Print 66 comment(s) - last by Blight AC.. on Dec 18 at 11:40 AM

Microsoft releases updates for two popular software platforms

Microsoft has two presents for its customers today with the release of Service Pack 1 (SP1) for Office 2007 and Service Pack 3 (SP3) Release Candidate 1 (RC1) for Windows XP.

According to the Office 2007 SP1 whitepaper [DOC], Microsoft took steps to enhance its productivity suite in the areas of stability, performance and security.

In reference to stability, Microsoft addressed at least five bugs in each of its Office 2007 applications and improved the stability of its server components. Performance improved across the board with Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint and the SharePoint Server seeing the biggest gains. Likewise, Microsoft made incremental improvements to security and offers better protection against malicious software.

Office 2007 SP1 can be downloaded directly from Microsoft and weighs in at 281MB.

Microsoft also has a surprise for customers that have stuck with the company's long-serving Windows XP operating system. Windows XP made the headlines in recent months for its increased popularity despite the introduction of Windows Vista.

SP3 includes 1,073 hotfixes and contains four new feature additions for customers: a new activation scheme, Network Access Protection Module, Microsoft Kernel Mode Cryptographic Module and a Black Hole Router detection algorithm.

Previous beta and release candidate versions of SP3 were available to beta testers, but RC1 is now available for the public to test.

Those who wish to try out Windows XP SP3 RC1 can download it directly from Microsoft.

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feature addition FOR customers?
By johnsonx on 12/11/2007 2:07:03 PM , Rating: 3
new feature additions for customers: a new activation scheme

A new activation scheme is something they're doing FOR me, or TO me?

RE: feature addition FOR customers?
By Brandon Hill on 12/11/2007 2:11:20 PM , Rating: 4
For you. It doesn't require a product key during installation.

RE: feature addition FOR customers?
By phatboye on 12/11/2007 2:13:14 PM , Rating: 1
I don't see how that would help anyone. By the time you get to the point were you can install sp3 you have already entered your product key.

By ChronoReverse on 12/11/2007 2:15:10 PM , Rating: 2
Ever heard of slipstreaming? There'll definitely be Windows XP SP3 cds floating around soon (I'll be making one too).

RE: feature addition FOR customers?
By johnsonx on 12/11/2007 2:17:09 PM , Rating: 2
OEM CD's son, OEM CD's.

or slipstream too, though I'll more than likely have an OEM CD before I get around to slipstream.

RE: feature addition FOR customers?
By bupkus on 12/11/2007 5:17:56 PM , Rating: 3
What are you referring to about OEM? The most up2date XP CD I have includes SP1 which I use because of the restrictions on hdd size in pre SP1 CDs.

RE: feature addition FOR customers?
By johnsonx on 12/11/2007 6:13:05 PM , Rating: 2
Well you gotta get with the times. SP2, SP2b and now in the last month or two SP2c CD's have been availble. SP2c is required now because the latest OEM CD's come with new product keys that won't work with the installer on prior versions. There don't seem to be any new patches in SP2c though, it still downloads 80-odd patches after install.

RE: feature addition FOR customers?
By johnsonx on 12/11/2007 6:15:37 PM , Rating: 2
oh, this is probably a better answer to your post:

Sorry for the long URL, but that will show the OEM Windows XP Pro SP2c packages. Note that the SP2B is listed, but out of stock and listed as replaced by the SP2c.

RE: feature addition FOR customers?
By drebo on 12/11/2007 2:17:12 PM , Rating: 2
Not if you're installing from an SP3 disk in an OEM environment.

RE: feature addition FOR customers?
By phatboye on 12/11/2007 5:45:12 PM , Rating: 1
I swear the posters on this site either work for ms or it has a lot of ms fanbois. Why did I get my post ranked down for something like my last statement. Oh god I am so sorry I didn't think about OEM customers or slipstreaming in my last comment.

::rolls eyes::

RE: feature addition FOR customers?
By johnsonx on 12/11/2007 6:09:22 PM , Rating: 2
You got modded down because your observation was non-sensical. You basically implied that a new feature of SP3 was useless since you personally hadn't yet thought of how to use it.

RE: feature addition FOR customers?
By phatboye on 12/11/2007 7:36:41 PM , Rating: 3
Even still it's not like I was trying to flame. I don't think it was worth getting voted down for that.

