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The Long Journey

Windows XP SP 3

Steve Hogan

Fact and Fable

Unlike a lot of sequels, Windows XP SP3 is better than the original. Any day now the official release is due to hit the streets. Rumors of 10% performance increases crowd my Googled results. My mind travels to increased scores for benchmarks. Microsoft's favored son is rising to the position of SUPER HERO. "WINDOWS XP CONQUERS...." Oh, sorry, I'll get back to earth now.

It may be interesting to note that the release of XP SP3 has been predicted every January since 2006. I see many people predicting it will be released the first quarter of 2008. Most recently Paul Thurrott quotes Microsoft as saying they will be shipping XP SP3 during the second quarter of 2008.

Registered beta testers enjoyed its concealed inclusion on the Windows Update site more than a month ago, and now with the widely available Release Candidate, it looks like these labor pains are leading to the real thing.

Let's quickly take a step back to see how this seven-year epic has played out. XP was first released on October 25th of 2001, as a successor to Windows Me and built on the same kernel as its business predecessor Windows 2000. It boasted an improved graphical user interface, better software management, and the first Windows use of "product activation".

Service pack 1 for XP was released just short of a year later on September 9th, 2002. That seems a reasonable time for the inclusion of NET Framework, support for USB 2.0 and the expected fixes and security patches. SP1a soon followed to remove the Java virtual machine. The removal was because of a lawsuit with Sun Microsystems.

SP 2 saw the addition of the Windows Security Center, which controlled the use of a new firewall, pop-up blockers, and Windows Automatic Update. Blue tooth and WiFi support were also included as new additions to the operating system. Production of this service pack took major resources and time from Microsoft and required a good amount of time for the users to install. As the years stacked up after this major update, so did the more than 100 added patches and fixes.

Because it's been such a long time between service packs, you would expect something major in content, if not at least large in size. The 10% performance increase we're hearing about has everyone jumping to find this download and give it a try.

At 336MB, you can expect the installation to take between 15 and 30 minutes. Of course this depends completely on the speed of your Internet connection, but not bad when compared to the succession of painful reboots required updating prior to this. It's a cumulative service pack so you can install on top of your existing installation regardless of your current update situation. It is good for all versions of Windows including XP Media Center. Here's the list straight from the horse's mouth. You'll find this in Microsoft's "Overview of Windows XP Service Pack 3". I'm not including any of the previously released information, only the new items that have previously been unavailable.

New and Enhanced Functionality

Networking

"Black Hole" Router Detection: Now, this detection is on by default and is for detecting routers that are silently discarding packets. This feature is also available in Vista

NAP Network Access Protection: Policy enforcement that protects networks. It is now included Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, and Windows XP SP3. Available in RTM (release to manufacturers) version of Vista


Security

Descriptive Security Options User Interface: More descriptive text, hopefully this will provide better explanations of options.

Enhanced Security for Admin. And Service policy entries: All new policy is present by default and after authentication cannot be removed.

Microsoft Kernel Mode Cryptographic Module: A new Kernel module that fixes a known problem with Microsoft's cryptographic application.

Windows Product Activation: Users can now complete the operating system installation without providing a product key. The keyless install option will allow installs of XP SP3 to proceed without using a product key for 30 days. This option is also available for Vista SP1 will not update your Internet Explorer 6 to Internet Explorer 7. But it will update either your IE 6 or your IE7. From what I've been able to tell so far, the same is true of Windows Media Player. The update does not install the current Media Player 11 as a part of the fixes or additions.


Bottom Line

So where's the bang? I've installed SP3, now how do I verify that 10% boost I've been reading about? Well, the fact of the matter is, the reports are due to information from an anonymous blogger, or Craig Barth of Devil Mountain Inc., depending on whose quote you're reading. Devil Mountain Inc. ran benchmarks using their OfficeBench suite and a laptop equipped with Office 2007. Their earlier comparison of Windows Vista SP 1 and Windows XP SP3 received some credible criticism because they benched using Office 2007 on Vista and Office 2003 on XP. Microsoft of course, doubts whether the bench tests any real world differences, and to be honest that's a valid point. Their later tests comparing XP SP2 to XP SP3 are using the same Office Bench Suite. From my tests, I'm seeing no measured difference in performance using my favorite over clocking benchmarks. Those included PC Pitstop Full Test, SuperPi, and two of the FutureMark benches.

This isn't a bad thing mind you. Microsoft never touted SP3 as a big performance booster. It's only been the Devil Mountain blog and man's never-ending hopes of improved performance, which sprouted this 10% urban legend into existence. Windows SP3 installs easily and improves the operating system. I've found no glitches so far with a weeks use and that's the biggest bang we're going to get. Not bad really.

Bottom line? Get it, use it!

Betanews

c/net

PC World

MS Overview

MS Download

Paul Thurrott's SuperSite

Join the Discussion
jacklazara: Windows XP SP3 - The Long Journey (Wed, 30 Jan 2008 17:06:50 GMT)
Nice article!
badbinary: Windows XP SP3 - The Long Journey (Thu, 24 Jan 2008 13:42:46 GMT)
oh
Bruce: Windows XP SP3 - The Long Journey (Thu, 24 Jan 2008 13:08:27 GMT)
QUOTE(badbinary @ 1:05pm Wed Jan 23 2008) [snapback]1465401[/snapback]

um...what?


There is a poll at the main site, you can click on a map to see the results of the poll state by state.
badbinary: Windows XP SP3 - The Long Journey (Wed, 23 Jan 2008 18:05:59 GMT)
um...what?
AskTrannyMan: Windows XP SP3 - The Long Journey (Mon, 21 Jan 2008 09:00:04 GMT)
QUOTE(cmunson @ 4:26pm Fri Jan 11 2008) [snapback]1461417[/snapback]

Finally a sequel that is better than the original? Windows XP SP3.

http://www.pcpitstop.com/news/journey.asp

[font=Tahoma]

I find the map of the users who think that XP SP3 is "exciting" is interesting.

