Windows XP service pack 3 has been released. Service pack 3 includes all of the functionality of previous XP service packs including security patches and hot fixes. SP3 enables installation of ALL of the previously released patches and hot fixes of XP in one package (rather than having to download and install each one individually). Newer functionality added to SP3 is minimal. It does not include any of the significant changes found in Vista; although it does include security enhancements and network access protection (NAP) to enable it to work better with Windows Server 2008. It is a cumulative release and can be installed on top of XP1 and XP2. Deployment over a network has not changed and can be implemented using Microsoft Systems Management Server 2003, Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2007, or third-party solutions.
It was originally released earlier in the month and then withdrawn because it broke several of Microsoft’s own applications and had other problems ranging from spontaneous reboots to system crashes and machines that would no longer boot. These issues have apparently been corrected.
A Word of Caution
As with any major operating system update; you’ll want to use caution and make a full backup of your system before upgrading to SP3 – and leave yourself time to go backward if needed. Once you’ve upgraded to SP3, it prevents downgrading from Internet Explorer 7 to Internet Explorer 6; so you’ll want to be careful if you have applications that don’t play well with Internet Explorer 7. It has also been purported to cause registry corruption and to not play well with Symantec’s Norton Antivirus utilties.
Click Here to read about some of the issues reported about SP3.