band updates that are typically shipped via the Web and, eventually, a new or existing team is constituted to work on the next major release and the entire process begins anew.

With Windows XP, however, Microsoft was forced to temporarily halt development on XP\'s successor, Windows Vista, in order to complete XP SP2. That\'s because this release, though provided to customers for free as a typical service pack, was in fact a major OS upgrade and was developed outside of the company\'s support structure, a first for any service pack release. After XP SP2 was completed, the people involved with that project moved onto other things, typically Vista or Windows Server 2008.

In the case of Windows XP SP3, Microsoft simply dedicated every available employee it could to completing Windows Vista, which by that time was years behind schedule. So it\'s only been since the beginning of this year that anyone turned their attention back to XP\'s next and neglected service pack.

Q: What are these new features I keep hearing about?

A: Windows XP Service Pack 3 will not include any major new features, but it will include four minor new features that improve the system\'s reliability and security. Contrary to reports, Microsoft has been very up-front about these functional additions for quite some time now.

These new features include:

Network Access Protection compatibility. Announced years ago, this feature allows Windows XP machines to interact with the NAP feature in Windows Server 2008. This functionality is built into the RTM version of Windows Vista as well.

Product Key-less install option. As with Windows Vista, new XP with SP3 installs can proceed without entering a product key during Setup.

Kernel Mode Cryptographics Module. A new kernel module that \"encapsulates several different cryptographic algorithms,\" according to Microsoft.

\"Black hole\" router detection algorithm. XP gains the ability to ignore network routers that incorrectly drop certain kinds of network packets. This, too, is a feature of Windows Vista.

And that\'s about it. Nothing dramatic, as promised.

Q: That\'s it? Is there anything else?

Nothing major. Some features have actually been removed, like the taskbar-based Address Bar option.

Q: Why is Microsoft even bothering to release this update? Isn\'t everyone moving to Windows Vista?

A: Given the relative security, stability, and reliability of XP with SP2, and the subsequent release of Vista, XP SP3 may seem like a pointless update, but nothing could be further from the truth. Many businesses will roll out new XP-based PCs in the coming years, and as anyone who\'s had to update an XP SP2 system can tell you, the 100+ updates that Microsoft has shipped since SP2 can be a nightmare to deploy. If you\'re already running XP and have been regularly updating your systems all along, the release of XP SP3 will be a minor event. But if you have planned XP deployments in the future, look very carefully at this release and consider it the baseline for your next generation of PCs. Or, you could always consider Vista, which will of course be updated with genuine new features far longer than will XP.

Q: When will Microsoft ship XP SP3?

A: Microsoft finalized Windows XP Service Pack 3 on April 21, 2008 and will release it publicly to the Web on April 29, 2008.

Here\'s the complete Windows XP SP3 release schedule:

RTM (release to manufacturing): April 21
Windows Update (optional update): April 29
Microsoft Download Center: April 29
MSDN/TechNet download: May 2
Windows XP SP3 fulfillment media (CD-based): May 19
Volume license customers download: June 1
Windows Update/Automatic Updates: June 10

( Edited 27.04.2008 09:54 by Linkyshinks )

Awesome. Just what i needed for the question:
Do I need to update? If so what do i get?

You should you know... um bold the questions.

( Edited 27.04.2008 10:12 by zcollvee )

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Damn... XP is dieing out!


XP is awesome! I will not change to Windows Vista.

Onwards, TO NOWHERE! Proud owner of Farming Simulator 2013.

Meh. changed to it ages ago with an RC release.

Still not better than Linux *coughcoughcoughcough* *runs away*

They don't even sell XP computers in most places anymore! Smilie when I went to get a laptop, they didn't have any that ran XP! Only Vista! *sniff*

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Why would they? It's like GAME still heavily advertising GameCubes or something...

No Longer Temporarily Banned.

Well Vista is still slated for it's bugs, so I would have thought many people would feel safer going with XP. Also it would be cheaper. Personally I would have thought there was still demand for it.

