Microsoft releases beta of XP SP3 to Vista, Windows Server testers

Microsoft releases beta of XP SP3 to Vista, Windows Server testers

Summary: On October 4, Microsoft broadened the private XP SP3 beta to include Vista SP1 and Windows Server 2008 testers. It did not release the beta build broadly on MSDN and TechNet, however, as officials said they planned to do back at the end of August.


Microsoft officials said at the end of August that they planned to release Windows XP Service Pack (SP) 3 to Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) and TechNet testers within a couple weeks.Microsoft releases beta of XP SP3 to Vista, Windows Server testers

It is now more than a month later. And it doesn't seem Microsoft has made good on that promise. The company did, however, broaden the private XP SP3 beta on the evening of October 4 to include Vista SP1 and Windows Server 2008 testers.

The note, sent out to the expanded group of testers, said:

"As is standard practice for operating systems nearing the end of their sales period, Microsoft will be releasing a final Service Pack for Windows XP in the first half of 2008. Microsoft is pleased to announce the availability of Windows XP Service Pack 3 Beta Preview, to Windows Vista Service Pack 1 and Windows Server 2008 beta testers.

"Please obtain the update package for Windows XP SP3 Beta Preview in English, German or Japanese, as well as Release Notes. You can use your current bug logging tools to file bugs; we request that you preface bugs with [XPSP3] in the title.

"We are interested in all feedback on Windows XP SP3. We are especially interested in scenarios involving communication between Windows XP Service Pack 3 machines and Windows Vista Service Pack 1 or Windows Server 2008 machines.

"You may download the files here."

It sounds, from a report on Bink.Nu, as though the XP SP3 beta bits the expanded group of testers are receiving is the same as the ones that the private testers got months ago.

I asked Microsoft when it planned to make the test build of XP SP3 available to MSDN and TechNet subscribers. No word back. If and when I get an update, I'll refresh this post.

Update on October 5:  It took a while, but here's all the Windows Client team will say (via a company spokesperson):

"Regarding XP SP3, it was made available to about 12,000 private beta testers yesterday (October 4). We decided to release a private beta first to select testers, which happened last week. We are still planning on a public beta, which should be available in the future, but we have no more information to share today."

I asked again when the promised TechNet/MSDN beta delivery would happen. Nope, nada:

"At this time we have no more information to share on a public beta," the spokesperson said.

XP SP3 is still on track to go final in the first half of 2008, according to the October 4 note that Microsoft sent to testers.

Topics: Software, Microsoft, Operating Systems, Servers, Windows


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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  • the release notes weren't exactly "rosy"

    The release notes mentioned several issues (that I don't think I can publicly mention, or can I?) so I think I'll be installing this in a VM first. It was great to get the email though.
  • I'm Holding Off For Awhile

    I'm waiting to see if this is going to hose up XP severely enough to force people to jump to Vista just so they can improve their failing sales numbers.
    • Better watch out or the black helicopters will get 'cha!

      (rolling eyes). You post the most unbelievable drivel...
      • So, So True!!!! Nt.

    • That was my first thought

      Microsoft does one of two things to try and drive sales: One is to dork the old versions with an "update" that causes problems, then drag their feet on fixing those problems. The second is like the first, a security vulnerability arises and their interim solution is to encourage users to upgrade to...whatever...and drag their feet supplying the update to older versions of the OS.

      My solution is to unplug Windows from the internet and just wait.
      • Geez, grow up.

        Companies do not maintain success by screwing old customers on purpose. Sometimes updates DO cause problems, but you know, software is, um, complex. That's why even the best software has bugs. It would be really nice if the anti-Microsoft/anti-business crowd would grow up and just talk about the issues.
        • Reality

          Microsoft has made a habit of screwing "old customers"take a look at the whole WGA thing treating all their old customers as guinea pigs!
          • 10 years of security updates is not screwing old customers

            Microsoft provides FREE security updates for 10 years for its business operating systems (and you can even pay for custom support for older OSes). And since as of XP the consumer and business OSes are the same, they will be providing 10 years for consumer OSes as well.

            I'd hardly call this screwing their old customers. I don't see Apple releasing security updates for Mac OS X 10.0 anymore.
          • Microsoft Takes Customer Serivce To A Whole New Level

            with a quarter century of defective products.

            The last 10 years have been especially eye-opening for me since meeting my "Mac person" wife. The Mac systems are simply reliable. They work - day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year. They just simply [u]work[/u].

            With Microsoft, every week is a new patch. Every day is a a little note or two from Microsoft: "<Something> has encountered a problem and needs to close. We apologize for the inconvenience ..." Every couple years is a complete system reinstallation just to keep the darn things working.

