News on Microsoft's aging Windows XP operating system has
surprisingly been coming in at a steady pace over the past few weeks. Although
Windows Vista is Microsoft's current bread-and-butter consumer operating
system, there is still much love to go around for Windows XP.
In late September, DailyTech
reported that Microsoft is providing XP
downgrades for unhappy Vista customers. Microsoft followed up on that news
a few days later with the announcement that Windows XP sales would
be extended to June 30, 2008.
The company followed up with a new build of Internet
Explorer 7.0 for Windows XP that doesn't require product activation and released a Service
Pack 3 (SP3) beta for a select group of testers.
The latest SP3 beta is labeled as build 3205 and is a rather
small 334.92 MB download. The bloggers over at NeoSmart
have gotten a hold of the new SP3 release and have detailed many of the new
features and bugfixes with the software update.
According to NeoSmart,
SP3 contains 1,073 hotfixes and patches; 114 of which are security related. SP3
also adds four major features to the Windows XP operating systems.
The first is a new activation scheme which will not require
a product key during installation. The second feature is a new Network Access
Protection Module first featured in Windows Vista. Other new items include
a Microsoft Kernel Mode Cryptographics Module and a Black Hole Router detection
The release of SP3 coupled with the announcement that XP
will be available to businesses and consumers for a longer period of time could
breathe new life into the venerable operating system. Many gamers have stuck by
the operating system and OEMs like HP and Dell still offer XP on brand new