updated 08:10 pm EDT, Mon April 21, 2008
Windows XP SP3
Microsoft has announced that Windows XP SP3 has been released to manufacturing and will be released for download on April 29th as a standalone installer. It will be available in early Summer as an automatic update. Windows XP SP3 includes all previously released Windows XP updates, including security updates and hotfixes, and select out-of-band releases. Microsoft says it's not adding significant Windows Vista functionality to Windows XP through SP3. However, SP3 does include Network Access Protection (NAP) to" help organizations that use Windows XP to take advantage of new features in the Windows Server 2008 operating system."
Further, Windows XP SP3 does not include Windows Internet Explorer 7. The service pack does, however, include functionality previously released as updates, such as the Microsof Management Console (MMC) 3.0 and the Microsoft Core XML Services 6.0 (MSXML6). Users can download these updates and apply them individually to computers running Windows XP SP2. Windows XP SP3 also includes a small list of previously unavailable functionality, including NAP and an update of Windows Product Activation.
Windows XP SP3 also includes improvements to black hole router detection (detecting routers that are silently discarding packets), turning it on by default. In addition, the Security Options control panel in Windows XP SP3 now has more descriptive text to explain settings and prevent incorrect settings configuration.