            Now Microsoft has brought its customers the joys of WGA, SPP, and kill switches called "reduced functionality mode":













            Holding Microsoft up as a paragon of customer service? The question is why anyone would remain a Microsoft customer at all.

            Linux or Mac, anything but Microsoft.
        • "Anti-Microsoft" is not "Anti-business"

          Documented evidence of objectionable Microsoft conduct over the past two years is contained throughout the industry media.

          Several references are identified in this very thread.
      • I agree

        Apple does the same thing too. I notice that the second to the last release is
        usually buggy. Then the problem is miraculously gone with a security update or a
        specific app update a month or two after the new OS is released. It helps push
        people over the edge to buy if they are considering it and fixes things to keep the
        old stagnant customers happy. I totally think that's what happens. I'm usually
        excited for the new OS and buy it as soon as I have the cash. I usually do notice
        sluggishness or a few minor bugs for a month or so and then the problems are
        fixed. I deal with my current OS and then am always stoked enough over the new
        features to still want the new OS when I have enough cash for it.
      • Could be worse

        could be running Linux. You'd be lucky if you could keep the thing running long enough to install one of it's many updates or bug fixes. :)
        John Zern
      • Then I hope to gawd you had two thoughts.

        No one, and I mean NO ONE has the amount of legacy support as does Microsoft. Their OS support of legacy covers more hardware and more software than ALL others combined.

        To call a spade a spade, you are completely clueless if you believe what you wrote.
    • BET it has a WGA in the TRAY icon

      I seen it on 2 computers now which means MS has it in their SP 3
      CD . . means I will have to go wandering thru the registry and delete it . .
      • Do you even have the VAGUEST clue as to why it's in the TRAY?

        [b]I seen it on 2 computers now which means MS has it in their SP 3 CD . . means I will have to go wandering thru the registry and delete it. [/b]

        It usually means that box, for whatever reason, FAILED it's WGA test. It only shows up there if there's a problem.
        • WGA Has A Long History Of Problems

          ... identifying honest customers as "victims of software priacy" who are in fact only victims of Microsoft products:

  • RE: Microsoft releases beta of XP SP3 to Vista, Windows Server testers

    This makes perfect marketing sense. Why?

    * The problematic driver and SP implementations for Vista were predictably going to delay more enterprises converting to the new OS (Vista).

    * XP is performing excellently under SP2 - albeit with rectifiable issues regarding security (something SP3 will most likely address).

    With all this taken into account, it is astute for Microsoft to have made a concerted effort to pursue the SP3 for XP - be that a beta-package or similar permutation. Given that the teething issues with Vista were to be expected, XP SP3 was the expected and most logical option. The transition period for enterprise/industry from XP to Vista may at least be smoothed somewhat with the implementation of XP-SP3.

    As i have predicted (and stated) in the past, the SP3 is almost definitely 'tacit admission' by Microsoft, that there is a 'general' reluctance by enterprises/industry to migrate their legacy systems and the like to a new OS until such time they can be sure of the new OS's stability and reliablity. Microsoft are obviously not blind to the 'lukewarm' reception most enterprises/industries seem to have given the new platform.

    More and more enterprises, will eventually choose Vista as the OS of choice, but I sincerely believe it will be a gradual change.

    The confidence that business enterprises place in any IS application must be earned - this is especially true for OS's since they are the core application software central to most modern business operations. With this in mind XP SP3 will no doubt alleviate many transitional fears for enterprise/industry whilst simultaneously allowing Microsoft a 'buffer period' from which to continue developing Vista and other enterprise software solutions.

    Finally, tactically speaking, Microsoft are making a sound strategic move here which should:

    (i) rationalise the end for the XP life-cycle.


    (ii) allow for an extension on development at service pack level for Vista (and other OS's)

    The results should help minimise the long term
    effects typically related to migration from current to replacement operating systems/application software.
    • Linux Mandriva 2008 is due out

      When it comes out and they got it on DVD I will make the move to Linux Completely and forever leave windows behind !

      Except for some programs I use which the makers have not figured out yet that there is a market out there in Linux and complain about the different versions . . there is what .rpm .deb and the semi zip form .tar . .

      They make more forms of it for windows so why the complaint I do not understand !
      • I Love Mandriva!

        As a user of Mandriva 2007, I offer congrats on choosing an excellent operating system!
  • Why would Vista users want XP SP3?

    Really makes no sense to me. Why would Vista beta testers need or want XP sp3?