Microsoft starts rolling out public XP SP3 test build

Microsoft starts rolling out public XP SP3 test build

Summary: Microsoft has begun making a near-final Release Candidate (RC) test build of Windows XP Service Pack (SP) 3 available to anyone interested in trying out the new build -- the same way that it is doing with Vista SP1.


Microsoft has begun making a near-final Release Candidate (RC) test build of Windows XP Service Pack (SP) 3 available to anyone interested in trying out the new build -- the same way that it is doing with Vista SP1.

Microsoft has begun posting XP SP3 RC documentation to its Microsoft Download site, which is open to the general public. And the XP SP3 RC bits are available from various file-download sites on the Web.

Microsoft made a build of XP SP3 available to subscribers to its Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) and TechNet subscribers on December 3. At that time, company officials declined to say when the company planned to make a public test build of XP SP3 available.

Microsoft officials have said the final XP SP3 bits should be available some time in the first half of 2008. Who knows: If the Windows team follows in the Office 2007 team's "underpromise/overdeliver" footsteps, maybe we'll see the final XP SP3 release a few months early....)

XP SP3 is primarily a collection of fixes and updates that Microsoft has released over the past few years since it rolled out XP SP2 in 2004. XP SP3 also does include a few brand-new features, like black-hole router detection; support for Network Access Protection (NAP) security-quarantining; enhanced security for administrator and service policy entries; inclusion of the Microsoft Kernel Mode Cryptographic Module; and Windows Product Activation modifications.

Microsoft explains the activation changes in XP SP3 this way:

"As in Windows Server 2003 SP2 and Windows Vista, users can now complete operating system installation without providing a product key during a full, integrated installation of Windows XP SP3. The operating system will prompt the user for a product key later as part of Genuine Advantage. As with previous service packs, no product key is requested or required when installing Windows XP SP3 using the update package available through Microsoft Update."

Microsoft is slated to post for public consumption the RC test build of Vista SP1 some time this week.

I've asked Microsoft officials for an update on when the company plans to post the public XP SP3 RC bits on its own site. No word back.

(Thanks to WinBeta for XP SP3 tip.) 

Topics: Operating Systems, Microsoft, Software, 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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  • Great

    Will SP3 slow XP to the molasses-like speed of Vista? Could get a few more to convert...

    Jack-Booted EULA
    • vistas faster on my box than xp was but on older systems

      vistas faster on my box than xp was but on older systems it might slow it down some.

      i've got xp sp3 installed and can't see much deferents in it and sp2.

      no speed loss at least on my system.
      SO.CAL Guy
      • Vista speeds

        It depends how good your graphics card is on whether it's faster or slower. the XP 'luna' style is software rendered, but aero is hardware generated. That's the main difference in speed.
  • RE: Microsoft starts rolling out public XP SP3 test build

    I just downloaded xp sp3, will follow up later
    • Sees to be a speed improvement

      I just installed it on an old Compaq P3- 860 with 320Meg RAM. Runs allot faster than it did with SP2. People may not notice on modern fast machines but this old dunger I did see an improvement..
  • RE: Microsoft starts rolling out public XP SP3 test build

    Is there going to be a SP3 for 64-bit edition?
  • RE: Microsoft starts rolling out public XP SP3 test build

    I have not downloaded it yet it is a whopping 336 mb and I have a mac emulation program installed and I wonder if it will affect the revised system files that I have on my computer -Any thoughts?
    • Mac-emulation

      SP3 looks like an almost complete new installation (same as SP2) so it will most probably kill your mac-emulation. The only way to find out is to install it. Can't advise you to do so because de-installing SP3 may not bring back the mac-emulation and cause mayhem because the original XPSP2files have been replaced. I'd wait for the mac-emu software to be updated to XPSP3 (if necessary) or accept working with WINemulation temporarily.
    • Does XP SP3 contain LLTD to allow Communications with Vista Machines

      Currently I have to download KB922120 (LLTD Responder for XP machines, Does anyone know if this is included in SP#?
  • RE: Microsoft starts rolling out public XP SP3 test build

    Thats great if you want to go back in time, but why is it that every thing Mary Jo Foley says is just a let down. Where is the Vista SP1 that is available? Why are some of her links broken all the time? If she thinks she is up to critizing others then why not get her own shop in order first?
    • Back in time?