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aww, i like XP i probs wont change to vista unless i get a laptop for uni, even then i am keeping XP on my desktop, vista is not worth it yet.
its a shame its the last SP

( Edited 27.04.2008 14:35 by Echoes221 )

SuperLink said:
Well Vista is still slated for it's bugs, so I would have thought many people would feel safer going with XP. Also it would be cheaper. Personally I would have thought there was still demand for it.

Cheaper? lol. Please think before you post.

No Longer Temporarily Banned.

Yay! Out with the old, in with the new!

Got A PC with both XP and Vista partitions. Had it like that almost a year now and since the Vista SP1 service pack I haven't booted to XP at all. Even before that, Vista was my preferred OS after I got over the initial shock of all the UI changes.

Vista has had it's problems but it's nowhere near as bad as some people make out. So long as your PC is up to the task, it's a rock solid, efficient OS. There is a case for sticking with XP if your current PC is not that great but I really can't see the point of putting XP on new machines.

As for Linux. In many areas (e.g. as a server), I would completely agree, the OS may be better but the big problem with Linux is that the desktop applications seriously let the side down. OK, there are the obvious exceptions but for most, they all seem half finished, with no decent user manual.

That kinda depends really. I\'m certainly not a hugely technical user, but when switching to Ubuntu (7.10 at the time) it was near painless. The default apps that came with it can be a little plain, but looking around add/remove sorted that and none of the ones I\'m using now aren\'t especially difficult to learn apart from the initial UI shift as per usual.

It really just depends on the distribution you go with and what you plan on doing. Most of the problems arise from compatibility issues, which it\'s making quite a few strides in. The 2.6.25 kernel (the latest) for example now includes support for several needed wireless devices (always an area of complaint) included my own which was a pain to get working initially.

( Edited 27.04.2008 15:18 by RyanT )

at the moment i am using wubi to download ubunto to see if i like it better than windows, if i dont its easy to switch so theres no danger of anything happening! i am trying it because it looks cooler than windows, but you never know. funs fun right. plus i have just system restalled my pc so it basically has nothing on it so if it does go wrong, nothing major will happen to my pc!

( Edited 27.04.2008 16:23 by Echoes221 )

You still get the best FPS performance in XP for the majority of games, and that will remain so for a little while yet.

Surely that's mainly to do with the idle ram consumption though? Just guessing here, since I don't PC game it's not something that I've ever looked at.

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DaOne said:
Cheaper? lol. Please think before you post.

I don't know much about PCs, but thinking = from experience. And from experience, all the Laptops using Vista were more expensive than the few laptops using XP, usually by at least 50-100.

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Thats because they will be older or end of line, thus making them cheaper. They are not cheaper because of XP.

No Longer Temporarily Banned.

I don't give a fuck about Windows XP.

Ummm, don't read the thread then? from the title tis pretty obvious it's going to be about Windows XP...

No Longer Temporarily Banned.

ok ive tried ubuntu, got all the 3d stuff working
but i dont like it, it lacks finish somehow. just not as advance.

Echoes221 said:
ok ive tried ubuntu, got all the 3d stuff working
but i dont like it, it lacks finish somehow. just not as advance.

Look for the Linux Emporium of orsums thread, seeing as this is to do with Linux.

And explain, maybe I can help. Also, try going into system>preferences>appearance, then the visual effects tab. Stick with it for a bit.

The performance difference for gaming is not as big as people would have you believe.

Ubuntu is the best OS that I've ever used. Though it should be noted while I've used Vista quite a bit, I wouldn't say I've used it 'a lot'. Seems pretty awesome. Though it shan't be long at all before it's drenched in viruses and the like, if it isn't already.

Ubuntu is probably the worst desktop OS I've ever used...

No Longer Temporarily Banned.

DaOne said:
Ubuntu is probably the worst desktop OS I've ever used...

How comes?

What version did you try?

I have 7.10. Canny speak for the others.

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