RE: feature addition FOR customers?
By rdeegvainl on 12/12/2007 2:39:17 AM , Rating: 3
The voting buttons say worth reading and not worth reading. So if people thought your post was not worth reading they voted it down. It's not a popularity contest.

RE: feature addition FOR customers?
By StevoLincolnite on 12/12/2007 6:15:56 AM , Rating: 3
Its actually more complex than that, while someone who doesn't agree with you're view will vote you down, someone that does will vote you up, so its actually not really based on you're personal views and whether you're right or wrong, its more about whether someone else agrees with you or not, or in the case of some people (*Cough* Michael *Cough*) - They get rated down because they are disliked.

RE: feature addition FOR customers?
By jonmcc33 on 12/12/2007 7:59:48 AM , Rating: 1
Yes, because this is a stupid popularity contest. <rolls eyes>

By Oregonian2 on 12/13/2007 1:37:11 PM , Rating: 3
Partially, but not really. At least for me, I only vote-up something that says something I would have posted (or something better than I would have). It's important that somebody already did it because the vote only counts if I don't post myself to that topic. The positive means "thanks for the great post" or means "ditto", depending on the posting. Voting down is trickier. I only vote down something that is completely off base to the point of "harm" but in a way such that I don't want to post myself to correct the problem. Usually can do that only when someone else already has posted a correction, else I'll have to post (which keeps me from voting and have it count).

I'll occasionally get a ding'ed posting even when what I post is 100% factual (and not argumentative) -- so I agree that sometimes there could be some fanboy reactions to people who post the "wrong facts", but I think this is relatively rare.

P.S. - I've gotten into a few ... uh .. strong discussions with Michael upon occasion even though I agree with him 90% of the time. So there's give and take on everything.

RE: feature addition FOR customers?
By codeThug on 12/11/07, Rating: 0
RE: feature addition FOR customers?
By drebo on 12/11/2007 10:43:01 PM , Rating: 1
Snow Crash reference?

First time I've seen one of those...I didn't think anyone else has ever read that book.

RE: feature addition FOR customers?
By codeThug on 12/11/2007 11:50:43 PM , Rating: 2

pooning is my favorite hobby!

By Lord Evermore on 12/12/2007 5:58:04 AM , Rating: 2
I read it. It was BORING.

RE: feature addition FOR customers?
By johnsonx on 12/11/2007 2:15:53 PM , Rating: 2
ah, yes, that is FOR me indeed. One of the few things I really like about Vista is that I don't have to enter a product key to install it.

By Brandon Hill on 12/11/2007 2:23:58 PM , Rating: 4
All these comments about XP SP3 and not a single one about Office 2007 SP1. No love, no love whatsoever ;)

RE: Office
By Spyvie on 12/11/2007 3:05:53 PM , Rating: 1
I bought 2 copies of Vista Ultimate, but there's no f#%^$ way I'm paying $100 + for a word processor that I really only use as a spell checker.

Open Office FTW, I've even started installing it on my friends computers instead of good old piratable Office 2000.

RE: Office
By SectionEight on 12/11/2007 3:21:47 PM , Rating: 4
I've been using Office 2007 since release and have had no problems whatsoever. It's by far the best version of Office. I used OpenOfffice for ~2 years prior, but once I saw Office07 in action, I gave up OO.

RE: Office
By Spyvie on 12/11/2007 3:37:47 PM , Rating: 3
I'm not saying 07 sucks, far from it, I had the preview and the trail version installed and liked them very much. The ribbon bar takes a little getting used too but all in all it's a solid release. The problem I have is pricing for the home/student user, if MS really wants to dominate the market they''ll have to make it much more affordable.

I understand capitalism, and I know MS can charge whatever they want for any of their products, but R&D costs aside (I know they are substantial) how much does it cost them to press another disk? I think their Office marketing strategy is fatally flawed, they should be practically giving it away for personal use. The result of their pricing and activation scheme is lots of users checking out the alternatives.

RE: Office
By ChronoReverse on 12/11/2007 3:47:11 PM , Rating: 2
You mean like this:

Office Ultimate 2007 for $59.95

RE: Office
By Spyvie on 12/11/2007 3:53:43 PM , Rating: 3
That's great! IF I had a .edu address...

What about the casual home user, or the IT pro without a TechNet subsciption.

