Microsoft confirms Windows XP SP3 pre-beta is in testers' hands

Microsoft confirms Windows XP SP3 pre-beta is in testers' hands

Summary: Microsoft is now confirming the rumored XP SP3 pre-beta build that went to select testers this week -- and may aggregate as many as 991 security and hot fix updates -- is real. Officials still won't provide more detailed info on when the final SP3 will hit. Microsoft's decision as to when to release XP SP3 is probably being driven as much by "politics" as by code readiness, at this point.

TOPICS: Windows, Microsoft

The Windows client team -- with a little help from its beta testing friends -- is opening the door a bit on what's going on with Windows XP Service Pack (SP) 3.

Earlier this week, AeroXP reported they had gotten their hands on a test build of the forthcoming service pack for Windows XP. The WinBeta site posted screen shots of the latest XP SP3 test build. On August 8, Steven Bink, who runs the enthusiast site, installed and captured a screen shot of the XP SP3 beta build. The build number for the XP SP3 test release is 3180 (windowsxp-kb936929-sp3-x86-enu.exe).

A source (thanks, C), forwarded me an alleged list of all of the security and hot fixes that are set to be part of XP SP3. There are 991 of them on the list I saw, making it rather cumbersome to run in full. If you're waiting for a specific XP fix, send me a note and I will check the list to see if it's on the XP SP3 list I have.

Microsoft confirmed that the new pre-beta XP SP3 build is real. (That's more than the company is willing to do regarding the pre-beta builds of Vista SP1....) But company officials continued to decline to provide any more detailed information on when Microsoft will release a public beta of XP SP3 and/or when it is planning to release the final update.

"A pre-beta build of Windows XP SP3 was released to a select group of testers," said a Microsoft spokeswoman, via e-mail. "We're currently planning to deliver SP3 for Windows XP in the first half of CY2008. This date is preliminary, and we don't have any more details to share at this time."

The last service pack release Microsoft provided for Windows XP SP2, which was released in the summer of 2004. Since then, Microsoft has pushed back its planned release date for XP SP3 several times.

Last I heard, there was a possibility Microsoft might deliver the final SP3 code this fall and not wait until next year. Company officials won't comment on that report.

Microsoft's decision as to when to release XP SP3 is probably being driven as much by "politics" as by code readiness. If Microsoft releases XP SP3 soon, some businesses and end users might opt to stay with XP longer, rather than moving to Vista.

Microsoft recently told its sales force that it isn't planning to release the next full-fledged version of Windows, a k a Windows 7, until 2010. By uncharacteristically going public with any information -- even something as seemingly innocuous as a release target date -- at this early stage, the Windows team may have been hoping to push fence-sitters to think about moving to Vista, rather than skipping Vista and waiting for Windows 7.

Windows users: If Microsoft releases XP SP3 this fall or early next year, will you be inclined to stick with XP and hold off longer on moving to Vista? Or will the release date for XP SP3 have no effect on your upgrade plans?

Topics: Windows, Microsoft


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • XP forever!

    Or at least as long as I can conceivably hold out. As far as I'm concerned, it's [b]"Hasta la vista, Vista!"[/b]
    • XP forever!

      Yeah ... I'm pretty much of the same opinion. I played with Vista for awhile and I just don't see the point in upgrading. This is very much the "If it ain't broke don't fix it" situation in my case.

      -CB ;)
      • What? I'm sticking with Win 3.11

        Yeah, I've been stickin' with Windows 3.11 and Dos 6.22 and I still get more done than these gibbering fools...
  • No Effect On My OS Usage Decision At All

    Since I have no plans to use the Vista OS, it has no effect at all.

    I'm currently considering a new desktop PC, but would have to be able to remove Vista and use XP on it.

    I don't see Vista being a part of my computing life anytime in the foreseeable future.
    • why would you do that?

      "I'm currently considering a new desktop PC, but would have to be able to remove Vista and use XP on it. "
      I'm telling you as a PRO, forget about windoze and get Linux. It's so much better,...and free!
      Linux Geek
      • Message has been deleted.

        • Speaking of TROLLS kiddo , you aint no different . <NT>


        In the ongoing epic struggle against the LINUX JUGERNAUT poised to soon consume the computing world stands one man who will rise against the implacable collosus, LWEM and his trusty pen. "Once there was a linsux geek who went to linsux school, and when he did graduate he was a linsux fool, the linsux school had promised him a mind well trained and wise, but all they had delivered was their OS and their lies" Luv ya Linsux baby!
        • Loser ! <NT>

    • Vista should work fine if it's pre-installed.

