Windows XP Service Pack 3 was slated for delivery during the first half of 2008, but Microsoft seems intent on downplaying the attention Windows XP SP3 might get in favor of pushing Windows Vista. Windows XP SP3 won’t mark a significant change. While XP SP3 may patch some issues, it won’t have the same impact as Windows XP SP2.
Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3) will reportedly debut later this month. Tech news outlets are widely reporting that the much-anticipated update will be available on April 29. Microsoft was not immediately available for comment.
The final version of Windows XP SP3 was slated for delivery during the first half of 2008, but Microsoft seems intent on downplaying the attention it might get in favor of pushing Windows Vista, especially in light of the uproar about extending the life of XP.
Tests by Devil Mountain Software show that Windows XP, coupled with Service Pack 3, runs some desktop computing tasks roughly twice as fast as Vista. Devil Mountain also discovered that SP3 offers a 10 percent performance boost over XP with SP2, while performance gains with SP1 for Vista were negligible.
Not Much New Here
Windows XP debuted in October 2001. The last update, SP2, was released in August 2004. SP3 is slated to be the last major upgrade of the OS. Like most service packs, XP SP3 combines fixes that were previously released.
Most of the fixes have already been available to users who keep their system updated though Windows Update or who visit Microsoft’s Download Center to download fixes individually.
That’s an important point, according to Michael Cherry, an analyst with Directions on Microsoft. Consumers who have diligently kept up to date with Microsoft downloads, he said, have a PC that operates much the same as PCs waiting for XP SP3.
“There is some new functionality for XP. Windows Server has a new feature called Network Access Protection. I believe Microsoft’s plan is to shift the client for Network Access Protection for XP in the service pack,” Cherry said.
Saving Time on Rebuilds
That said, one of the advantages of having SP3 in a bundle is making computer rebuilds easier. Service packs, Cherry said, can save time for people who are rebuilding machines. He speaks from experience.
“I was rebuilding a machine that has XP on it. It previously ran XP SP2. I had to download an incredible number of patches to bring it up to date. What XP SP3 would let me do is download one massive [collection] of patches, and I don’t have to worry about what order I apply them in,” Cherry said. “I know it’s going to happen correctly.”
Still, for the most part, XP SP3 won’t mark a significant change. While it may patch some issues that Microsoft did not initially release patches for, Cherry said, it will not have the impact XP SP2 did.
“XP SP3 is not going to change the operating system the way that XP SP2 did. It’s not faster; there are no new features. There were no features removed,” Cherry said. “It’s going to be much closer to what Vista SP1 was, where an awful lot of people said, ‘So what?’”