Redmond (WA) – Original equipment manufacturers will get their hands on the new service pack for Windows XP next week, followed by a final release to all users near the end of the month.
It will be the first new service pack update for the long-running operating system in around four years. Service Pack 2 came out in August 2004.
Microsoft will meet its “first half of 2008” release window for Windows XP SP3, as the entire rollout schedule will be complete by June 10. According to Neowin, Microsoft began support for SP3 yesterday and will send out the OEM version, as well as open it up for volume licenses, MSDN subscribers and Technet subscribers.
The release version will be available on April 29, allowing users to access it with Microsoft and Windows Update, as well as in the company website’s download center.
Users who have their preferences set up for automatic updates will receive the service pack update on June 10.
According to the Windows XP SP3 White Paper, SP3 includes “all previously released Windows XP updates, including security updates and hotfixes, and select out-of-band releases. For example, the service pack includes functionality previously released as updates, such as Microsoft Management Console (MMC) 3.0 and the Microsoft Core XML Services 6.0 (MSXML6).”
Microsoft is reportedly not adding significant functionality from newer versions of Windows with this service pack, and it does not include Internet Explorer 7. The one notable exception is an upgrade to Network Access Protection (NAP), which helps organizations that use XP take advantage of some new features in the Windows Server 2008 operating system.
It is unclear whether or not Microsoft will release a Service Pack 4 for XP.