An unofficial preview pack containing what purports to be Windows XP Service Pack 3 has been uploaded to The Hotfix web site. The Hotfix is an independently-run site that specializes in downloads and discussions of Windows patches and bug fixes.
Ethan Allen, the owner and operator of The Hotfix, says that he put together the preview pack from patches he received from an internal source at Microsoft. The patches are official Microsoft files, but they have not yet been released via Windows Update.
A technical and security director at Microsoft France let slip last week that Windows XP SP3 was in the works, and was scheduled for release after the client version of Windows Vista. Microsoft has since denied this claim, stating that they have no official plays for SP3 at this time.
The patches in the preview version of SP3 are mainly security and bug fixes. There are a total of 208 hotfixes included in the package. Not included is Internet Explorer 7, now available in beta from the Microsoft web site. It is not clear whether the final SP3 build will ship with IE7 or whether it will simply support it as an extra download. A Windows Media Player Update, code named "Emerald," is planned but not guaranteed for SP3.
News source: Ars Technica