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