      Seriously, there's no good reason to downgrade a computer that came with Vista. Obviously the driver issues won't exist if it's already put on hardware it's compatible with.

      "I don't see Vista being a part of my computing life anytime in the foreseeable future."

      May I suggest trying Service Pack 1 when it comes out? Yeah, it has a few issues now - but that's no reason to hold a grudge indefinitely! I say give it another chance when SP1 comes out.
      • Pre-Installed Vista

        I don't have Vista, but my parents have a new machine that came with Vista. They've now pulled the original HD from the box, put it on a shelf, and put in a new drive on which XP SP2 has been installed.

        Pre-installed Vista was "Home Premium", or some such. The on-board video in the box did not support Aero. Their camcorder uses Firewire, and the software under Vista refuses to let them capture full-resolution video from it. The software that came with the camera doesn't work under Vista. Their high-quality audio output (uses SPDIF) shuts off when they play DVDs. The machine, out of the box, was continually nagging them about this and that, and they could not get it to stop. On top of it all, Vista (as installed at the factory) consumed too many resources, making the apps my parents were running slower on the new box (a 2.4GHz Core-2 Duo) than the old box (a 1.8GHz AMD 64).

        Installing XP on the same hardware allows them to use the software they had been using, and utilize the external hardware they own. It's much faster for them. Runs circles around the old system. The on-board video is adequate for their needs. They can play (and hear) DVDs.

        When SP1 comes out, they'll swap back in the original HD and see if it fixes enough to make it worth using. Otherwise, it goes back on the shelf.
        • Specialized uses is understandable

          Okay, they do a lot of specialized stuff, so that's understandable. As a general purpose OS, though, it works fine.
          • Specialized?

            Downloading from a camcorder and playing dvd's are "specialized stuff" Dang, just what are general purposes then?
          • It's not a bug, it's a feature. Really.

            The S/PDIF thing isn't a bug. That behavior is by design. It's part of Vista's baked in digital restrictions management "feature". With Vista you get to pay for the privilege of not being able to use content you paid for, simply because Microsoft, the RIAA, or the MPAA decide that they know what's best for you.
          • Works fine? Perhaps but fine's not good enough.

            I presumed the point of an upgrade was to improve. I fail to see what Vista offers that XP doesn't to the average user. Enhanced security, perhaps, but do you know anyone who will keep UAC turned on. It lasted about 2 hours with me. My printer is not compatible with Vista I can no longer log on to the VPN to access work e-mails from home. I'm currently the IT departments Vista guinea pig and we discover more problems every day. If it was my choice I'd stick with XP long past SP1 which I'm sure is just being rushed out to sway businesses that Vista now works ok.
          • "General Purpose"??

            Why bother with something that can do just
            "general purpose" things at a cost of reduction in speed? If your doing general purpose things, you then need an upgrade in speed and reliability, new computer with vista is 2 steps backwards, with XP you take 2 steps forward. I just bought a new laptop, my choice in computer was based on pre-install of XP and NOT VISTA. BTW..if the computer only came with VISTA, I went to the next computer!!
      • Yes, but

        Vista make sense only as a pre-install. Even then I would wait for SP1 before buying a machine that had it. Vista makes sense with mid to high-end machines tied to fairly new and standard peripherals. As with any "new" OS some legacy equipment bacomes abandon-ware.
        The case for Vista is not compelling for owners of older equipment, or of lower end equipment. As some manufacturers are now offering the option of getting XP installed with a new computer there is no need to "downgrade" to XP.
        Remember Vista does take up more real estate than XP and requires more memory for it's swoopier features. Some people could care less about the eye candy.
        For these people XP makes sense especially with SP3 coming out soon. Then it will be a match up of the service packs. With goggle gadgets you can build a Vista / OS X like desktop without paying for it. Vista is an Improvement over XP, but it is not a compelling improvement. For the money i would spend on the Mid-level Vista I can buy 2 1 Gig SODIMs for my laptops, in my case that is a much better use of my funds. Count me in as one who is going to give Vista a miss.
    • Many allow choice

      Dell and others allow you to choose XP or Vista. I paid $100 more for XP but it was worth it.
  • XP vs Vista

    We're currently fighting a Microsoft vs Microsoft war on our 1000 PC network. Currently sticking to XP SP2, thinking about the move to Vista, as so many others out there!
    My opinion is that enterprise environment users aren't waiting for SP3, as they are happy with SP2's reliability. SP3 won't count as a plus for sticking with XP, SP2 does the job quite well.
    • But if you don't get SP3

      you'll be missing out on a whopping 991 security and hot
      fixes ...mmmm... don't tell me that doesn't sound like a tasty nugget to
      Kid Icarus-21097050858087920245213802267493