Windows XP SP3 Specifics Revealed

If you have recently found yourself yelling "Down with Vista! Where's my XP SP3?", you'll be happy to know Microsoft hasn't forgotten users of its currently most popular OS. Over the last few weeks, the software giant has provided XP downgrades for unhappy Vista customers, announced that Windows XP sales would be extended to June 30, 2008, released a new build of Internet Explorer 7.0 for Windows XP that doesn't require product activation, and released a Service Pack 3 beta to a select group of testers. Vista may be the next big thing, but the gap between the two operating systems has created more problems than Microsoft would have hoped for. Thankfully, the company has decided against pushing Vista at all costs and (hold your breath MS haters) is listening to its customers.

The latest official 334.92 MB SP3 beta download is labelled as build 3205. Would you honestly be surprised if I told you a newer build has already been leaked? Reportedly, the aforementioned SP3 build contains 1,073 hotfixes and patches; 114 of which are security related. SP3 also adds four major features to the Windows XP operating system:

  • a new activation scheme which will not require a product key during installation
  • a new Network Access Protection Module first featured in Windows Vista
  • a Microsoft Kernel Mode Cryptographics Module
  • a Black Hole Router detection algorithm
News source: DailyTech

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Can someone tell me if Windows Media Player 11 and Internet Explorer 7 are included in SP3 or not?

Also, what about DirectX 10? Any hope for that or do we have to sick with poor ol' 9c (or is that 9d)?

I've left Windows XP behind and I don't find myself looking back.

After the hotfixes, I don't really have an issue with Vista anymore, I just love it.

What I DO find to be total BS is Google complaining about the in-built search in Vista.

I know MS is going to let Google's application change the way searches are done in Vista in SP1, but if this is going to cause problems it's going to be one reason for me to dislike Google.

What? Nothing exciting for the

C:/\Documents and Settings/\User Login/\Local Settings/\Application Data/\Microsoft/\DRM

or the
C:/\Documents and Settings/\All Users/\DRM

subdirectories? I'm amazed.

You act like DRM is Microsoft's fault. They're just giving you the ability to play protected content. If you want to whine about it go whine to the MPAA. If they didn't provide drm support and people couldn't watch protected content I bet they'd all be whining even louder.

Oh wow, slightly better security and new anti piracy features. XP is here to stay atleast give us something decent in a service pack!

You just illustrated what the norm is for service packs.. I'm not sure what you're expecting.

Actually, XP SP3 is like SP2 covering unusually much, with new features actually being added. That's not all that common. They use to aim for bugfixes.

Why does everyone suddenly think a service pack is actually supposed to be a fancy expansion pack? It's normally just a collection of patches rolled up together, be happy if you get anything extra at all.

It would be a hassle, all of the existing Windows XP video drivers would suddenly become unusable. Sure tech minded people would have no trouble getting the latest drivers, but I bet plenty of people would be really confused as to why their Windows XP drivers no longer worked on XP. Plus I doubt Microsoft would put that kind of time into it anyway.

Is that so hard to be done?

Well, it took MS a few years to get the new graphics stack of Vista stable.

Doing that now with a finished graphics subsystem, but backporting it to an old OS... Hmm, I can think of more fun things to work on.

jimbo11883 said,
Porting DX10 to XP would mean porting Vista video subsystem, and using Vista drivers...

The only problems is that MS don't want to!!... MS did it many times in the past, with win95, 98se, NT 4.0 and still with some tricks you can install a "it's-impossible-to-install-this-version" directx.

DirectX is no more and not less that a single layer between hardware and code and help to program more easily and directx10 is even more a tiny layer.

Previous dx :

-please draw a cube (code).
-checking.... hummm this hardware don't support to draw a cube by hardware so instead i draw a cube by software. (DX)
-done!. (drivers and hardware).


DX10:

-please draw a cube (code).
-hardware MUST support to draw it... so i send the instructions.. (dx10)
-eh?.. the hardware really don't allow to do it, so i must draw the cube by myself. (drivers).
-done!. (hardware).

Personally, i'd like to see a XP-compatible DX10 being added with SP3. Yes, people will eventually upgrade to Vista, but you shouldn't have to force people to upgrade to an admittedly buggy operating system just to use DX10 (which is the main reason alot of people are making the switch).

darkthunder said,
Personally, i'd like to see a XP-compatible DX10 being added with SP3. Yes, people will eventually upgrade to Vista, but you shouldn't have to force people to upgrade to an admittedly buggy operating system just to use DX10 (which is the main reason alot of people are making the switch).

