A day after I threw in my XP SP3 date-projection towel, Microsoft has released yet another new, public test build of its forthcoming collection of fixes and patches for Windows XP.
A company spokeswoman e-mailed the following update on March 25:
"Windows XP SP3 RC2 Refresh was made publicly available today via Microsoft Download Center. We’ve made this release candidate available in order to receive further user feedback prior to the release of Windows XP SP3."
(Note: I don't see the new RC2 refresh on Download Center yet. I guess it is on its way....)
It turns out this new refresh is not entirely "new." Via the TechNet forums:
"The purpose of RC2 Refresh is to validate improvements to the Windows Update experience with Service Pack 3. Therefore, this beta release will be available only on Windows Update, in English, German and Japanese. Beyond fixes for common Windows Update issues and the inclusion of support for HD Audio, there are no substantial differences between this beta release (build 5508) and XP SP3 RC2 (build 3311)."
Microsoft released the first of is RC2 builds in early February. Instead of calling the newest test build RC 3 (or 4 or whatever number we are really up to now), Microsoft is calling the build released Tuesday RC 2 Refresh.
And when is that elusive final XP SP3 release? No update there. Microsoft is still saying first half of 2008. Some sites are projecting that by mid- to late-April, Microsoft will deliver the final build.