XP SP3 not generally available yet, after all

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


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 SP3 not generally available yet, after all

    Its better to hold the release until all issues are fixed than to release it with bugs. Microsoft has been great about doing such a thing with all their releases over the last decade or so.
    Loverock Davidson
    • all bugs?

      think about what you are saying. if releases were held until *all* bugs were fixed, microsoft wouldn't release anything ... EVER!!

      on the other hand, it is entirely possible i have completely missed the sarcasm in your post, in which case, i completely agree.
    • MS has released more buggy...

      software than anyone. What planet are you on?
      • i couldn't agree more ...

        ms is the biggest producer of buggy software. i call it "job security" ... but that really doesn't have anything to do with the purpose for comment. my point was, if software companies (ms, adobe, symantec, etc) waited until *all* bugs were fixed, they would never release *any* software. bug-free software just doesn't exist ... period. software is written by humans; humans are not perfect. conclusion: software isn't perfect. if perfection is the expectation of software, then we need something perfect to write the code. unfortunately, that just doesn't exist on my planet. i suspect it doesn't exist on your planet either.
        • acceptance of mediocrity

          While sophisticated software has an enormous amount of code and therefore potential for error you would never accept a car that had the same number of functional problems. And we do expect something much closer to perfection in manufacturing in nearly every other area of our lives. Why have we accepted such a low benchmark for software? When I buy something as expensive and as central to my business I expect it to work without downtime. Unfortunately, MS has constructed a business that has most of us by the short and curlies in one way or another.
      • Ah, but...

        ...Microsoft has released more software than anyone, let alone buggy software.
        • Let me understand this...

          ...so to draw an analogy:

          If *your city* produces more *raw sewerage and toxic waste* than all other cities in the country, you expect people to buy the idea that it's merely a result of higher productivity than anyone else?!?

          I hope i never lost your meaning on misconstrued - but if i didn't ... Heaven help ya!
      • It's Loverock "Windoze Bigot" Davidson - WHAT do you expect?

        An objective and honestly critical evaluation of what's wrong w/MS - or even what's RIGHT w/them?

        You may as well expect Hillary Clinton to see the error of her ways, and throw her unequivocal support to Barack Obama - rather than John McCain, which is SURE what she looks like she's doing!
      • bugs and bloatware

        As the package gets more bloated, more places for bugs to hide... how much ram does Vista take to run reasonably fast? 2 gigs? Lots of lines of code in there.
        • pc act atack

          hey dude you are right in all ways and hope you under for IT guy pc and os is like woman seeing there monthly !!!!
          pc cat atack
    • Bwahahahaha!!!!

      Oh yeah, Vista was a prime example, right LD?
    • But Vista SP 1 is...

      I guess that one must have slipped past ya. Not a big surprise there.
  • RE: XP SP3 not generally available yet, after all

    Installed no problem. dell 8400 4g memory pent 4 processor
    • Oh, it probably *installed* OK

      But better than vesta
  • RE: XP SP3 not generally available yet, after all

    Vista (ME) still screwing things up for the general public!
  • RE: XP SP3 not generally available yet, after all

    of course, there's now lots of potential customers for RMS that now know that it exists...or is that just too cynical...
  • But ZDNET put a link to it...

    jumping the gun a bit folks :( Sorry to say I got swept into the ZD vortex and downloaded, but did not install. Good thing too. I'd watch that premature distribution recommendation that some of your writers have for things that they're not necessarily experienced with testing/troubleshooting/recovering from.

    After all, who wants to have 1,000 busted laptops dumped on their desk as a result of a bad recommendation.

    All software articles should come with a 'don't try this at home' label on them just to protect you folks.

    And of course MaryJo did not write the article to which I elude, but someone else did and it's about XPSP3
    • What gives the link is still live !!

      It was written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes

      and the link is here


      • SP3 already installed on my machine

        I installed SP3 on 1/27/08 and it's been chugging along just fine.

        Automatic update doesn't work properly, but then, it never has.

        Dell GX260 Pent 1.8, 2 GB RAM