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.

"Mac OS X is like living in a farmhouse in the country with no locks, and Windows is living in a house with bars on the windows in the bad part of town." -- Charlie Miller

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