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Windows XP SP3 Coming Next Year

Windows XP's first service pack in nearly four years should be pushed out the door some time around mid-2008, according to Microsoft.

Windows XP's first service pack in nearly four years should be pushed out the door some time around mid-2008, according to Microsoft.

A statement released by Microsoft on Wednesday said that "Microsoft will be releasing Windows XP SP3 to customers and partners in the next few weeks and is targeting the first half of 2008 for an RTM release." That wording indicates that it's some type of pre-beta or beta version of SP3, since it won't be officially RTM'ed until next year.

Microsoft didn't go into specifics of the upgrades or fixes that would be included in SP3; however, blogger Mary Jo Foley, who writes a column for Redmond magazine, said it could be a substantial number of corrections. "I saw an alleged fix list at that time: It consisted of nearly 1,000 items," Foley wrote.

Microsoft said SP3 will include previously released updates and fixes, as well as "a small number of new updates," and that the updates "should not significantly change the Windows XP experience."

Microsoft did not give any more specific dates on SP3's final availability. When a product is RTM'ed, it is typically a month or two before it's released.

XP SP2 was released in August 2004. It included many enhancements, the majority of which were security related. The release of SP2, XP helped the OS gain a dominant place in the desktop realm; it finally gained the security and stability that Microsoft had been seeking for years.

In fact, XP SP2 has continued to sell so well, even as Microsoft's marketing machine has pushed Windows Vista with all its might, that Microsoft had to revise its sales forecasts upward -- at Vista's expense -- and major OEM Dell recently announced it was giving customers the option of having it preloaded on a new computer.

Microsoft's mainstream support for XP is scheduled to expire in April of 2009, and extended support runs out in April 2014.

About the Author

Keith Ward is the editor in chief of Virtualization & Cloud Review. Follow him on Twitter @VirtReviewKeith.