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Windows XP SP3 RC2 Refresh: The Pause That Refreshes

Want Windows XP SP3 for real? You can't have it now, but there is a beta Refresh to play with in the mean time.

Want Windows XP SP3 for real? You can't have it now, but there is a beta Refresh to play with in the mean time.

Microsoft released Windows XP Service Pack 3 Release Candidate 2 Refresh in English, German and Japanese, with the download apparently published on March 6. This Refresh beta release is designed for IT professionals and developers. Microsoft's reason for issuing it is to test changes to the build through Windows Update, according to a Microsoft TechNet blog, dated March 25.

Differences between the Refresh version and the earlier Release Candidate 2 version are nil, according to the blog.

"Beyond fixes for common Windows Update issues and the inclusion of support for HD Audio, there are no substantial differences between this beta release (build 5508) and XP SP3 RC2 (build 3311)," the blog states.

Users who want to install Windows XP SP3 RC2 Refresh will have to do a little work. You will have to remove previous RC versions first.

"Build to build upgrades are not supported for this beta release, so if you have installed XP SP3 RC1 or XP SP3 RC2, please uninstall it before running this application," the blog explained.

Many may instead be waiting for the real thing -- that is, the release-to-manufacturing version of Windows XP SP3, which Microsoft literature describes as the last supported version of Windows XP.

Rumors have suggested that the Windows XP SP3 RTM would appear in April. However the Microsoft TechNet blog stuck to the official Microsoft line that "Windows XP SP3 is scheduled for release in the first half of 2008."

The Refresh version of Windows XP SP3 RC2 can be downloaded here.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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