Windows XP Service Pack 3 is here. Well, almost here, as Microsoft prepares to release the service pack to the general public on April 29, even though leaked builds of the final XP SP3 are already available for download, following the release to manufacturing milestone on April 21, 2008. However, end users have to understand that Microsoft is serving only the 32-bit version of Service Pack 3. At this point in time, SP3 for the 64-bit version Windows XP is not even on the horizon. The situation can be explained through the synchronization of the code base of x64 XP and Windows Server 2003.
Just as Windows Vista Service Pack 1 and Windows Server 2008 are joined at the hip, with the client and server platform synchronization exemplified by the SP1 label shared by the two operating systems, Windows XP 64-bit and Windows Server 2003 feature not only the same code base, but also the same service packs. In fact, on June 12, 2007 Microsoft made available Service Pack 2 not only for Windows Server 2003, but also for Windows XP Professional, x64 Edition. Microsoft has so far failed to make any plans to deliver Service Pack 3 for x64 XP public.
"Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3) [32-bit] includes all previously released updates for the operating system. This update also includes a small number of new functionalities, which do not significantly change customers' experience with the operating system. Microsoft is not adding significant Windows Vista functionality to Windows XP through SP3. However, SP3 does include Network Access Protection (NAP) to help organizations that use Windows XP to take advantage of new features in the Windows Server 2008 operating system. Further, Windows XP SP3 does not include Windows Internet Explorer 7," explained Nick MacKechnie, Senior Technical Account Manager at Microsoft New Zealand.
Windows XP Service Pack 3 FINAL can be downloaded via this link.