That's right! Windows XP Service Pack 3 Release Candidate 2 is available for download and you can grab it right here
. Initially, Microsoft released XP SP3 RC2 on the heels of Windows Vista Service Pack 1 RTM and Windows Server 2008 Service Pack 1 RTM on February 7, 2008. At that time, it became clear that although the development
milestones of XP SP3, Vista SP1 and Windows Server 2008, were joined at the hip, the third and final service pack for XP was not part of the intimate synchronization between the latest Windows client and server platforms.
Now with the RTM of Vista SP1 and Windows Server 2008 SP1 out of the way, the Redmond company is focusing on the wrapping out XP SP3. Earlier this month, only the pool of pre-selected Microsoft testers, some 15,000 strong, were permitted access to the RC2 bits of XP SP3. This limitation is no longer in place. As of February 19, 2008, all Windows XP users can grab the RC2 build of SP3.
"Windows XP Service Pack 3 Release Candidate 2 is available to the public. Specific registry settings will allow you to be offered SP3 via Windows Update," Microsoft revealed. And the Windows XP SP3 Release Candidate 2.exe is nothing more than the registry scrip that will permit end users to tweak their copies of XP in order to identify the XP SP3 bits on the Windows Update servers. "Microsoft is allowing Windows XP Service Pack 2 machines to be offered Windows XP Service Pack 3 Release Candidate 2 via Windows Update. Windows XP Service Pack 3 will be offered on Windows Update when Service Pack 3 releases in the first half of 2008," reads the Overview section of the documentation accompanying the XP SP3 download.
"Download the script and run it on a machine currently running Windows XP Service Pack 2. The script sets a registry key on your system. The registry key is required for Windows Update to recognize your machine as a valid target for Windows XP Service Pack 3 RC2. Versions of Windows XP Service Pack 3 prior to Release Candidate 2 should be removed before attempting to use the registry key. Windows Update will not offer Release Candidate 2 to machines with previous versions of the Windows XP Service Pack 3 beta. It is recommended that you apply the resulting update package to an activated, genuine copy of Windows XP, in a test environment. As with any pre-release software, it is also recommended that you back up files and settings on your machine before applying this update package," Microsoft added.
Windows XP RC2 Build 3300 is available for download here