XP SP3 not generally available yet, after all

Summary:Microsoft has decided not to release Windows XP Service Pack (SP) 3 to Windows Update and the Microsoft Download Center as planned on April 29. The reason? A last-minute compatibility issue with a Microsoft application -- Microsoft Dynamics Retail Management System (RMS).

Microsoft has decided not to release Windows XP Service Pack (SP) 3 to Windows Update and the Microsoft Download Center as planned on April 29. The reason? A last-minute compatibility issue with a Microsoft application -- Microsoft Dynamics Retail Management System (RMS).

Here's the latest from a company spokesperson:

"I wanted to update you on today’s planned release to web (RTW) (of XP SP3). In the last few days, we have uncovered a compatibility issue between Microsoft Dynamics Retail Management System (RMS) and Windows XP SP3 and Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1).

"In order to make sure customers have the best possible experience we have decided to delay releasing Windows XP SP3 to Windows Update and Microsoft Download Center.

"To help protect our customers, we plan to put filtering in place shortly to prevent Windows Update from offering both service packs to systems running Microsoft Dynamics RMS. Once filtering is in place, we expect to release Windows XP SP3 to Windows Update and Download Center.

"Until we have published a fix for this issue, we advise Microsoft Dynamics RMS customers to not install either service pack. Microsoft Dynamics RMS customers running Windows XP SP3 or Windows Vista SP1 should contact Microsoft Customer Support Services for additional information.

"The fix is currently in testing and will be available as soon as that process is complete."

That's all we know so far. No new date as to when Microsoft will release XP SP3 to the Web. Microsoft released to manufacturing XP SP3 last week -- and after outcry for its paying TechNet and Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) subscribers -- released the update to them shortly thereafter.

Update No. 1: One reader noted that he downloaded SP3 today via a direct link to the executable (which my ZDNet blogging colleague Adrian Kingsley-Hughes pointed to earlier today). A Microsoft spokeswoman said the company is advising users against doing this. The official response:

"Customers should not download Microsoft software from links posted on non-Microsoft websites, when those links point directly to the executable as is the case here. Customers should always download from a page on Microsoft.com that provides all relevant download details, installation instructions, and release notes. In this particular case, it's possible that some 3rd party websites are linking to the Windows XP SP3 software that we have published for MSDN and TechNet subscribers. Since we cannot confirm the source of every link that 3rd parties provide, out recommendation is that customers wait until we've published Windows XP SP3 to Windows Update and the Download Center."

I have to admit: I'm somewhat surprised Microsoft decided to delay the release of SP3 for RMS. RMS is a retail-chain-management app for small/midsize users. I know very few customers who are using it.

Update No. 2: As a result of this RMS glitch, Microsoft also is temporarily halting the Automatic Download of Vista SP1, as it is affected, as well. But Microsoft is not pulling Vista SP1 from the Download Center or Windows Update.

From a Microsoft spokeswoman:

"Microsoft is temporarily holding any additional automatic distribution of Windows Vista SP1. However, they continue to offer Windows Vista SP1 via Windows Update for interactive installation. While we are recommending that customers running Microsoft Dynamics RMS should not install SP1, there are many other customers who can benefit from installing Windows Vista SP1 immediately, so we are maintaining availability via WU."

This isn't the first time Microsoft has temporarily halted distribution of Vista SP1 via Automatic Updates; it did so earlier this year when a pre-requisite for the service pack resulted in problems for some Vista users.

Topics: Software, Microsoft, Operating Systems, Windows

About

Mary Jo Foley has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications, including ZDNet, eWeek and Baseline. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008). She also is the cohost of the "Windows Weekly" podcast on the TWiT network. Got a tip? Se... Full Bio

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