I dont see a solid reason that Vista is a buggy OS except for its poor drivers support that you have to put the hardware makers for the blame. I wont want DX10 to be in XP but i would prefer DX9 compatibility improved in Vista.

While drivers were an issue, the lingering problems in Vista are at the core level. There have already been two passes of performance related uber-patches. Expect more through SP1. And, for example, SLI didn't work at the core Vista OS level...period. Only once MS fixed that could the drivers really start solidifying. And well, that happened, let's see, about two weeks ago. :P

Wasn't there some talk not long ago that they were going to release a DirectX 9(X) that would allow DirectX 10 games to run on XP in a DirectX 9 mode? That it would allow a DirectX 10 only game to be run on XP, just without all the DirectX 10 enhancements.

Unless it was all BS, I thought some MS people unofficially confirmed it.

darkthunder said,
Personally, i'd like to see a XP-compatible DX10 being added with SP3. Yes, people will eventually upgrade to Vista, but you shouldn't have to force people to upgrade to an admittedly buggy operating system just to use DX10 (which is the main reason alot of people are making the switch).

This was doomed the day MS decided to require a new driver model for DX10. It won't happen in SP3. Actually, MS wouldn't be able to easily add that even if they wanted to, now that this decision was taken. Porting a new driver model to another OS isn't a small task, and would make XP SP2 pale in comparison.

im sorry but what do these things

  • a new Network Access Protection Module first featured in Windows Vista
  • a Microsoft Kernel Mode Cryptographics Module
  • a Black Hole Router detection algorithm

actually mean cause atm i kinda get what the " Network Access Protection Module" kinda is and what it does but what do the other things mean (sorry long words confuse me) :redface:

WarningHPB said,
im sorry but what do these things
  • a new Network Access Protection Module first featured in Windows Vista
  • a Microsoft Kernel Mode Cryptographics Module
  • a Black Hole Router detection algorithm
actually mean cause atm i kinda get what the " Network Access Protection Module" kinda is and what it does but what do the other things mean (sorry long words confuse me) :redface:

In laymans term - it makes it harder for your system to be hacked into.

[*] a new Network Access Protection Module first featured in Windows Vista
mobile systems (notebooks) are scanned before they are authenticated on the network. The IT admin can set specific requirements such as the amount of updates or latest virus definitions before it can log into a network.

[*] a Microsoft Kernel Mode Cryptographics Module
I assume (not sure) this has something to do with preventing things like images or media embedded with malicious code from easily accessing and compromising the system.

[*] a Black Hole Router detection algorithm
Makes it harder to hack into your PC - simple.

Mr. Dee said,
[*] a Black Hole Router detection algorithm
Makes it harder to hack into your PC - simple.

I thought black hole detection was merely noticing the lack of a returning ACK packet and trying a different route, whats it do?

excalpius said,
They gotta have SOME reason to buy Vista don't they? :)

Instant Search
Media Center
Windows Collaboration
Windows AERO Glass
Windows Photo Gallery
Bitlocker with Drive Encryption
Better file management and organization
Parental Controls
Windows DVD Maker
Windows Mobility Center
Way improved Speech recognition
Tablet and Touch Technology
Windows Backup and Windows Complete PC Backup
Memory diagnostics
Improved recovery tools
Better networking, connecting to Wi-Fi networks is breeze compared to XP
Faster and more stable sleep and resume.

Yeah, sure, Vista does not include anything worthy enough to upgrade to it. If you don't use the product, please don't discriminate it, you don't want to look like hypocrite.

As for XP SP3, I am surprised they don't have any intentions of integrating Internet Explorer 7.

Mr. Dee said,

Instant Search
Media Center
Windows Collaboration
Windows AERO Glass
Windows Photo Gallery
Bitlocker with Drive Encryption
Better file management and organization
Parental Controls
Windows DVD Maker
Windows Mobility Center
Way improved Speech recognition
Tablet and Touch Technology
Windows Backup and Windows Complete PC Backup
Memory diagnostics
Improved recovery tools
Better networking, connecting to Wi-Fi networks is breeze compared to XP
Faster and more stable sleep and resume.

Yeah, sure, Vista does not include anything worthy enough to upgrade to it. If you don't use the product, please don't discriminate it, you don't want to look like hypocrite.