I'm a long time MS suppoter, but they've lost me on this one, I'll continue to install OO every chance I get.

RE: Office
By drebo on 12/11/2007 4:36:01 PM , Rating: 3
Office Home and Student version, which includes Word, Excel, Powerpoint and OneNote is available for $150 at virtually any computer shop. No need for an educational license or anything like that.

RE: Office
By erikstarcher on 12/11/2007 5:57:27 PM , Rating: 2
Home and Student is for 3 pc's also.

RE: Office
By Haltech on 12/11/2007 10:06:41 PM , Rating: 3
I guess you dont get what he is trying to say. He is saying he dosnt want to spend 150 dollars when he can basically get the same thing for free. And the .edu thing was for when you can pay only 60$. A reasonable offer but who exactly has a .edu address that dosnt already have Office/Student.

RE: Office
By Oobu on 12/12/2007 5:51:47 AM , Rating: 2
Becareful signing up for that. If you can't prove to them you're a current student at the particular institute you can get screwed. I don't buy it and think "Oh, I never received any emails from them asking for proof! I must be good to go." Microsoft says it can take up to twelve weeks before they ask you for proof. If you can't provide it, you're screwed.

RE: Office
By Lord Evermore on 12/13/2007 12:22:01 AM , Rating: 2
SP1 = Slight but noticeable improvement in speed starting up. Other than that, no more or less than expected. Didn't break anything so far, didn't fix anything that I've noticed but I hadn't had any problems before. I'm not a heavy user though.

no new obvious features?
By johnsonx on 12/11/2007 2:15:01 PM , Rating: 2
I take it that SP3 will not be nearly as 'obvious' as SP2? I mean, you can tell a system has SP2 (or more accurately these days, one that's missing SP2) almost at a glance due to significant feature differences. It doesn't seem like SP3 will be nearly so obvious, as the touted four new features seem to be behind the scenes.

I certainly won't be installing it until it goes final, since my XP SP2 boxes run just fine thank you. A Vista SP1 RC would be worth a try: my last remaining Vista box is awaiting the XP downgrade guillotine, and is ardently hoping for an 11th hour stay of execution in the form of SP1.

Can anyone who's installed it (XP SP3 RC I mean, not Vista) comment?

RE: no new obvious features?
By ChronoReverse on 12/11/2007 2:15:52 PM , Rating: 2
Supposedly, SP3 is mostly just a rollup of security updates, so yes, it won't be obviously like the massive change SP2 was.

RE: no new obvious features?
By darkpaw on 12/11/2007 2:21:14 PM , Rating: 2
I haven't personally installed it yet, but I've researched it a bit. There will be a few feature changes you'd be able to see if you look, but nothing as drastic as the change from SP1 -> 2.

This is almost entirely a patch roll-up, which is sorely needed considering how long its been since SP2. I think I needed to install something in the neighborhood of 112 patches in the first set after reinstalling XP-SP2 on a laptop a few weeks ago. Thats just the updates available through WUS and doesn't count all the optional updates.

Overall, what I'm read about SP3 sounds really good. I downloaded it from Technet last week and just haven't gotten around to trying it on a dev machine yet.

RE: no new obvious features?
By OxBow on 12/11/2007 2:48:25 PM , Rating: 1
I can tell you this much. I just downgraded a vista laptop to XP and it's running beautifully. The thing was so buggy under Vista it was barely useable as an ineffective paperweight. Go ahead and downgrade, you'll be happier for it.

RE: no new obvious features?
By codeThug on 12/11/07, Rating: 0
RE: no new obvious features?
By retrospooty on 12/12/2007 10:04:38 AM , Rating: 4
Not surprising you both got rated way down... Anything anti Vista takes a hit.

The pro Vista crowd is convinced that because it runs OK on their particular computers with their particular parts that it therefore works perfect for everyone, therefore anyone that had issues is 100% user error.

Ugh. it gets tiring.

RE: no new obvious features?
By Oregonian2 on 12/13/2007 1:49:19 PM , Rating: 2
Also with their particular software. I've comparatively niche software that has compatibility problems which makes Vista unusable until the problems are fixed (which they may be with the SP1, we'll see). Particularly a problem for software whose company is no longer with us (Vista update not coming soon).