      This would be a step forward for me at XP SP2. Why talk about Vista when this is an XP article? Also, all the links in her story worked for me. Not sure what the problem was with your links.
      • Back in time?

        I am really suprised that anyone is still on XP. I was just supprised to see info being pushed out about it.

        I stated using Vista 6 months ago and love it. I am a heavy user with a wide range of software. Most of the time I think Vista gets a bad wrap, most of the problems are with 3rd party software that's not up to scratch.

        Personally I find Vista much faster than XP and much more useable.
        I have got Vista running on 4 different brands of hardware and it's fine on all of them.

        The first link on the page this morning led nowhere.

        I have always respected XDNet for their accuracy. Perhaps I was harsh but on the other hand links on pages like these should work. If you miss by and inch you miss by a mile.
        • Never went forward

          There's a great big [u]real[/u] world out there that took a look at Vista when it was first released and said "You have got to be kidding!" My largest client just finished replacing all their P2s and P3s with P4s so everybody can run XP. They have no intention of upgrading to Vista before 2009. I can't think of a single reason for a reputable PC support shop to recommend that its business clients upgrade to Vista.

          The only happy home PC owner with Vista installed that I know of is my brother-in-law, but he has a 3.5 GHz dual-core processor, 4 GB RAM, and a 512MB PCI-e graphics card. Vista does fairly well, but still appears slower than XP on my A31 laptop.

          Aside: Consider your closing comment: [i]If you miss by and [/i][sic][i] inch you miss by a mile.[/i] You missed.
        • Maybe your Vista statement is case of Dislepxia

          Why don't we say instead "I am really surprised that anyone is switching to Vista."

          For one thing Windows XP without the bells and whistles is superior to Vista and more productive.

          I suspect that you maybe are a Microsoft employee or a Gatesian Church member or perhaps a very rich person able to afford the price of Vista and its hardware on steroids.

          Your statement that Vista is faster than XP is a delusion or a myth. I have first hand experience with associates and friends that despite of spending thousands of dollars, Vista behaves like a tiger or German pantzer tank from World War II.

          You got to be kidding?
    • SP3 test build

      Phil that was just mean and rude! Take a chill pill Phil!
  • RE: Microsoft starts rolling out public XP SP3 test build

    TO someone who has used #3. How does it work? Is it an improvement? Are there bugs that screw up your system? Should a full back up be done before downloading #3? thank you.

      As was the case with W2K and former WXP service packs, most people will never experience an ounce of trouble, but a few unfortunate others will find themselves in BSOD land.

      I personally ALWAYS create a System Restore point AND do a full disk image (such as provided by Ghost or True Image) (NOT FILE) backup of the HD hosting the Windows directory, making sure to include 'system state" and disk signature.

      That should allow you to reliably revert to your former state if the Sp install goes bad or you simply do not like the results. That's why I recommend you wait until the final SP3 version is delivered unless you have bad functionality with your current installation, as it is certain that bugs are present, and they should be signigicantly reduced in the final version
  • RE: Microsoft starts rolling out public XP SP3 test build

    Downloaded twice, install failed at same location twice. Think this one needs a little more testing before release
  • Not for me right now

    I tried downloading SP3 and the first time, it failed. On the 2nd attempt, it downloaded properly, but there was one little problem: I could not access IE6. From the "could not find server" error page, I could access Yahoo, Verizon, ATT, anything but IE. I removed SP3 and after jumping through a lot of hoops, am now able to pull up IE.

    I think I'll wait for the finished product.
    • similar

      I installed a slipstreamed copy of XPSP2 on a blank HD, then applied SP3. Everything worked except IE6. I got a urlmon.dll error I think. From the run box, I entered the command

      This opened IE6 to MS' home page, where I downloaded the setup file for IE7 and installed it. No more problems.