Microsoft says the third and final service pack for the aging Windows XP will be available for download on April 29th while manufacturers and larger customers currently have SP3 in house. SP3 will include all updates released since 2004 when SP2 was released. Here are some added features in SP3:
A feature called Network Access Protection
that’s borrowed from the newer Windows Vista operating system. NAP
automatically validates a computer’s health, ensuring that it’s free of
bugs and viruses before allowing it access to a network.
Windows XP SP3 also includes improved “black hole” router
detection — a feature that automatically detects routers that are
silently discarding packets. In XP SP3, the feature is turned on by
default, according to Microsoft.
Windows XP SP3 also steals a page from Vista’s product
activation model, meaning that product keys for each copy of the
operating system don’t need to be entered during setup. The feature
should prove popular with corporate IT managers, who often need to
oversee hundreds, or even thousands, of operating system installations.
When a Microsoft spokesperson was asked for the number of fixes in XP SP3, they responded “one billion fixes” while resting the pinky finger aside the mouth.
Source: Information Week