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Windows XP SP3 Slips to 2007

Microsoft has quietly moved the delivery date of the next service pack for Windows XP to the second half of next year.

Initially, Service Pack 3 (SP3) for Windows XP had been due out prior to the release of Windows Vista in the latter part of 2006. However, postings on Microsoft’s Web site now put that date approximately a year after that.

Its predecessor, SP2, was released in the summer of 2004, roughly three years after XP’s original release in October 2001. So if SP3 doesn’t arrive until summer or fall of 2007, that will be about three years as well.

The company did not explain the reasons for the change. Nor has the company said what will be in SP3 when it does ship. Typically, Microsoft reserves services packs to roll-up all of the bug fixes -- particularly security patches regarded as “critical” – since the previous service pack.

However, now that XP SP3 had been pushed back, it could also include both the upcoming Internet Explorer 7 and the updated Aero Glass user interface -- Microsoft has said both will be back-ported to XP. Additional security updates also appear likely, given that the cavalcade of newly-found security holes in XP doesn’t look like it will end any time soon.

Due to the rash of security vulnerabilities that bug sleuths and hackers were finding in Windows XP in 2003 and 2004, Microsoft made additions in Windows XP SP2 that it hoped would make it a definitive security release. In fact, SP2 featured the Windows Security Center and a new firewall that was enabled by default.

About the Author

Stuart J. Johnston has covered technology, especially Microsoft, since February 1988 for InfoWorld, Computerworld, Information Week, and PC World, as well as for Enterprise Developer, XML & Web Services, and .NET magazines.

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