XP Service Pack 3 Surfaces After Long Delay

After much teasing, Microsoft’s long-awaited final Windows XP service pack 3 became available on Tuesday via manual download and automatic update.

Microsoft halted the planned release of Service Pack 3 one week ago when the company discovered that the new software interfered with another piece of Microsoft software called Dynamics Retail Management System. Microsoft also stopped downloads of the previously released Vista Service Pack 1 for the same reason — both updates were determined to cause data loss when paired with Dynamic Retail Management System. Microsoft since prevented as many DRMS users as possible from installing the two service packs by implementing a filter.

As of Tuesday, the first publicly-available final version of Service Pack 3 can be downloaded online, or, it will automatically download as part of regularly scheduled Windows Update routines. It has been nearly four years since Windows XP Service Pack 2 launched in August 2004, so consumers running XP machines may have built up expectations for noticeable and vast improvements to their operating system. Unfortunately, most users will likely not notice many changes when they install SP3.

Most of the fixes inside the pack have been released previously through Windows Update. The new fixes change things like security options control panels and product activation updates and make these settings similar to those available in Windows Vista.

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  • dj_mikey_qae
    I had 5 computers in my tech shop today that got WindowsXP reinstalls this morning. I noticed that through Windows Update, Microsoft advises the SP3 install. I downloaded the standalone installer direct from Microsoft and installed it on all 5 machines after running Autopatcher. The service pack install went off without a hitch, computer rebooted and I experienced, on all 5 machines (from a 900mhz AMD Duron to a Core2Duo E6300) that XP felt "snappier". I'm going to say that XP SP3 is a must-have, just like Vista SP1.
  • freiheitner
    If XP did not feel snappier after a clean install, I would say something is wrong. Still, good to hear it went smoothly. I may finally upgrade from Windows 2000 to XP.
  • dj_mikey_qae
    Of course XP will feel snappier with a reinstall, however installing SP3 made Windows seem to run better than the reinstall with SP2. Basically, my install disc had SP2, I installed SP3 and it helped out even more. Again, a must-have. The SP3 RC2 Refresh made my personal computer go into the BSOD loop that people were reporting, so I just dropped XP and went back to Vista SP1. It's a tradeoff. I'm happier with Vista than I am with XP, but to each their own.