The super delayed Microsoft® Windows® XP Service Pack 3 (SP3) is finally out – Officially! SP3 has been out *ehemm* illegally for sometime now, it was only today that the official file can be downloaded via Microsoft Windows Update. (If it doesn’t show up to you, like in some computers I tried to update, download it directly). You better start downloading now because it is 316mb in size.
However, be warned, if you are going to download from the official website, Microsoft will check your Windows XP License if it is genuine or not. So if you have an illegal copy of Windows XP, you better buy a license now.
More after the jump!
Windows® XP Service Pack 3 (SP3) includes all previously released updates for the operating system. This update also includes a small number of new functionalities, which do not significantly change customers’ experience with the operating system.
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 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.
Go get it now from the official download site!