The wait is over. The final version of the third and last service pack for Windows XP has been released to manufacturing as previously reported on April 21, 2008
. At the start of this week, XP SP3 went gold, just months short of a four years gap that separates it from the previous XP release, Service Pack 2, that went live in August 2004. The finalization of the bits for Windows XP SP3 RTM Build 5.1.2600.5512 marks the final
service pack milestone in the evolution of the 32-bit version of Windows Vista's predecessor.
However, just because the bits for XP SP3 went gold does not mean that the service pack will be made available for download to end users just yet. "Windows XP SP3 bits are now working their way through our manufacturing channels to be available to OEM and Enterprise customers," revealed Chris Keroack
, Release Program Manager Windows Sustainability Microsoft.
The period of time of a month and a half that separated Windows Vista SP1 RTM date from its general availability will not be repeated with XP SP3. The RTM version of Service Pack 3 will start being served to end users at the end of this month, with Automatic Updates distributions planned for June 10.
"We are also in the final stages of preparing for release to the web on April 29th, via Windows Update and the Microsoft Download Center. Online documentation for Windows XP SP3, such as Microsoft Knowledge Base articles and the Microsoft TechNet Windows XP TechCenter, will be updated then. For customers who use Windows XP at home, Windows XP SP3 Automatic Update distribution for users at home will begin in early summer," Keroack added.
Despite the fact that Windows Vista SP1 and Windows XP SP3 started along at the same time in mid-2007, the development processes managed to get to the finish at almost two months distance. And just as Vista got its first service pack, the 32-bit versions of Windows XP got their last. Microsoft has yet to reveal plans for SP3 designed for the 64-bit version of XP.
"Thanks to everyone here who installed the public betas - you not only gave us detailed feedback but also helped each other out with timely troubleshooting. Through the beta program we found several important issues and were able to confirm some essential fixes. We couldn't have done this without you," Keroack concluded. Update
: Windows XP SP3 RTM Build 5512 available for download here