As for XP SP3, I am surprised they don't have any intentions of integrating Internet Explorer 7.

I've noticed Vista does a lot worse with wireless than 2000+vendor supplied network-picker applet ever did; occasionally it seems to forget what network I want by default and require prodding.

Mr. Dee said,
Instant Search
Media Center
Tablet and Touch Technology

These items are available in Windows XP Media Edition or are FREE for XP from Microsoft already. So, you can't count these as new features...nope.

Mr. Dee said,
Windows Photo Gallery
Windows DVD Maker
Windows Mobility Center
Parental Controls
Windows Backup and Windows Complete PC Backup

The above "features" have minor and sometimes debatable improvements. For example, Mobility center is little more than a desktop gadget/control panel application. And it still looks to me like Windows Backup lags every commercial offering...even the shovelware apps Dell bundles wit

Mr. Dee said,
Better file management and organization
Memory diagnostics
Improved recovery tools
Better networking, connecting to Wi-Fi networks is breeze compared to XP
Faster and more stable sleep and resume.

Most of these items are BUG FIXES (and sometimes very MINOR improvements) to their XP implementations...hardly worthy of Vista "feature" status. And, let's be clear, many feel a few of these are arguably LESS functional in their minds to the same features in XP. For example, XP Wireless with SP2 is a breeze to setup AND locate/edit the networking parameters you might want to. Vista, on the other hand, buries some of this functionality so deep a LOT of new users really, REALLY hate the new networking neighborhood interface. They can't find ANYTHING anymore...their own words. The same goes with "better file management". If there has been an Achilles heel with Vista so far, this has been it. People have returned Vista computers to stores because of each of these two items, so claiming bug fixes and slight, often ineptly handled, tweaks hardly count as new features.

Which leaves us with...

Mr. Dee said,
Windows AERO Glass
Ultimate Extras (really only Dreamscene right now)*
Bitlocker with Drive Encryption*
Way improved Speech recognition

The first two are eye candy, which you can duplicate on XP now...for free or very affordably.

The last two are significantly improved applications so you can claim they count as new features. But, be honest, are they actually used by, well, anyone?

* Oh, and these items are ONLY on Vista Ultimate, so technically you can't include them on stock Vista features list. One could say the same thing about AERO, but no one in their right mind would buy Vista Basic. That's just plain MBA 101 SKU stupidity.

So, don't get me wrong. I love AERO. But that's pretty much all we're left with as far as end users can tell. We all know there is a lot more under the hood, but seriously, no one is seeing any of it are they?

And it's almost a year since RTM...

Instant Search - I'd rather not. I use search like once a month. XP's search doesn't consume resources when it's off.
Media Center - TVersity, Mediaportal, VLC, etc.
Windows Collaboration - Don't need it.
Windows AERO Glass - Don't need it. But there's always Windowblinds.
Windows Photo Gallery - ACDSee, Adobe Bridge.
Bitlocker with Drive Encryption - Truecrypt.
Better file management and organization - That's a matter of opinion. I still prefer Total Commander.
Parental Controls - ROFL.
Windows DVD Maker - Bloat.
Windows Mobility Center - Bloat.
Way improved Speech recognition - Who uses that?
Tablet and Touch Technology - XP and Office have that too.
Windows Backup and Windows Complete PC Backup - Acronis.
Memory diagnostics - ROFL.
Improved recovery tools - Vista needs them more than XP does.
Better networking, connecting to Wi-Fi networks is breeze compared to XP - Wasn't a problem for me in XP.
Faster and more stable sleep and resume. - That's not what I've been seeing. Vista has some major issues with this.

More importantly, notice that nowhere could you say better performance and improved stability. Vista doesn't improve upon XP's performance, and in many cases it performs worse. Games, boot times, stability, bugs, etc.

Haha, I love how people are still going out of their way for the trouble of listing item by item of various new Vista features they don't like (the list isn't even close to being complete either) to justify their decision of still sticking with Windows XP, Windows 2000, or whatever. Even after over a year of telling they don't need Vista already. It's like it's compulsive to some -- to tell The Truth ™ about Vista that the world should know, even if it's just a personal opinion. It gets even funnier when XP isn't even a that good OS, and have so many underdeveloped features.

I honestly don't think many care anymore why you don't like Vista, or why you like it. The Vista feature set and what's good or bad about it for various groups of people have been re-iterated ad nauseum, and that was months ago.

