Windows XP SP3 is released

Microsoft has released Windows XP Service Pack 3 to manufacturing. If you have a TechNet Plus or MSDN account, you can download it now; but don’t even think about it if you have a slow account, because the download file is 544MB! [See update below…] If you’re willing to wait a week or so (and you’ve waited for nearly four years, so what’s another week?) it will appear in Windows Update beginning April 29.

This Windows XP Service Pack 3 information page is worth bookmarking.

Despite what you might have read, don’t expect any noticeable performance improvements from this release. The major advantages are twofold:

  • You won’t have to download nearly a hundred individual updates after installing XP with Service Pack 2.
  • Using Windows XP media with SP3 integrated, you can install Windows without using a product key. (You’ll still have to activate within 30 days, of course.)

I just refurbished a two-year-old Dell notebook, reinstalling XP SP2 and then installing SP3 from CD. Very fast and easy, a major improvement compared to the tedious process I would have had to do just last week.

Update: The 544MB file I mentioned above is on Technet as an ISO image, burnable to CD. It contains a handsome installer wizard, updated deployment and support tools, updates to the .NET Framework, and so on. The standalone SP3 installer is 316MB in size. That’s still very large, especially for those with limited download speeds. We’ll see what the Windows Update package looks like when it arrives next week.

5 thoughts on “Windows XP SP3 is released

  1. SP3 integrates fine into the Dell CD’s. I believe there’s an issue with the slipstream needing to be run on an XP machine but other than that it works great.

  2. Also to add it slipstreams Tablet PC versions of XP as well. I built one today. Only issue is you will have to either make a DVD or re-split into 2 CD. I am guessing you were talking about multi-language size since english only is a mere 313 MB.

  3. Does this include all the previous updates, like other SPs have? Apparently (from what you said) it doesn’t take the place of SP2. Is that correct?

  4. Bob, all service packs are cumulative, I could have installed an RTM version of XP and then installed SP3 and been fine, I just happened to have SP2 media, so that’s what I used.

  5. I had 2 different experiences. I updated a Dell with XP MCE from the TechNet download (the iso file) with absolutely no problem. But when I tried my Compaq Presario with XP Home, I ended up in a reboot loop. I had to do a System Restore to fix things. I actually still haven’t found a reason, so I am holding off. Weird.

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