P.S. - It'd be nice if Microsoft had a legally downloadable free version of Vista that would expire in a month "period". Goes dead in a month no matter what, has to be uninstalled. But free, and legit. I could then use it on a older laptop (won't care if it runs slow, but hopefully it'll run) and experiment with compatibility problems (with a bit of time to try and get around or investigate problems).

RE: no new obvious features?
By webdawg77 on 12/11/2007 2:53:38 PM , Rating: 5
Just installed on a test box. A few things I've noticed and checked.

Works (no noticeable errors)

* Login scripts
* RD to servers
* In-house apps
* Office 2003
* Acrobat 7
* FF

Things I noticed

* Time from login to desktop seems to be a little faster
* Apps load a little faster
* IE 7 seems more responsive

I went to MU site, and there were 4 updates. However, only 1 directly affected XP. The others were for Office 2003, and the MSRT that's put out every month.

After just a little (~ 10 minutes) of testing, it looks to be good.

Sys specs
XP 32-bit
C2D E6300
Intel Video

RE: no new obvious features?
By Blight AC on 12/18/2007 11:19:13 AM , Rating: 2
I've installed this on my Dell Inspiron 9300 system.
Pentium M 1.86 Ghz
Geforce 6800
7200 RPM HDD

There are a few notable improvements so far. Boot up to the login screen is faster. It takes around 20 seconds or so to boot to the login screen, and around 40 seconds to full Desktop with a password login (including the time it takes to enter the password). This is on a PC that has had the same Windows XP install for over 2 years now.. and I'm not sure when the last time I defragmented was. But I do use the Full System Scan monthly which not only does AV and Malware scanning, but also checks and offers to defragment your HDD and does registry cleanup as well.

My main complaint about XP seems to be resolved. And that's the notification pop-ups. Previously, they would just sit their till you closed them. On a Laptop with 1920x1200 resolution and a touchpad mouse, it was a bother to always have to close those notifications. Usually I'd get one after logging in (letting me know the Wireless was connected) and there are a few other things that do it. Either way, now it seems the notifications go away on their own, thankfully.

Another change is to the Remote Desktop Connection. Now, it no longer requests a Username and Password to connect, and states that "You will be asked for credentials when you connect", unless of course you specify credentials in the connection properties. A nice change. Although, I can't seem to remote into a PC with SP3 installed, which worked fine before. I can remote to other PC's from a SP3 machine, but not into the SP3 machine itself.

Games seem to maintain the same performance, although, I've only tested EVE with the Trinity graphics.

That's pretty much all I've tested so far. IE7 loads fast.

SP3 hotfixes
By FITCamaro on 12/11/2007 1:46:03 PM , Rating: 2
Are these rollups of previous hotfixes from SP1 and SP2 or new hotfixes since SP2?

RE: SP3 hotfixes
By Brandon Hill on 12/11/2007 1:49:19 PM , Rating: 1
New hotfixes since SP2 AFAIK.

RE: SP3 hotfixes
By Brandon Hill on 12/11/2007 1:58:37 PM , Rating: 2
I should note, that my comment was in reference to the 1,073 hotfixes figure. That number should only include hotfixes since SP2 and not since the release of XP.

RE: SP3 hotfixes
By retrospooty on 12/11/2007 1:55:29 PM , Rating: 4
Is should include all fixes from SP1 and SP2, as well as all fixes up until the code freeze (whenever that was). So if you have a new install of WinXP, just get SP3, and nothing else.

RE: SP3 hotfixes
By phatboye on 12/11/07, Rating: -1
RE: SP3 hotfixes
By ChronoReverse on 12/11/2007 2:14:11 PM , Rating: 2
A service pack includes all updates. It must since you can update from a completely blank XP installation directly to SP3

RE: SP3 hotfixes
By johnsonx on 12/11/2007 2:20:03 PM , Rating: 5
Please try not to say you're sure about something when you couldn't possibly have a clue. ALL Microsoft service packs since the beginning of time include all prior fixes and updates.

RE: SP3 hotfixes
By killerb255 on 12/11/07, Rating: 0
RE: SP3 hotfixes
By johnsonx on 12/11/2007 6:02:20 PM , Rating: 2
I knew someone would post the exception that proves the rule. Thanks KillerB

RE: SP3 hotfixes
By phatboye on 12/11/2007 5:49:28 PM , Rating: 2
I said that in response to Brandon Hill's quote
I should note, that my comment was in reference to the 1,073 hotfixes figure. That number should only include hotfixes since SP2 and not since the release of XP.

