Following our coverage of the Windows XP SP3 beta leak almost a month ago in August, here's some more info on the official beta, which just had its first authorized distributable released earlier today. Say hello to Windows XP SP3, build 3205!
While the newly-released build and the one leaked a month ago (Build 3180) may share the same name, we can exclusively reveal that they are not identical releases. This release, also shipped as windowsxp-kb936929-sp3-x86-enu.exe, is 334.2 megabytes and has been made available to tier-one Windows Server 2008 and Windows Vista SP1 beta testers. Hashes are as follows:
Along with the standalone installer redistributables (in English, Japanese, and German), Microsoft also provided the usual release notes and a list of all the hotfixes included in this release. Contrary to popular belief, Windows XP SP3 does ship with all-new features - not just patches and hotfixes, most of them backported from Windows Vista:
* New Windows Product Activation model: no need to enter product key during setup. Thank God for that!
* Network Access Protection modules and policies have been brought to XP after being one of the more-well-received features in Windows Vista. You can read more about NAP here.
* New Microsoft Kernel Mode Cryptographic Module - the Windows XP SP3 kernel now includes an entire module that provides easy access to multiple cryptographic algorithms and is available for use in kernel-mode drivers and services.
* New "Black Hole Router" detection - Windows XP SP3 can detect and protect against rogue routers that are discarding data.
Windows XP SP3 is compatible with all versions of Windows x86, included Embedded, Fundamentals, Start, Professional, Media Center, and Home Editions.
Windows XP SP3 now contains 1,073 patches/hotfixes, not including those in previous service packs. Of the 1,073 included updates, 114 are for security-related issues. The remainder are updates to performance & reliability, bugfixes, improvements to kernel-mode driver modules, and many BSOD fixes.
As with Service Pack 2, these include both previously publicly-available updates (whether through support.microsoft.com or via Windows Update) as well as any and all privately-redistributed updates for select customers or partners with specific problems/scenarios.
The first included update: KB123456 (April 7, 2006). The last: KB942367 (September 29, 2007).
We're checking with our MS contacts if we can provide you with the actual comprehensive list of updates included in Windows XP SP3, along with their descriptions and KB article links.