If you are holding your breath while waiting for the final Windows XP Service Pack 3 to drop, you might as well expire and start breathing at a normal pace. Closing in on two months since Windows Vista SP1 and Windows Server 2008 were released to manufacturing, Microsoft is yet to go gold with the bits for the third and final service pack of Windows XP, despite indications that the finish line is on the immediate horizon. But while there is nothing new on the XP SP3 download front, items associated with the service pack, namely documentation, have been updated and re-released.The new published date for the Windows XP Service Pack 3 Overview is March 21, 2008, at the end of the past week. Microsoft has failed to pinpoint the changes to the documentation, if any. “Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3) 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. This white paper summarizes what is new in Windows XP SP3,” reads the description for the Windows XP Service Pack 3 Overview.
Available both as .pdf and .xps, the white paper offers a perspective over what XP SP3 contains, with references pointing to previously released functionality, as well as new and enhanced features, and the best way to deploy XP SP3. At a superficial glance, the new overview contains no additions or modification in comparison to the previously released documentation. Still, the alteration of the publishing date does indicate that Microsoft is moving the XP SP3 bits closer and closer to RTM, with no decisive word from the company as to when Service Pack 3 will go gold.
On March 6, 2008, Microsoft made re-released the RC2 build of XP SP3 initially made available in February. XP SP3 RC2 Build 3311 was followed by XP SP3 5503, a private build which was leaked to torrent trackers. Microsoft did confirm that XP SP3 5503 was an official test version of the service pack, but maintained that the final bits would be delivered by summer 2008.