Jugalator said,
...stating nothing but the obvious in order to hear himself speak...

Hey, I like Vista and I'm using it now. It's just been rather buggy (slowly getting better), ridiculously overpriced (for its lack of features), and the market segmentation of providing 8 versions was quite simply retarded.

:P

RobertH said,

Nice. Best feature XD

Sorry, this is already present in Vista and 2008 Server - it just delays the need for input, it doesn't obviate it.
The OS will cease to work if you don't put in a valid key in a certain length of time (I think 30 days.)

excalpius said,
Yeah, this is something consumers have been demanding...riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight. :P

I've been wanting this. How useful is a half-installed OS, especially when its just a missing key causing the wait? This way you can still get online and retrieve a serial from somewhere, an online storage place perhaps (I keep all my own keys in a well-maintained email account).

I remember when Windows Update had nice little addons like language packs, games and themes. Ah, XP SP2 had nothing on those.

warwagon said,
Low end with only 1 gig of ram

I'd say over 65% of peoples XP machines are running off of 256 megs of ram

Yep. I HARDLY EVER see clients XP machines with 512, let alone the full gig. Ready- boost is a good idea for XP and one I'd not have included for Vista. To run Vista at good speed you need a gig of ram anyways. I ran it on 1.5 gig it ran fine, not great, but good enough.

ReadyBoost doesn't do much. It's just a mediocre cache for less substantial data that is rarely accessed. It's like taking a stack of papers and plopping the bottom quarter onto a separate stack.

Tikitiki said,
ReadyBoost doesn't do much. It's just a mediocre cache for less substantial data that is rarely accessed. It's like taking a stack of papers and plopping the bottom quarter onto a separate stack.

It uses the prefetch data and caches your frequently used application into ram right after a logon.

I have noticed if you disable the readyboost service, the system will slow to a crawl "compared" to with it on. And that is some testing I did on my QX6700 with 4GB of ram...

phiberoptik said,
It uses the prefetch data and caches your frequently used application into ram right after a logon.

I have noticed if you disable the readyboost service, the system will slow to a crawl "compared" to with it on. And that is some testing I did on my QX6700 with 4GB of ram...

Does it crawl only for loading programs and opening files? If not, then that just shows how broken Vista is. A quad-core with 4 GB of ram and Superfetch off should not run much slower than with Superfetch on. You have a better computer than 99% of the population. There should be no hiccups, no unresponsiveness.

I think you misunderstand how ReadyBoost works... Its not really meant to speed up your RAM but its meant to speed up your hard drive. Your hard drive is used to load everything up into RAM when you boot. It is orders of magnitudes faster in certain scenarios to read from flash. This is what readyboost is for. And readyboost for sure is awesome. Definite improvement over my 7200 RPM Samsung Spinpoint hard drive by itself.

redavenger said,
I think you misunderstand how ReadyBoost works... Its not really meant to speed up your RAM but its meant to speed up your hard drive. Your hard drive is used to load everything up into RAM when you boot. It is orders of magnitudes faster in certain scenarios to read from flash. This is what readyboost is for. And readyboost for sure is awesome. Definite improvement over my 7200 RPM Samsung Spinpoint hard drive by itself.

My mistake, I got Readyboost confused with Superfetch, though its interesting that turning off the Readyboost service would noticeably affect systems with lots of memory.

Readyboost is just a overhyped s##it!.

We must store some memory, where we must put it (for a temporal use) :?

a) Ram memory fast but limited.
B) Harddisk slow but cheap.
C) another exotic place (readyboost and such). FYC USB devices indeed use CPU for transfer and a USB 2.0 device is not more fast that a sata disk, so it's not rare to find that in some systems readyboost run slowly that without it. Of course the speed up in the boot process is just a illusory trick invented by MS.

You can use those three methods or you can power your pc using 2 or 4gb of ram and disabling virtual memory.

microsoft made a mistake by making SP2 too interesting, now everyone's expecting something big with the next service pack

I agree. In the past, service packs generally didn't add many features at all. SP2 broke this pattern and this is what everyone expects from new service packs now.

Code.Red said,
I agree. In the past, service packs generally didn't add many features at all. SP2 broke this pattern and this is what everyone expects from new service packs now.

your probably right but not me... i realize that SP2 was a major thing to harden the security of XP in general... while SP3 is pretty much just going to be a more tested roll up of updates etc.