SC ranks at the top of those excited, followed by OK and ID; although, generally up and down the East Coast, in and around MD, CT, and Washington DC, the level is quite high.
VA, MD, DC all are gov operations.
CT in known for its Accounting Bix...

Anyone have any thoughts on these numbers?

Thanks,
AskTrannyMan
stormy13: Windows XP SP3 - The Long Journey (Sun, 20 Jan 2008 17:41:47 GMT)
The Alky Project was a joke and a scam right from the get-go. And in case you missed it,

QUOTE
It is with great sadness that I announce the closing of Falling Leaf Systems, LLC. We set out over a year ago to provide users of both "old and unsupported" as well as "alternative" Operating Systems the ability to run the latest games for the PC. Unfortunately, Falling Leaf Systems was unable to achieve that goal.


http://alkyproject.blogspot.com/

Cody Brocious has packed up his snake-oil tent and slithered off into the night. Just feel sorry for those that got sucked into his Sapling Program (aptly named, as only saps would have signed up) to the tune of $50 a pop.

Oh and for how well his little endeavor actually worked,

http://www.beyond3d.com/content/articles/55/1
YoungGun: Windows XP SP3 - The Long Journey (Sat, 19 Jan 2008 22:13:40 GMT)
QUOTE(brandon @ 10:14am Sat Jan 19 2008) [snapback]1464127[/snapback]

Yes.

DirectX calls can be mapped to OpenGl with relatively little effort, and vice-versa. Also, according to one of the ReactOS developers, there is a version of DirectX 10 for XP in one of the DirectX SDKs.



I found this: http://www.technospot.net/blogs/download-d...m-alky-project/
and http://www.techmixer.com/download-directx-10-for-windows-xp/

Anyone try this? Does it work well and is it safe?
PEshman: Windows XP SP3 - The Long Journey (Sat, 19 Jan 2008 20:34:27 GMT)
QUOTE(Bruce @ 1:11pm Sat Jan 19 2008) [snapback]1464126[/snapback]

Ummm why don't you download it, and put it on a CD for future use?


SP2 was available on CD with just a call to microsoft, so I was just wondering if it is going to be the same with SP3.
PORTHOS: Windows XP SP3 - The Long Journey (Sat, 19 Jan 2008 19:38:12 GMT)
QUOTE
If I have to reinstall Windows XP, will I have to install SP2 and then SP3 or just go to SP3?


Just SP3 but wait till its official. Not during the testing phase.
brandon: Windows XP SP3 - The Long Journey (Sat, 19 Jan 2008 18:14:18 GMT)
QUOTE(IanG @ 12:48am Sat Jan 19 2008) [snapback]1464018[/snapback]

No.


Yes.

DirectX calls can be mapped to OpenGl with relatively little effort, and vice-versa. Also, according to one of the ReactOS developers, there is a version of DirectX 10 for XP in one of the DirectX SDKs.
Bruce: Windows XP SP3 - The Long Journey (Sat, 19 Jan 2008 18:11:30 GMT)
Ummm why don't you download it, and put it on a CD for future use?
PEshman: Windows XP SP3 - The Long Journey (Sat, 19 Jan 2008 17:30:43 GMT)
If I have to reinstall Windows XP, will I have to install SP2 and then SP3 or just go to SP3? Also, will SP3 be available on CD from Microsoft or will I have to download it 3 times (since I have 3 copies of Windows XP) and then download it again if I need to reinstall Windows XP?
IanG: Windows XP SP3 - The Long Journey (Sat, 19 Jan 2008 05:48:49 GMT)
QUOTE(YoungGun @ 5:22pm Fri Jan 18 2008) [snapback]1463930[/snapback]
What about Direct X 10??
Does anyone think it will ever be out for XP? Given the higher number of affordable driect X 10 GPU's..


No.
YoungGun: Windows XP SP3 - The Long Journey (Fri, 18 Jan 2008 23:22:15 GMT)
What about Direct X 10??
Does anyone think it will ever be out for XP? Given the higher number of affordable driect X 10 GPU's..
IanG: Windows XP SP3 - The Long Journey (Fri, 18 Jan 2008 13:49:27 GMT)
I've been using it since THE day it came out ( el kido) but I've noticed NOTHING different.
tomadamstx: Windows XP SP3 - The Long Journey (Wed, 16 Jan 2008 03:26:56 GMT)
What does XP SP3 add/force as far as things like WGA? or other nasty things where MS wants to force one to give up info/rights?
el kido: Windows XP SP3 - The Long Journey (Tue, 15 Jan 2008 23:23:45 GMT)
I been Using it since the day after it came out. No real difference. I didnt have issues before, but i dont have any now either.
brandon: Windows XP SP3 - The Long Journey (Tue, 15 Jan 2008 15:37:17 GMT)
It has been fixed.
caintry_boy: Windows XP SP3 - The Long Journey (Mon, 14 Jan 2008 22:28:34 GMT)
Appears like it's already been fixed I_G.....



IntelGuy: Windows XP SP3 - The Long Journey (Mon, 14 Jan 2008 22:19:47 GMT)
QUOTE(brandon @ 9:10am Mon Jan 14 2008) [snapback]1462384[/snapback]

There is an error in the article. Vista SP3 does not exist, I believe you mean SP1.


Can you please point me to the Vista SP3 reference so we can fix it? I can't find it.

Thanks.
Join the Discussion

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