By NoNoBadDog on 12/11/2007 4:15:20 PM , Rating: 2
The option to add an address toolbar to the taskbar is no longer available after installing this BETA RC1. Sure hope this gets fixed in the final release. Is there a site where I can report this bug directly to Microsoft?

By darkpaw on 12/11/2007 5:57:58 PM , Rating: 2
Might be able to report it at Not sure how they handle the public betas/RC, but there usually is a place on there for submitting bugs/issues with the other betas.

By johnsonx on 12/11/2007 8:01:30 PM , Rating: 1
oh, showstopper! I've been using the address bar on the taskbar for years now, both in XP and Vista. SP3 can kiss my a$$ until they fix that one.

By Blight AC on 12/18/2007 11:40:44 AM , Rating: 2
Yes, that's rather interesting. I can seem them disabling it in Vista, after all, you just click on the Start button and type in your address, hit enter and your all set (or hit the Windows key), but there is no text bar in XP like there is on the Vista menu. I wonder what the reasoning behind that was. I have added the Address bar to my Vista toolbar, and to my XP machines via an additional toolbar (along the top of my desktop), but I find I never, or very rarely use them. But I could see it being an issue for those who are used to it.

I used to use the Mozilla browser and loved the Ctrl+Enter to open an address in a new tab, but since it's no longer supported, I have since switched to Firefox, and hate the Alt+Enter to get a new toolbar.. pisses me off that they won't even just add it as an option.

You can however, add the Address bar to other persistent toolbars. Like one that's created if you drag the My Computer icon to the edge of your Desktop (drag to an edge, like the top edge and release mouse button).

By Noliving on 12/11/2007 8:12:40 PM , Rating: 3
If I'm not mistaken with my research on the sp3 for xp, this isn't a bug, microsoft is actually removing this feature from xp.

By ttnuagadam on 12/11/2007 2:19:55 PM , Rating: 2
any truth to sp3 being faster than sp2? im at work, so i cant try it out yet

RE: hmm
By obeseotron on 12/11/2007 2:58:10 PM , Rating: 2
Those sp3 is faster reports were from idiots doing their testing in a VM. If it is faster, it's totally by coincidence, that report was a load of crap.

RE: hmm
By ChronoReverse on 12/11/2007 3:13:40 PM , Rating: 1
Not to mention they only tested Office 2007 using a special benchmark of their own devising.

RE: hmm
By Nekrik on 12/11/2007 3:42:21 PM , Rating: 2
Those sp3 is faster reports were from idiots doing their testing in a VM.

Where did you get that info from? Are you saying that there are optimizations in SP3 that improve perf when running XP as a guest OS? I'm not saying there isn't, I just haven't seen anything about it and I have not read the comprehensive list of updates yet so was hoping you could share some info.

I love this line on the Office SP1 page
By marvdmartian on 12/11/2007 3:32:05 PM , Rating: 2
To successfully install SP1, you will need more free hard disk space than the size of the patch itself.

Man, do they honestly have to be that obvious??? LOL

By ChronoReverse on 12/11/2007 3:48:37 PM , Rating: 2
Probably, since there'll always be an idiot ready to flame them if they couldn't install it.

By raphd on 12/11/2007 10:46:51 PM , Rating: 2
installed it and as soon as I saw winxp logo system would just reboot. Had to recover data and reinstall. Anyhow using AMD proc sp2 update. Could be that or gfx drivers. Not sure.

RE: carefull
By raphd on 12/11/2007 10:47:27 PM , Rating: 2
oh and im back on sp2.... gonna wait a while before I get sp3

Office 2007 SP1...
By Locutus465 on 12/11/2007 3:14:02 PM , Rating: 1
Well, I'm not sure what it actually did... but it didn't do the one thing I wanted it to... Get outlook to stop killing my system when receiving an email :P

Shame it seems to be such a hog, Outlook '07 is great otherwise.

RE: Office 2007 SP1...
By PitViper007 on 12/13/2007 11:56:58 AM , Rating: 2
As was pointed out to me when I said how slow Outlook 2007 was, the program has a lot of ad-ons that run by default (or are left over from an install from 2k3) that just aren't necessary. I turned a lot of them off and my Outlook 2007 runs a lot faster now.

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