Continuing on its promise, a part of Microsoft has been busy with Service Pack 3 for Windows XP. Although it might look to be little late but for those die hard XP fans this delay might be worth the wait considering the kind of features which SP 3 will bring to the good old Windows XP.
The Redmond company made SP3 beta (build 3205) available for download (via Microsoft Connect) for its 12000 testers, most of them being already involved in the test-driving of the development milestone of Vista SP1 and Windows Server 2008. However the number is considered to jump up considering the leak of Windows XP SP3 (build 3205) to torrent websites.
The information associated with the downloads points to the fact that the torrent delivers Windows XP SP3 Beta Build.5.1.2600.3205, 2007.9.1, KB936929. Additionally, the file offered via torrent trackers weighs in at 334.9 Mb, while the English language standalone installer for XP SP3 Beta Build 3205 is windowsxp-kb936929-sp3-x86-enu.exe 334.92 MB.
Contrary to popular belief, Windows XP SP3 does ship with all-new features - not just patches and hot-fixes, most of them back-ported from Windows Vista:
- New Windows Product Activation model: no need to enter product key during setup. Thank God for that!
- Network Access Protection modules and policies have been brought to XP after being one of the more-well-received features in Windows Vista. You can read more about NAP here.
- New Microsoft Kernel Mode Cryptographic Module – the Windows XP SP3 kernel now includes an entire module that provides easy access to multiple cryptographic algorithms and is available for use in kernel-mode drivers and services.
- New “Black Hole Router” detection – Windows XP SP3 can detect and protect against rogue routers that are discarding data.
Windows XP SP3 is compatible with all versions of Windows x86, included Embedded, Fundamentals, Start, Professional, Media Center, and Home Editions.
Windows XP SP3 now contains 1,073 patches/hot-fixes, not including those in previous service packs. Of the 1,073 included updates, 114 are for security-related issues. The remainder are updates to performance & reliability, bug-fixes, improvements to kernel-mode driver modules, and many BSOD fixes.